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Written Question
Audiobooks: VAT
1 Jul 2020

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to remove the application of VAT to sales of audiobooks.

Answered by Lord Agnew of Oulton

An extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications.

Audiobooks are already taxed consistently at the standard rate in both physical and digital format.

There are no current plans to extend the VAT zero rate to audiobooks. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.


Written Question
Schools: Coronavirus
30 Mar 2020

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with insurance companies about whether independent schools, particularly small independent schools, are able to obtain compensation for business interruption as a result of the COVID-19 emergency measures.

Answered by Lord Agnew of Oulton

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation. It is also working closely with these educational institutions to understand the financial implications of COVID-19 and to provide financial support where it is needed and is appropriate.

For those businesses and charities which have an appropriate policy that covers pandemics and unspecified notifiable diseases, including independent schools, the Government’s social distancing advice of both 16 and 20 March is sufficient to allow them to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. However, most businesses and charities have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19.

The Government recognises that businesses and charities who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, they should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March.

As the Chancellor announced on Tuesday 17 March, the Government will do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of COVID-19.


Written Question
Inheritance Tax: Siblings
25 Apr 2019

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 9 April (HL14826), what considerations led them to set aside their proposal to establish a working party on the fiscal disadvantages experienced by sibling couples.

Answered by Lord Young of Cookham

The Government keeps all taxes under review. The Office of Tax Simplification are reviewing inheritance tax and will make recommendations that the Government will consider.

The inheritance tax treatment of married couples and civil partners reflects their unique legal relationship, and extending this treatment to siblings would incur an Exchequer cost.


Written Question
Inheritance Tax: Siblings
9 Apr 2019

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Bates on 21 March (HL Deb, col 1526), when the cross-departmental working party to consider the fiscal disadvantages experienced by sibling couples will be established; what will be its terms of reference; and when its report will be completed and published.

Answered by Lord Bates

The Government will consider the issue of siblings and inheritance tax through the Office of Tax Simplification’s review of inheritance tax. Their report is due to be published in spring, and their recommendations will be carefully considered.
Written Question
Private Education: VAT
31 Oct 2018

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to impose VAT on the fees charged by independent schools.

Answered by Lord Bates

The government has no plans to change the VAT treatment of independent schools.


Written Question
Inheritance Tax: Families
14 Sep 2018

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to deferring the date that inheritance tax becomes payable on the home of two blood-related joint owners until the death of the second of those two persons.

Answered by Lord Bates

All individuals benefit from a £325,000 tax free threshold for inheritance tax. On certain assets, inheritance tax can be paid in instalments over a ten-year period. This includes situations where the estate contains a house, provided that the house remains unsold.


Written Question
NHS: Northern Ireland
12 Jul 2018

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Duncan of Springbank on 25 June (HL Deb, col 5), what additional funding will be provided to the health services in Northern Ireland under the government’s £20 billion funding plan for the NHS; and when it will be allocated to health and social care in Northern Ireland.

Answered by Lord Bates

The final Barnett consequentials for all three devolved administrations will be confirmed at upcoming Fiscal Events and at the next Spending Review, as per the usual process set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

As a result of the government’s funding plan for the NHS in England, indicative additions to the Northern Ireland block grant are set out in the table below.

£ billion

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

2023-24

Northern Ireland

0.20

0.31

0.45

0.59

0.76

This information was set out in the paper deposited in the House of Commons Library (DEP2018-0598) by the Department of Health and Social Care on 18 June 2018 and is available here: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0598/NHS_Settlement-Numbers_corrected.docx.

Funding decisions would be best taken by a restored Northern Ireland Executive. In the interim it will be for the Northern Ireland Civil Service to allocate funding.


Written Question
East Coast Railway Line
26 May 2016

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to extend VAT zero-rating to building work in independent schools that do not charge VAT on school fees and are therefore not registered for VAT.

Answered by Lord O'Neill of Gatley

The construction of a new building is normally subject to the standard rate of VAT.

However, the construction of buildings that are either designed as a dwelling, to be used solely for a relevant residential purpose, or to be used solely for a relevant charitable purpose may be zero-rated for VAT.

This relief is available to eligible consumers and businesses regardless of their VAT registration status.


Written Question
Inheritance Tax: Siblings
23 Sep 2015

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 9 September (HL Deb, cols 1427–9), what is the position of siblings who live together in jointly owned property under current inheritance tax laws.

Answered by Lord Bridges of Headley

All individuals have an inheritance tax threshold (or ‘nil rate band’), currently £325,000, which is the value below which an estate does not have to pay any inheritance tax. The Summer Budget 2015 announced that from April 2017, a new additional transferable residence nil-rate band of £175,000 is being phased in for individuals who leave their home on death to their children, grandchildren or other direct descendants. Together with the existing nil-rate band this means that most individuals will have an effective inheritance tax threshold of up to £500,000 each.

The long standing spouse exemption means that any transfers of assets between spouses or civil partners are exempt from inheritance tax. The Government has no plans to change the inheritance tax treatment of long-term cohabiting and co-dependent siblings.

Where a property is jointly owned by siblings, the individual sibling’s share of the property will be included in their estate for inheritance tax purposes. Each individual’s estate is considered separately and the position for siblings is the same as for other co-habiting individuals.

Full details of the legislation relating to the new residence allowance announced in the Summer Budget 2015 can be found at clause 9 of the Summer Finance Bill. Guidance will be published nearer the time that the new allowance comes into effect.


Written Question
Inheritance Tax: Siblings
23 Sep 2015

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 9 September (HL Deb, cols 1427–9), whether they will publish full details of how the family home allowance announced in the 2015 Budget will affect siblings who have joint ownership of their home.

Answered by Lord Bridges of Headley

All individuals have an inheritance tax threshold (or ‘nil rate band’), currently £325,000, which is the value below which an estate does not have to pay any inheritance tax. The Summer Budget 2015 announced that from April 2017, a new additional transferable residence nil-rate band of £175,000 is being phased in for individuals who leave their home on death to their children, grandchildren or other direct descendants. Together with the existing nil-rate band this means that most individuals will have an effective inheritance tax threshold of up to £500,000 each.

The long standing spouse exemption means that any transfers of assets between spouses or civil partners are exempt from inheritance tax. The Government has no plans to change the inheritance tax treatment of long-term cohabiting and co-dependent siblings.

Where a property is jointly owned by siblings, the individual sibling’s share of the property will be included in their estate for inheritance tax purposes. Each individual’s estate is considered separately and the position for siblings is the same as for other co-habiting individuals.

Full details of the legislation relating to the new residence allowance announced in the Summer Budget 2015 can be found at clause 9 of the Summer Finance Bill. Guidance will be published nearer the time that the new allowance comes into effect.