To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer
(1) how many and what proportion of applications for VAT registration during (a) 1998–99, (b) 1999–2000, (c) 2000–01, and (d) 2001–02 to the most recent date for which information is available were (i) refused or (ii) referred for further investigation;
(2) how many and what percentage of applications for VAT registration were found to be (a) invalid or (b) potentially fraudulent in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) 2001–02 to the most recent date for which information is available.
For 1998–99, information on the proportion of applications falling into these categories is published in appendix B of the HM Customs and Excise annual report 1998–99. For 1999–2000 and 2000–01, this information was not centrally collated and would now involve disproportionate cost to produce. National registration statistics for 2001–02 will be published in due course.