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Written Question
Research: Tax Allowances
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Government's timescale is for responding to the scope of qualifying expenditures for R&D Tax Credits consultation that closed on 13 October 2020.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government sought views from stakeholders on the scope of qualifying expenditures for R&D Tax Credits between 21 July and 14 October 2020. Officials are currently considering responses to the consultation and the Government will respond in due course.

The Government keeps all tax reliefs under review. When considering making any changes to tax reliefs, HM Treasury must ensure they provide support to businesses across the economy in a fair way and represent good value for money for the taxpayer.


Written Question
Sanitary Protection: Vat Zero Rating
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Kim Johnson

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason the zero-rate of value-added tax for period products is not applied to reusable menstrual underwear that has been specifically designed for period management.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

A zero rate of VAT has applied to women’s sanitary products since 1 January 2021. This applies to those products which were previously subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent, for example, tampons and pads, and to reusable menstrual products, such as keepers.

The relief specifically excludes articles of clothing, such as “period pants”. Such exclusions are designed to ensure that the relief is properly targeted, since difficulties in policing the scope of the relief create the potential for litigation, erosion of the tax base and a reduction in revenue. Under existing rules “period pants” may already qualify for the zero rate, if they have been specifically designed to be worn by a child, meet the sizing criteria, and are held out for sale specifically for use by girls under the age of 14 years old.

Details are provided in VAT Notice 714: zero-rating young children's clothing and footwear: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-714-zero-rating-young-childrens-clothing-and-footwear/vat-notice-714-zero-rating-young-childrens-clothing-and-footwear#items-suitable-only-for-young-children.

The new zero rate will ensure that every woman that needs sanitary protection during their monthly cycle will now, for the first time, have access to a variety of zero rated products on which they had previously paid a 5 per cent rate of VAT.


Written Question
Financial Markets: Computer Software
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Taiwo Owatemi

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to update regulations on the trading of financial instruments and assets through mobile applications to prevent unfair practices and price manipulation by those means.

Answer (John Glen)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the UK’s financial markets conduct regulator and is responsible for protecting consumers, ensuring market integrity and promoting effective competition

As set out in the FCA’s statement of 29 January, broking firms are not obliged to offer trading facilities to clients and may withdraw or suspend services if it is necessary or prudent to do so. The FCA statement also said that they would take appropriate action wherever they see evidence of UK firms or individuals causing harm to UK consumers or markets.

The Government recognises that the pace and creativity of innovation in UK financial services creates new opportunities for businesses and consumers to participate in markets through technologies such as app-based platforms. However, investors should be aware that investing in securities comes with risks. The FCA’s statement of 29 January noted that any losses that result from such investments are unlikely to be covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.


Written Question
Advertising: Tax Allowances
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Martyn Day

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing advertising tax credit outlined in the Advertising Association's industry modelling on tax revenues.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government keeps all tax policy under review and regularly receives proposals for sector-specific tax reliefs. When considering any new tax reliefs, HM Treasury must ensure they provide support to businesses across the economy and represent good value for money for the taxpayer.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Robert Halfon

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is is taking to support people who have been unable to access the Government's covid-19 financial support schemes to date.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Throughout this crisis, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK, putting in place an economic package of support worth over £280 billion this year. These support measures are carefully designed to complement each other to ensure jobs and livelihoods are protected. Support is targeted to make sure public funds are used responsibly, helping those who need it most as quickly as possible, while minimising fraud risk. The Government has engaged closely with proposals put forward by stakeholder groups, and will continue to do so.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: VAT Zero Rating
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether a zero-rating of VAT can be applied on face masks that do not meet Public Health England's PPE standards if they are held out for sale for young children by retailers.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

In order to help keep costs down for families, the Government maintains a zero-rate of VAT on the supply of children’s clothing. VAT Notice 714 sets out guidance on what qualifies for the zero rate; this does not include face masks.

VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances and helps to pay for the Government’s spending priorities, including health, schools and defence. Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to change the VAT treatment of children’s clothing.


