§ Mr. Maclean
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses were affected by the change in the gas levy announced in the 1997 budget; and what is the average reduction in the levy per business. 
§ Mr. Battle
[holding answer 15 February 1999]The Chancellor announced in his July 1997 Budget that 313W the Government proposed to cut the gas levy to zero, with full effect from April 1998. As he announced in the March 1998 Budget, the Government decided to implement this by abolishing the levy with effect from 1 April 1998, with a backdated reduction from four pence per therm to three pence per therm applying to 1997–98. Levy was paid by nine producers or purchasers of gas during 1997–98 and each of them has benefited from repayment of one quarter of the levy paid by them in respect of that year.