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Embassies: Non-domestic Rates

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what sanctions may be imposed on diplomatic missions in the UK which do not pay non-domestic rates for which they are liable. (225556)

We expect all diplomatic missions to meet their national non-domestic rate obligations, and the vast majority do so. The Valuation Office Agency of HM Revenue and Customs sends monthly statements to all diplomatic missions which have outstanding debts. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has an annual process of formally raising outstanding debts with missions, and urging prompt settlement. Failure to do so leads to the missions appearing on the written ministerial statement which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary makes to Parliament each year.

The total amount of national non-domestic rates owed by foreign Missions in the UK fell by more than 50 per cent. between 2006-07 and 2007-08.