Written Question
Sanitary Protection: VAT
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Kim Johnson

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on women of not including reusable menstrual underwear in the new zero rate of VAT for sanitary protection products.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

A zero rate of VAT has applied to women’s sanitary products since 1 January 2021. This applies to those products which were previously subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent, for example, tampons and pads, and to reusable menstrual products, such as keepers.

The relief specifically excludes articles of clothing, such as “period pants”. Such exclusions are designed to ensure that the relief is properly targeted, since difficulties in policing the scope of the relief create the potential for litigation, erosion of the tax base and a reduction in revenue. Under existing rules “period pants” may already qualify for the zero rate, if they have been specifically designed to be worn by a child, meet the sizing criteria, and are held out for sale specifically for use by girls under the age of 14 years old.

Details are provided in VAT Notice 714: zero-rating young children's clothing and footwear: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-714-zero-rating-young-childrens-clothing-and-footwear/vat-notice-714-zero-rating-young-childrens-clothing-and-footwear#items-suitable-only-for-young-children.

The new zero rate will ensure that every woman that needs sanitary protection during their monthly cycle will now, for the first time, have access to a variety of zero rated products on which they had previously paid a 5 per cent rate of VAT.


Written Question
Protective Clothing: VAT Zero Rating
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether a zero-rating of VAT can be applied on face masks that meet Public Health England's PPE standards if they are held out for sale for young children by retailers.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

In order to help keep costs down for families, the Government maintains a zero-rate of VAT on the supply of children’s clothing. VAT Notice 714 sets out guidance on what qualifies for the zero rate; this does not include face masks.

VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances and helps to pay for the Government’s spending priorities, including health, schools and defence. Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to change the VAT treatment of children’s clothing.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Paul Maynard

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to reply to the letter of 18 March 2020 and email of 6 October 2020 from the hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys on VAT and veterinary fees raised on behalf of a constituent.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Financial Secretary responded to the Member on 9 November 2020. A further copy has been sent by email.
Written Question
Debts: Advisory Services
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of households who (a) will need debt advice in 2021-22 and (b) needed debt advice in (i) 2019-20 and (ii) 2020-21.

Answer (John Glen)

The Government works closely with the Money and Pensions Service to understand the need for debt advice and monitor financial difficulty through an annual survey and notes the Financial Conduct Authority’s biennial Financial Lives Survey.

The Government recognises that some people are struggling with their finances at this challenging time. To help people in problem debt get their finances back on track, an extra £37.8 million support package has been made available to debt advice providers this financial year, bringing this year's budget for free debt advice in England to over £100 million.

In May 2020, the Government announced the immediate release of £65 million of dormant assets funding to Fair4All Finance, an independent organisation that has been founded to support the financial wellbeing of people in vulnerable circumstances. The funding is used to increase access to fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services for those in financial difficulties.

From May 2021, the Breathing Space scheme will offer people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges, and will encourage them to seek professional debt advice.

The Government has delivered unprecedented support for living standards during this challenging time, protecting livelihoods with the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and temporary welfare measures.

The Government has extended the CJRS until 31 March 2021. Eligible employees will continue to receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

The Government has increased the overall level of the third grant under the SEISS to 80% of average trading profits, meaning that the maximum grant available has now increased to £7,500.

The Government has provided local authorities with £500 million to support people who may struggle to meet their council tax payments this year. The Government expects that this will provide all recipients of working age local council tax support with a further reduction in their annual council tax bill of £150 this financial year.

These measures are in addition to the changes this Government has made to make the welfare system more generous, worth over £7 billion according to recent estimates by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The Government has worked with mortgage lenders, credit providers and the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure the financial sector provides support for people across the UK to manage their finances by providing payment holidays on mortgages and consumer credit products.

The Government has also delivered protections for renters, including an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions for all but the most egregious cases until at least 21 February 2021, with measures kept under review.


