HC Deb 06 April 2001 vol 366 cc301-2W
Sir Michael Spicer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if roll-over relief is available to farmers receiving lump sum compensation for foot and mouth disease who wish to reinvest in livestock in future years. [156900]

Mr. Andrew Smith

[holding answer 5 April 2001]: Animals used in a farming trade are not chargeable assets for capital gains purposes. They are part of a farmer's trading stock so that any compensation for their loss will be on revenue rather than capital account and form part of the farmer's trading income.

Compensation received for animals that have been compulsorily slaughtered is treated in the same way as the proceeds would have been if the animals had been sold. As this is income for tax purposes capital gains tax roll-over relief is not applicable.

Where the herd basis applies, the profit from the disposal of production animals is deferred until they are replaced and the profit is exempt if they are not replaced. Special rules allow profits on the disposal of other animals compulsorily slaughtered to be spread over three years.

The Revenue and Customs are committed to helping individuals and businesses in difficulty as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak. They will respond sympathetically in all cases where customers need help in understanding their entitlements or who are experiencing difficulty in paying tax or national insurance. The Revenue Departments have set up a joint helpline. The number is 0845 300 0157.

Mr. Chope

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if applications for temporary rate reductions made because of the foot and mouth epidemic will be given priority over outstanding appeals against the 2000 rating list; [157380]

(2) what targets have been given to the Valuation Office for determining applications for temporary reductions in business rates on the grounds of the impact of the foot and mouth crisis; [157381]

(3) how many applications have been made for a temporary reduction in business rates arising from the foot and mouth epidemic. [157382]

Dawn Primarolo

In England and Wales to date there have been at least 23,000 appeals made for a temporary reduction in rating assessments on the grounds of the impact of foot and mouth. It will be the Valuation Office Agency's policy to prioritise dealing with such applications. The Valuation Office Agency has recently introduced a system for the structured programming of appeals against rating assessments. As a matter of urgency it is considering how, within this system, to prioritise appeals resulting from the foot and mouth epidemic.