Shipping (Fiscal Regime)

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th April 1999.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North 12:00 am, 15th April 1999

What remit he has given to Lord Alexander's investigation of the fiscal regime for British shipping. [79457]

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury)

Lord Alexander has agreed to conduct an independent inquiry into the case for, and design of, a lower rate ring-fenced tonnage-based tax and additional enhanced training incentives for the shipping industry, taking account of the Government's objectives for shipping and the national and international competitiveness issues involved. The inquiry is to conclude as soon as is practicable.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply. What assessment have the Government made of the possible revenue implications for the Exchequer of a tonnage-based tax such as that in which the Dutch Government are engaged, which has resulted in a 37 per cent. increase in Dutch-flag ships, a 23 per cent. increase in employment in their shipping industry and a 19 per cent. increase in their gross domestic product? Will she confirm that the assessments will be made available to Lord Alexander, so that he can set them alongside the success of the Dutch scheme?

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury)

Those are precisely the issues that Lord Alexander will be considering in studying tonnage-based tax regimes in other European Union member states and, indeed, elsewhere. He will be supported by the Treasury in ensuring that the figures are detailed and correct, and will be making his recommendations on precisely such information.