Written Question
Advertising: Tax Allowances
26 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Martyn Day

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing an advertising tax credit as part of the longer-term covid-19 economic recovery plan to (a) help stimulate consumer spending and (b) channel investment into specific categories of media.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government keeps all tax policy under review and regularly receives proposals for sector-specific tax reliefs. When considering any new tax reliefs, HM Treasury must ensure they provide support to businesses across the economy and represent good value for money for the taxpayer.


Written Question
Revenue and Customs: Staff
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Ben Lake

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff work as part of the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight email response team.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

There are 36 staff working as part of Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight email response team. Complicated queries may need additional investigation or referral for technical advice, meaning they cannot be answered straight away. In order to help with this, there are an additional 51 staff supporting this team in resolving these complicated queries.


Written Question
Santander Group: Debit Cards
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Daisy Cooper

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to letters received by Santander customers advising that their debit cards will not be renewed due to not being used at a cash machine or physical point of sale, if he will will make representations to high street banks on the irresponsibility of requiring sometimes vulnerable customers to use their cards in that way during a national lockdown.

Answer (John Glen)

There is an increased risk of fraud when banking customers use their debit cards infrequently, as some people may not notice if it has been lost or stolen. Therefore, banking providers often have processes to check whether customers still need a debit card if it hasn’t been used after a certain amount of time or ahead of the card renewal date. These processes are in line with the requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that banks should maintain effective systems and controls to prevent the risk that they might be used to further financial crime. This includes controls to prevent fraud.

Sometimes banks will require customers to complete a certain transaction to activate a new card. If customers are unable to do this (e.g. if they are vulnerable or shielding) then they are encouraged to speak to their provider who can help find an alternative solution.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Bolton
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Yasmin Qureshi

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what level of financial support he has allocated to Bolton in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK, including in Bolton. To do this, the government has put in place an economic package of support which will provide businesses and individuals with certainty over the coming months, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change. The government has spent over £280 billion this year to provide this support.

Businesses in Bolton which are forced to close can claim grants of up to £3,000 per month, based on their rateable value, through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). They can also claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000, in addition to the monthly grant. Businesses in Bolton which are not able to receive these grants for closed businesses may be able to benefit from the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). We recently increased the funding available under this scheme to £1.6 billion across England. It is up to each local authority to determine eligibility for this scheme based on their assessment of local economic need; however, we encourage local authorities to support businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, but which are ineligible for the other grant schemes.

In addition to funding for these grant schemes, local authorities in Bolton which were subject to enhanced restrictions on socialising (such as a ban on indoor household mixing) between 1 August and 5 November, and between 2 December and 5 January, will have received funding from the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme to enable them to make backdated grants to hospitality, leisure, and accommodation businesses worth 70% of the monthly grants for closed businesses.

Businesses are also able to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was introduced to help employers whose operations have been affected by COVID-19 retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All businesses across the UK can access the scheme, which will run until the end of April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 per month. As at 31 December, provisional statistics show that there were about 15,300 employments furloughed in Bolton North East, Bolton South East, and Bolton West, representing a roughly 12% takeup rate among eligible employments.

Businesses across the UK have also received billions in loans, tax deferrals, Business Rates relief, and general and sector-specific grants. Individuals and families have benefited from increased welfare payments, enhanced Statutory Sick Pay, a stay on repossession proceedings and mortgage holidays.


Written Question
Business: Coronavirus
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Sarah Olney

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the proportion of furloughed workers who work in the supply chain for retail, leisure and hospitality; and what steps he is taking to support those businesses through the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

HMRC publish monthly experimental statistics that provide estimates of the number and value of claims made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, broken down by employer size, sector of the economy, geography, and employee age and gender. For example, as at 31 December, statistics show that there were 714,400 employments furloughed in the wholesale and retail and repair of motor vehicles sectors, and 1,115,700 furloughed in the accommodation and food services sector. Based on the number of employments eligible for furlough, this represents 16% and 55% of eligible staff, respectively.

The Government has put in place an economic package of support designed to provide businesses with more certainty over the coming months. In addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, this package has also included billions in loans, tax deferrals, and business rates relief. Local authorities have also been provided with £1.6 billion of discretionary funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant, that can be used at their discretion to support businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors.


