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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 15th October 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 15th October 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 15 October.

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 15 October.

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today.


Ombudsman

Sir Michael Shersby: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about the offices of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, for Scotland and for Wales.

The Prime Minister: In accordance with section 1(3) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 and schedule 1 to the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, Sir William Reid will be retiring from these offices on 2 January 1997.

Her Majesty has been pleased to approve the appointment of Mr. Michael Sydney Buckley as Sir William's successor as Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, for Scotland and for Wales, with effect from 3 January 1997.

I am sure all Members of the House would wish me to express their gratitude and admiration for the very able and thorough manner in which Sir William Reid has fulfilled these duties over the last seven years. He has made an outstanding contribution to our public life.


Royal Family (Taxation)

Mr. Michael Brown: To ask the Prime Minister what changes are planned to be made to the memorandum of understanding of 5 February 1993 under which the Queen and the Prince of Wales pay income, capital gains and inheritance tax on a voluntary basis, to take account of the introduction of the new system of self assessment for income tax and capital gains tax.

The Prime Minister: Yes, a change is required to reflect the new tax payment dates under self assessment. The memorandum of understanding has been amended, and I am placing a copy of the amendment in the Library.

The memorandum of understanding provided that income tax and capital gains tax would be payable on 1 December following the end of the tax year. However, under self-assessment, 1 December will no longer be a tax payment date, and instead income tax will be payable on 31 January and 31 July and capital gains tax on 31 January. The memorandum of understanding has therefore been amended to make income tax and capital gains tax for 1996-97--the transitional year--payable on 31 January 1998; and income tax and capital gains tax for 1997-98 and subsequent years will be payable on 31 January and 31 July in accordance with the normal rules of self assessment.

These new arrangements mean tax will be paid under the memorandum of understanding several months earlier on average than at present.

Changes have also been made to the provisions relating to payments on account, and interest on tax underpaid or overpaid, to bring them into line with the new self assessment rules.