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Diplomatic Missions

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 June 2009, Official Report, column 25WS, on diplomatic missions, what discretion local authorities have to withdraw public services from diplomatic missions which do not pay the national non-domestic rates billed to them. (283916)

National non diplomatic rates (NNDR) for diplomatic premises is paid in full to local authorities by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA then bills individual missions for the portion which covers services from which missions directly benefit. This is currently calculated as 6 per cent. of the total bill.

As diplomatic missions do not pay NNDR direct to local authorities, it would not be appropriate for local authorities to withdraw services from those diplomatic missions which have NNDR debts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 June 2009, Official Report, column 25WS, on diplomatic missions, on what date the Zimbabwe mission last paid a bill for national non-domestic rates; and how many months of non-domestic rates arrears the sum given in the statement represents. (283917)

The Valuation Office Agency's records indicate that the Zimbabwean mission's debt has been accumulating since 2000-01. Since that time they have only paid one year's beneficial portion of national non-domestic rates, for the year 2006-07. The sum given in the written ministerial statement represents eight years' accumulated debt.