|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
22 Oct 2002 : Column 213Wcontinued
John Healey: There is no VAT on digital hearing aids supplied to patients by the NHS. The provision of a digital hearing aid by way of business involves two supplies for the purposes of VAT: hearing equipment, which is charged with VAT at the standard rate, and a dispensing service, which is exempt from VAT.
John Healey: The UK is pursuing a number of initiatives to reduce the levels of smuggling of heroin from Afghanistan, ranging from building the expertise of Afghan counter-narcotics officers to gathering and sharing intelligence with law enforcement partners about all aspects of the trade along the smuggling routes.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with ministers concerning opium production in Afghanistan and its likely effect on the availability of heroin in Britain; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: Regular meetings are held at both Ministerial and official level to discuss a range of issues concerning Afghanistan, including opium production, poverty relief, reconstruction and security sector reform.
Dawn Primarolo: The bulk of both Departments' properties was sold to Mapeley STEPS Ltd in April 2001 as part of a contract for the provision of serviced accommodation over a 20 year period. The number of properties sold to Mapeley STEPS Ltd by the Inland Revenue was 101 with a total area of approximately 387,000 square metres. The corresponding figures for Customs and Excise were 35 properties and an area of approximately 92,000 square metres.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 214W
Other than the disposals in connection with the STEPS contract, no comprehensive central record of property disposals exists and one could only be reconstructed at disproportionate cost. But properties known to have been disposed of are:
Dawn Primarolo: As to (a), the Inland Revenue only has available information relating to the software that can be used. Customers can either use the Inland Revenue's own software ''SA Online'' or software provided by a third party supplier. A list of approved commercial software is available on the Inland Revenue Website.
The information sought under (b) is not available. The Inland Revenue is able only to advise what hardware is required to use the service. The service is compatible with the most popular hardware and software, and the Inland Revenue's requirements are in line with similar commercial products, such as Internet Banking.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of online assessment users failed to send their information due to (a) technical incompatability or (b) website failure. 
22 Oct 2002 : Column 215W
of personal pensions sales have indicated a financial loss necessitating compensation; and of these, in how many cases the reviewing company has (a) recompensed that financial loss and (b) yet to recompense that financial loss. 
Mr. Tynan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases were reviewed and how many cases remain to be reviewed under (a) the Financial Services Authority Review of Personal Pensions Sales and (b) the FSA Review of Free Standing Additional Voluntary Contribution Sales. 
|Number of Cases||Personal Pensions||Free Standing Additional Voluntary Contributions|
|To be reviewed||41,028||5,644|
Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many respondents to the consultation document on annuities put forward the suggestion for a money back guarantee on the purchase of pension annuities; and in what way the views of these respondents were reflected in the analysis of the responses to the consultation. 
Ruth Kelly: Out of a total of 601 responses, 29 included comments on the idea of a money back guarantee. The summary of responses published on 18 July gave a broad picture of the consultation feedback. The complete set of responses was placed in the Library on the same date.
As indicated in the reply given on 18 July 2002 to the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Liddell-Grainger), Official Report, column 467W, any reforms to annuities will need to dovetail with simplification and other reforms being considered in the pensions Green Paper this autumn.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the proportion of (a) total income tax and (b) all taxes paid by the top 10 per cent. of income tax payers by income for each year since 198081. 
Dawn Primarolo: It would only be possible to provide a reliable answer at disproportionate cost. Some of the information is, however, available in table 2.4 of Inland Revenue Statistics which is available on Inland Revenue's website www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk. Estimates for some earlier years are also available in table 2.3 of the 1993 edition of Inland Revenue Statistics which is available in the Library of the House.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 216W
Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held on 8 October; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
The Presidency and Commission gave an oral progress report on negotiations with third countries on the draft EU Directive on Savings. It was decided that the Commission should continue negotiations on the basis of its current mandate.
ECOFIN had an orientation discussion on the Presidency's proposed guidelines for an energy tax directive. The UK supported the Presidency's draft guidelines. ECOFIN will further consider the outstanding issues at its meeting on 5 November.
On streamlining of economic reform processes and the review of the Employment Strategy, it was agreed that ECOFIN would have a full discussion in November, on the basis of a joint report by the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) and Economic Policy Committee (EPC).
Council held an orientation debate on the budgetary and financial aspects of enlargement ahead of the Brussels European Council on 2425 October. Along with other Member States, the UK stressed the importance of enlargement taking place on a sustainable financial basis and the need for parallel progress on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, including degressivity of direct payments.
ECOFIN endorsed the Economic and Financial Committee's proposals on new arrangements for financial stability, supervision and integration. The proposals will now go for consultation with the European Parliament as well as industry and consumer organisations before adoption by ECOFIN in December.
The Commission stated its intention to end the state aid exemption for aviation insurance from 31 October, and set out criteria for possible participation in a mutual insurance fund. The Presidency noted that any member state that wished to continue their state guarantee scheme beyond 31 October would have to apply for general state aid clearance in the normal way. The EFC will continue discussions on mutual insurance funds to inform future ECOFIN consideration.
At the UK's request, the Commission was asked to produce clarification for EU Ambassadors in COREPER on the scope for an EDF (European Development Fund) contribution to financing the shortfall in the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 217W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|