§ Mr. Peter Ainsworth
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for what reason the new Millennium Experience Company decided to make remuneration payments through on offshore account; and what the value was of such payments. 
§ Janet Anderson [holding answer 15 January 2001]
NMEC has advised that during the course of 1999 the company took advice from its tax consultants, in discussion with the Inland Revenue, and concluded that, while it would operate with a clear presumption against payments to offshore accounts, it would consider each case on its merits and on the condition that requested arrangements were not for the purpose of tax avoidance.
I refer to my letter of 19 December 2000 to the hon. Member, a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. NMEC has completed a further search of all its payment records as part of its preparation for solvent liquidation. NMEC has concluded that prior to 19 December 2000, and excluding payments net of tax, remuneration through offshore accounts was made in two cases, not one as previously advised, both to an Isle of Man address. The total value of these payments was –93,898.5.
Separately, payments by cheque, handed over on site but payable to companies registered outside the UK, in respect of work undertaken by individuals filling headcount posts, totalled –138,423.