HC Deb 11 April 1986 vol 95 cc205-6W
Mr. Wareing

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is his latest estimate of the loss to the Exchequer

Mr. Brooke

[pursuant to his reply, 27 March 1986, c. 605]: The information requested is as follows. Scotland benefits considerably from the European social fund, but the bulk of receipts are in respect of national employment and training schemes and information on them cannot be readily provided on a regional basis.

in each financial year since 1978–79 arising from value added tax evasion; and what has been the size of the staff employed on control duties in each of these years;

(2) if he will estimate the cost of collecting value added tax in each financial year since 1978–79; and if he will express the cost as a percentage of value added tax revenue raised in each of these years.

Mr. Brooke

[pursuant to his replies, 10 April 1986]: By the very nature of tax evasion, it is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the tax lost. Customs and Excise has, however, indicated that undetected underdeclarations of value added tax may total between £300 million and £500 million a year. Given this imprecision, a statistical series of the kind requested would not be meaningful. Details of the staff employed on the collection and control of VAT and of the cost of collection are contained in the table on page 13 of the report of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for the year ended 31 March 1985. There is a copy in the Library of the House.

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