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Written Answers

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 12 October 2009

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 14 September 2009, Official Report, column 2131W, on air passenger duty, what assessment his Department has made of the effect that the proposed increase in air passenger duty will have on (a) passenger numbers at airports in the South East of England, (b) passenger numbers at regional airports and (c) passenger numbers on other routes. (292300)

The Department for Transport published overall passenger demand forecasts for regional airports on page 130 of its Air Passenger Demand forecasts report:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/atf/co2forecasts09/co2forecasts09.pdf

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate his Department has made of the effect of an increase in air passenger duty on levels of employment. (292495)

The Government's impact assessment is set out on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs website and can be accessed via:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ria/apd-reform-ia.pdf

Banks: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 13 May 2009, Official Report, column 847W, on banks: finance, how much of the first loss in respect of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group has been written down; and when he expects the Asset Protection Scheme to be fully operational. (289917)

The announcements made in February and March set out an in principle agreement with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds) with regard to their participation in the Asset Protection Scheme (APS). Details about the financial performance of RBS and Lloyds, since they agreed in principle to participate in APS, are set out in their interim management statements of 5 August and 7 August respectively.

The final agreements remain under negotiation. Further announcements will be made in due course.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 May 2009, Official Report, column 535W, on banks: finance, which banks are participating in the Asset-backed Securities Scheme; and what the total monetary value is of the additional loans made available to each such bank. (289918)

The ABS guarantee scheme was made available at Budget 2009, extending funding options open to banks and building societies alongside other Government support schemes, including the existing Credit Guarantee Scheme. Demand for the guarantees will depend on eligible institutions' access to alternative sources of funding and demand for mortgage credit in the economy.

A list of eligible instruments guaranteed under the scheme will be made available by the DMO at:

http://www.dmo.gov.uk

Banks: Government Shareholding

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what position the Government holds in relation to other shareholders in the ranking for settlement in respect of (a) Bradford and Bingley and (b) Northern Rock. (289460)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Mr. Meale) on 17 June 2009, Official Report, column 323W.

Cheques

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent discussions he has had with the Payments Council on electronic payments by mobile telephone payments as an alternative form of payment to cheques; (291467)

(2) what discussions he has had with clearing banks on proposals to cease the use of cheques as methods of payment; and what assessment he has made of the risks to security of financial transfers of methods of payment other than cheques.

Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors to discuss as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.

Child Care Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 2 April 2009, Official Report, column 1385, on child care tax credit, what estimate he has made of the cost of distributing the child care element of the working tax credit had all those eligible to claim done so in 2008-09. (289300)

The information is not available.

HMRC does not have data on the total number of families eligible for the child care element.

Child Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to improve take-up of child tax credit. (288442)

The Government's aim is to ensure that everyone receives all of the help that they are entitled to.

Tax credits are benefiting around 6 million families and 10 million children. Take-up is now higher than for any previous system of income-related financial support, at 81 per cent. for the child tax credit, rising to 92 per cent. for the poorest fifth of families. HM Revenue and Customs is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to sustain and increase these high levels of take-up, using methods such as:

placing tax credit advisers in 100 children centres;

joining up marketing of parents' entitlements through the Payments for Parents campaign; and

offering information for new mothers in Bounty packs.

Child Trust Fund

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children in (a) Hemel Hempstead constituency and (b) Dacorum had received child trust fund payments on the latest date for which figures are available. (289420)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to him on 20 July 2009, Official Report, column 893W.

Civil Service: Location

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Civil Service jobs have been relocated to the north-west of England in the last four years. (291472)

Under the Government's Relocation programme 3,951 posts had been relocated out of London and the south-east to the north-west of England by December 2008.

Climate Change

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research projects the International Development and Climate Change Team of his Department's International Finance Directorate (a) has undertaken and (b) plans to undertake on matters related to energy and climate change. (289823)

Research on matters pertaining to energy and climate change is led by the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Officials in the International Development and Climate Change team work in cooperation with their counterparts at DECC.

Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the email from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 9 June 2009 on banks. (289864)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 7 September 2009 from the hon. Member for Walsall North concerning a constituent; and for what reason no acknowledgement was sent at that time. (292307)

An acknowledgement was sent to my hon. Friend on 10 September and a reply to the correspondence on 4 October.

Departmental Advertising

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on newspaper advertising carried in each newspaper in the most recent year for which figures are available. (289514)

A breakdown of expenditure on newspaper advertising could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) display energy certificate and (b) advisory report for public buildings issued in respect of each property occupied by (i) the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt, (ii) the Government Actuary's Department, (iii) HM Revenue and Customs and (iv) the Public Works Loan Board. (289844)

A copy of the Display Energy Certificates (DEC) and associated advisory reports in respect of each property occupied that requires a DEC for (i) the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt (CRND), (ii) the Government Actuary's Department and (iv) the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) will be placed in the Library. CRND and PLWB are both part of the UK Debt Management Office and occupy the same building and therefore have the same DEC and advisory report.

Due to the size of its estate, HM Revenue and Customs will place an electronic record of DECs and associated advisory reports for all properties it occupies that require a DEC in the Library as soon as possible.

It may be helpful to note that the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has published central government department's Display Energy Certificate (DEC) operational ratings. This building level detail can be accessed through the OGC website

http://www.ogc.gov.uk/sustainability_programme_ progress.asp

and includes DEC reference numbers for each building which can be used to access relevant advisory reports on the Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register

https://www.ndepcregister.com/home.html

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many properties owned by his Department were liable for payment of (a) business rates and (b) empty property rates in each of the last five years; and what the cost to the public purse was in each such year. (290603)

Information on the number of properties owned by the Department that attracted business rates and the cost in each year since 2005-06 is shown in the following table. There has been no spending by the Department on empty property rates since 2005-06.

Number of properties

Cost of business rates (£)

2005-06

2

1,666,000

2006-07

1

1,684,000

2007-08

1

1,726,000

2008-09

1

1,796,000

2009-10

1

1,699,000

Departmental Cost-effectiveness

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Minister in his Department has been assigned responsibility for overseeing the delivery of value for money in his Department; whether his Department has established a public sector reform team to implement service reforms; and if he will make a statement. (289749)

The Minister assigned responsibility for overseeing the delivery of value for money in HM Treasury is the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury co-ordinates the work of value for money Ministers across the Government.

HM Treasury is committed to reforming public services to improve services for the citizen and that various teams are working closely with colleagues in the centre of Government on this important agenda.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1889-90W, how much (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) HM Revenue and Customs has spent on (i) flat screen televisions, (ii) DVD players and (iii) stereo equipment since December 2008. (289070)

The information requested is set out in the following table.

£000

Organisation

Flat screen televisions

DVD players

Stereo equipment

HM Treasury1

n/a

n/a

n/a

DMO

4

0

0

OGC

0

0

0

Buying solutions

0

0

0

HMRC2

0

1

0

1 Information in relation to the Treasury is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

2 HMRC figures may exclude flat screen televisions bought as part of a package e.g. video conferencing or closed circuit television equipment. It is not possible to identity the cost of the television element of such packages.

Departmental Flexible Working

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what flexi-time arrangements were available to staff of his Department in each of the last five years; and how many staff participated in such arrangements in each such year. (290602)

HM Treasury promotes flexible working by offering a variety of working arrangements which includes compressed hours, part-time, job-sharing, working from home and flexi-time.

Flexible working hours are available to all staff within HM Treasury, but participation is dependent upon local agreements within individual teams. The operation of these agreements is supervised by individual line managers, and not recorded centrally. Information about the number of staff participating in such arrangements could therefore be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) mobile telephones, (b) Blackberrys and (c) laptop computers have been issued to staff in his Department in each of the last five years; and how many of these were issued to (i) new staff and (ii) existing staff following (A) loss and (B) theft of a previous device. (290596)

In respect of the numbers of mobile telephones, Blackberry devices and laptop computers issued to Treasury staff prior to 2007, I refer the hon. Lady to the answer my predecessor gave to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 373W. The following table gives details of the numbers issued in the subsequent completed years.

