§ Mr. Gibb
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the cost of retirement relief, in terms of lost capital gains tax receipts in 1996–97; and if he will estimate the net effect of(a) doubling and (b) halving the relief bands in the same year. 
§ Mr. Geoffrey Robinson
[holding answer 19 February 1998]: Under current rules for capital gains tax retirement relief, full relief is available for the first £250,000 of gains, and half relief on gains between £250,000 and £1,000,000. The estimated costs of retirement relief for 1996–97 with these thresholds and with thresholds at (a) double and (b) half these levels are given in the table. The estimated costs of relief for the alternative thresholds take no account of any changes in taxpayer behaviour which might have occurred if those thresholds had applied for 1996–97.
Capital gains tax Cost of retirement relief for 1996–97 £ million Thresholds Cost of relief As set for 1996–97 (£250,000 and £1 million) 120 Double the level for 1996–97 (£500,000 and £2 million) 135 Half the level for 1996–97 (£125,000 and £500,000) 100