§ Mr. Field
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total annual cost to the Treasury was of providing tax relief on personal pension plans at(a) the starting rate, (b) the standard rate and (c) the higher rate in each of the last three years; 
(2) how many people paid into personal pension plans and how many schemes attracted tax relief at (a) the starting rate, (b) the standard rate and (c) the higher rate in each of the last three years. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
[holding answers 1 March 2001]Estimates of the cost of tax relief for contributions to personal pensions and such information as is available on the number of contributors by rate of income tax are given in the tables.359W
Number of employees1 making contributions to personal pensions Approximately 3 million2 Of which: higher rate taxpayers 200 thousand 1Based on aggregate information provided by plan managers and survey data 2All benefit from repayment of basic rate tax claimed by their pension provider including those who are non-taxpayers or pay tax at less than the basic rate
Number of self-employed1 making contributions to personal pensions Thousand Rate of income tax 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 Non-taxpayers 150 160 110 Starting2 rate 180 30 60 Basic rate 680 800 800 Higher rate 250 250 260 Total 1,260 1,240 1,230 1Based on relief claimed on tax returns. 1999–2000 and 2000–01 figures are provisional 220 per cent. lower rate 1998–99; 10 per cent. starting rate 1999–2000 and 2000–01
Cost of tax relief, for personal pension schemes £ million Source of contributions and rate of income tax relief 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 Employees' contributions Basic rate 550 580 590 Higher rate 270 290 310 Employers' contributions1 Basic rate 300 300 300 Higher rate 140 150 160 National Insurance rebates2 Basic rate 175 271 287 Contributions by the self-employed Starting rate3 30 5 5 Basic rate 210 240 240 Higher rate 490 520 550 1On the basis that under present arrangements employers' contributions are not taxable as a benefit in kind of the employees. Figures assume that the proportion related to higher rate taxpayers is the same as that observed for employees' contributions. 2Basic rate tax relief in respect of the employees' part of the National Insurance rebate received by around 3.7 million employees with appropriate personal pensions. 320 per cent. lower rate 1998–99; 10 per cent. starting rate 1999–2000 and 2000–01.