§ Mr. Denham
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is his estimate of the amount of uncollected VAT arrears in the area covered by the Southampton Customs and Excise office;
(2) what was the total number of Customs and Excise officers engaged in VAT inspections in the area covered by the Southampton Customs and Excise office in each year since 1983;
(3) what was the total number of VAT inspections carried out in the area covered by the Southampton Customs and Excise office in each year since 1983.
§ Sir John Cope
In December 1993, the outstanding VAT debt of registered businesses within the Southampton local VAT office area was just over £10 million.
Because of the restructuring of local VAT office boundaries and other operational changes, VAT visiting employment figures are not available for the whole period requested. For the years to March 1993 and March 1994, Southampton LVO assigned 43 and 45 officers respectively to such duties.
Using those staff, 3,962 visits were carried out in the period to March 1993 and it is planned to complete some 3,450 visits by March 1994. The number of visits is not, of 253W itself, an indicator of the efficacy of the visiting programme as businesses are selected in accordance with their risk profile which may vary from year to year.