Written Question
Beer: Excise Duties
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Olivia Blake

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to (a) reduce beer duty and (b) financially support pubs.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

Alcohol duties are kept under review and the merits of a change to beer duty are considered at each fiscal event. The Government will outline the next stages of its plan to support UK businesses at the upcoming Budget.


Written Question
Economics of Biodiversity Review
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusions and recommendations relating to global population growth in the report by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta Final Report - The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, published on 2 February.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The independent Review explores a range of actions it argues are needed to protect the environment and our prosperity.

The Government will examine the Review’s findings closely, call on international partners to do the same, and will respond formally in due course.


Written Question
Tax Avoidance
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Lord Bishop of St Albans

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness in deterring tax avoidance of the policies of (1) France, (2) Denmark, (3) Belgium and (4) Poland, which exclude companies (a) registered in, or (b) linked to, offshore tax havens from accessing taxpayer funded relief programmes.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government does not have access to information about how these other countries’ policies have been applied or the impact they have had on businesses’ behaviour, and cannot therefore comment on the policies’ effectiveness.

The Government has introduced a substantial support package, designed to be targeted at the businesses and individuals who most need support, while ensuring measures are simple, certain and introduced in a timely manner to protect livelihoods.

The Government expects everyone to act responsibly by only claiming and using support as intended and is keeping measures under regular review.

The Government continues to be at the forefront of global action to tackle tax avoidance, with a series of robust measures in place to tackle profit shifting arrangements.

Since 2010, the Government has introduced over 100 new ways to tackle tax avoidance, protecting over £200 billion that would have otherwise gone unpaid. That has included adopting many of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project’s recommendations including the Corporate Interest Restriction rules, effective from April 2017, which raise approximately £1 billion a year and the Hybrid mismatch rules, effective from January 2017, which are expected to raise £900 million between 2016/17 and 2020/21.

The Government has also led on implementing international standards in tax transparency, including the Common Reporting Standard and Country-by-Country Reporting (‘CbCR’), which ensure tax authorities have the information they need to identify and challenge avoidance.

As part of the Finance Act 2016, large corporations and multinational enterprises are already required to publish a tax strategy document, which (amongst other things) outlines the company’s attitude towards tax planning and its approach towards its dealings with HMRC.


Written Question
Business: Internet
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: James Murray

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many individual data requests his Department has sent to online platforms on sellers using their service in each of the tax years (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19, (e) 2019-20 and (f) 2020-21 to date.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government takes the issue of VAT evasion by overseas sellers on online platforms very seriously. In September 2016 the Government introduced new legal powers allowing HMRC to hold online marketplaces jointly liable for future VAT liabilities of non-compliant overseas sellers on their platforms.

One of HMRC’s methods for tackling this problem is to make both bulk and individual data requests of online marketplaces about the sellers on their platforms, to inform enquiries into any possible non-compliance.

HMRC began making such requests after the introduction of the new powers in September 2016. Over time, the quality of the bulk data being provided by online marketplace platforms has improved, significantly reducing the need for HMRC to make additional data requests on individual sellers.

As a result, the number of compliance enquiries HMRC have completed into overseas online sellers is not directly related to the number of individual data requests. In 2020-21, where there has been a significant reduction of individual data requests, the number of actual enquiries completed has increased from just under 7,000 in 2019-20 to more than 9,400 in 2020-21 so far.

Where, following compliance enquiries using bulk or individual data and other information, HMRC have made an online marketplace liable for the future VAT of a non-compliant seller, the marketplace has the option instead to remove that seller and prevent them from selling on their platform. This significantly disrupts the trade of that non-compliant seller.

Number of data requests

In order to inform enquiries about potential non-compliance by overseas sellers on online market places, HMRC send both bulk and individual data requests to online platforms. The number of bulk requests and individual requests on sellers using their service in each of the tax years specified are:

Year

Bulk

Individual

2016-17

0

299

2017-18

9

1,556

2018-19

10

2,317

2019-20

7

2,684

2020-21 (to date)

7

80

HMRC did not make data requests prior to 2016, when new powers relating to online marketplaces were introduced. As explained above, with the quality of bulk data improving over time, HMRC have been able to improve their processes in 2020-21 and reduce their reliance on individual data requests while still completing more enquiries.

Revenue measured and sellers disrupted

Rather than ‘VAT recouped’, and in line with other compliance activity, revenue measured by HMRC when using their powers to tackle online marketplace sellers is tracked both in terms of the amount of revenue loss from the Exchequer that has been prevented (Revenue Loss Prevented, RLP) and the amount of VAT assessed and collected (Cash Collectable, CC). For this compliance activity, HMRC also track the number of non-compliant overseas sellers disrupted following removal from an online marketplace platform.

HMRC began using the new powers introduced by the Government in September 2016 (and so no results are available for 2015-16). While HMRC started to disrupt non-compliant sellers in the first year the powers were introduced, results are primarily seen after compliance cases were concluded, starting in 2017-18. For the years requested, from 2016-17, the results are:

Year

CC (£m)

RLP (£m)

Sellers disrupted

2016-17

0

0

40

2017-18

106

10

2,019

2018-19

34

86

3,977

2019-20

13

40

4,780

2020-21 (to Jan)

21

51

4,000

Officials working on the activity

Rather than the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees deployed at a specific point in time on this compliance activity, HMRC track this using Staff Year Usage (SYU), which shows the resource used averaged out over a financial year.

In total in 2019-20, HMRC used 176 staff years on this activity. Year to date in 2020-21 (end of January 2021), HMRC have used 150 staff years on this activity.

HMRC expect to use the same level of staff years on this activity in 2021-22.


Written Question
Tax Evasion: Internet
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: James Murray

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many FTE officials were working predominantly or entirely on VAT evasion by overseas sellers on online platforms in (a) February 2020 and (b) February 2021; and how many are planned to be working in that policy area in (c) February 2022.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government takes the issue of VAT evasion by overseas sellers on online platforms very seriously. In September 2016 the Government introduced new legal powers allowing HMRC to hold online marketplaces jointly liable for future VAT liabilities of non-compliant overseas sellers on their platforms.

One of HMRC’s methods for tackling this problem is to make both bulk and individual data requests of online marketplaces about the sellers on their platforms, to inform enquiries into any possible non-compliance.

HMRC began making such requests after the introduction of the new powers in September 2016. Over time, the quality of the bulk data being provided by online marketplace platforms has improved, significantly reducing the need for HMRC to make additional data requests on individual sellers.

As a result, the number of compliance enquiries HMRC have completed into overseas online sellers is not directly related to the number of individual data requests. In 2020-21, where there has been a significant reduction of individual data requests, the number of actual enquiries completed has increased from just under 7,000 in 2019-20 to more than 9,400 in 2020-21 so far.

Where, following compliance enquiries using bulk or individual data and other information, HMRC have made an online marketplace liable for the future VAT of a non-compliant seller, the marketplace has the option instead to remove that seller and prevent them from selling on their platform. This significantly disrupts the trade of that non-compliant seller.

Number of data requests

In order to inform enquiries about potential non-compliance by overseas sellers on online market places, HMRC send both bulk and individual data requests to online platforms. The number of bulk requests and individual requests on sellers using their service in each of the tax years specified are:

Year

Bulk

Individual

2016-17

0

299

2017-18

9

1,556

2018-19

10

2,317

2019-20

7

2,684

2020-21 (to date)

7

80

HMRC did not make data requests prior to 2016, when new powers relating to online marketplaces were introduced. As explained above, with the quality of bulk data improving over time, HMRC have been able to improve their processes in 2020-21 and reduce their reliance on individual data requests while still completing more enquiries.

Revenue measured and sellers disrupted

Rather than ‘VAT recouped’, and in line with other compliance activity, revenue measured by HMRC when using their powers to tackle online marketplace sellers is tracked both in terms of the amount of revenue loss from the Exchequer that has been prevented (Revenue Loss Prevented, RLP) and the amount of VAT assessed and collected (Cash Collectable, CC). For this compliance activity, HMRC also track the number of non-compliant overseas sellers disrupted following removal from an online marketplace platform.

HMRC began using the new powers introduced by the Government in September 2016 (and so no results are available for 2015-16). While HMRC started to disrupt non-compliant sellers in the first year the powers were introduced, results are primarily seen after compliance cases were concluded, starting in 2017-18. For the years requested, from 2016-17, the results are:

Year

CC (£m)

RLP (£m)

Sellers disrupted

2016-17

0

0

40

2017-18

106

10

2,019

2018-19

34

86

3,977

2019-20

13

40

4,780

2020-21 (to Jan)

21

51

4,000

Officials working on the activity

Rather than the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees deployed at a specific point in time on this compliance activity, HMRC track this using Staff Year Usage (SYU), which shows the resource used averaged out over a financial year.

In total in 2019-20, HMRC used 176 staff years on this activity. Year to date in 2020-21 (end of January 2021), HMRC have used 150 staff years on this activity.

HMRC expect to use the same level of staff years on this activity in 2021-22.


Written Question
Travel: Coronavirus
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Ben Bradshaw

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish information on the effect on revenue to the public purse of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the travel sector.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the travel sector as a result of Covid-19, and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills and the extended furlough scheme.

As set out in the Covid-19 Impact Assessment last November, the Government cannot forecast with confidence the precise impact of specific changes to restrictions, including those on the travel sector, as this will depend on a broad range of factors which are, in many cases, difficult to estimate. The Treasury does not prepare forecasts for the UK economy and public finances, these are the responsibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented fiscal support has caused significant but necessary increase in borrowing and debt. However, borrowing costs continue to be low, making the current costs of servicing this increase in debt affordable.

The Budget will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs.


Written Question
Social Enterprises: Tax Allowances
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will maintain the Social Investment Tax Relief; and if he will take steps to reform that relief so that enterprises in community energy and tackling climate change qualify for investment.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was introduced in 2014 to incentivise risk finance investments in qualifying social enterprises and charities. In order to target SITR towards the highest-risk social enterprises, certain activities are excluded from the scheme, including community energy.

HMRC statistics show that up to 2018-19, about 110 enterprises have used the scheme to raise £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives in a way that is fair and effective. The Government previously published a Call for Evidence in 2019 on SITR’s use to date. A response to the consultation will be published in due course and a decision on SITR’s future will be announced at the Budget.


Written Question
Social Enterprises: Wales
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Hywel Williams

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Social Investment Tax Relief in Wales.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was introduced in 2014 to encourage risk finance investments in qualifying social enterprises and charities. Social enterprises anywhere in the UK can benefit from SITR, provided that they meet certain qualifying conditions.

HMRC statistics show that up to 2018-19, about 110 enterprises have used the scheme to raise £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives in a way that is fair and effective. The Government previously published a Call for Evidence in 2019 on SITR’s use to date. A response to the consultation will be published in due course and a decision on SITR’s future will be announced at the Budget.


Written Question
Weddings: Insurance
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Esther McVey

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing a Government-backed insurance scheme to support wedding (a) consumers and (b) businesses.

Answer (John Glen)

The Government recognises the essential role of the insurance industry in providing the cover businesses need to operate. We are working closely with the insurers, the trade bodies and regulators to understand what more the industry can do to help individuals and businesses in their time of need, and how the insurance market delivers the support firms need as the economy reopens.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has worked closely with the weddings sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support, which we keep under regular review.


Written Question
Overseas Loans: Republic of Ireland
25 Feb 2021, midnight

Questioner: Gregory Campbell

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Republic of Ireland is due to conclude the repayment of its loan under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010 by March 2021; and how much in interest will have been paid from the outset to full repayment.

Answer (John Glen)

Ireland is due to repay the final tranche of its bilateral loan from the UK in March 2021. The Government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time. The next report under section 2 of the Loans to Ireland Act 2010, which the Government will publish in April 2021, will disclose all interest payments from the outset to full repayment.