Number

Mobile telephones

Blackberrys

Laptop computers

2007

25

60

64

2008

91

203

247

The figures for 2008 reflect an increasing use of flexible and remote working tools within the Department as well as a laptop refresh and encryption project which took place during the year.

In respect of the replacement of missing or stolen items, I refer the hon. Lady to the answer my predecessor gave to the hon. Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) on 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 819W. For the numbers of lost or stolen laptop computers in the years requested, I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Blunt) on 22 June 2009, Official Report, column 666W. For the numbers of lost of stolen Blackberry devices and mobile telephones, I refer the hon. Lady to the answer given by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 13 May 2009, Official Report, column 849W.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate has been made of the average length of employment of staff in the Department at each Civil Service payband. (290599)

HM Treasury’s staffing and recruitment practices make provision for permanent employees to manage their careers in an active manner, as well as opportunities for people across the labour market, from both the public and private sectors, to work in the Department on short-term loans and secondments as part of their wider careers. The following table, which sets out the average number of years spent at each payband, is based on the median average number of years employed in the Treasury. It reflects the balance the Department strikes between developing staff, promotion on merit, and developing a balanced and flexible workforce with a variety of skills to meet the Department's objectives.

HM Treasury pay range

Civil service payband

Average number of years1

Range B

AA/AO

1.7

Range C

EO

5.3

Range D

HEO/SEO

1.4

Range E

Grade 7/Grade 6

3.5

Senior Civil Service

Senior Civil Service

8.6

1 Median average number of years employed at HM Treasury, as at September 2009.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff there were in his Department (a) in 1997 and (b) on the latest date for which figures are available. (292072)

The information requested is set out in the Treasury’s annual reports for the years concerned. Those are in the Library and can be accessed via:

1997

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/106.pdf

2009

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/annual_report_2009_full.pdf

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 947W, on departmental marketing, what the cost of branding activity was for (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) HM Revenue and Customs in 2008-09. (290292)

Departmental Paper

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his Department's policy to print on both sides of the paper used for correspondence; and if he will estimate the potential for reduction in paper usage arising from the introduction of such a policy. (291879)

The Treasury Group remains committed to sustainable development, contributing to the UK's Sustainable Development Action Plan and striving to reduce the impact of the Group's operations on the environment. Based on year-on-year falls in emissions to 2007-08 and an assessment of having sound carbon management systems, the Treasury Group was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for all of its UK operations. This includes all emissions from the estate, and from all transport used by officials and ministers. The Treasury Group is proud to have achieved this, and is committed to maintaining the standard.

Specifically on paper usage, in 2008, the Treasury adjusted the default setting of all printers to print on both sides, which has significantly reduced paper usage, although single side printing may sometimes be appropriate and this is an issue we shall continue to focus on.

Departmental Paternity Leave

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff took paternity leave from his Department in each of the last five years and what the average length of such leave was. (290601)

In each of the five years to 2008-09, staff working at HM Treasury have been entitled to take up to two weeks paid paternity leave on the birth or adoption of a child. Prior to the start of 2009-10, HM Treasury did not record instances of staff paternity leave centrally; the information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on (a) car hire, (b) air travel, (c) hotels and (d) restaurant meals for (i) Ministers and (ii) staff in his Department in each of the last five years. (289975)

Details of spending on travel and subsistence since 2003-04 is shown in the Treasury's Annual Report and Accounts (HC 611). A breakdown of those figures into the categories requested could not be achieved within the disproportionate costs threshold.

All travel undertaken by Ministers and civil servants is in accordance with the “Ministerial Code” and the “Civil Service Management Code” respectively. All spending on official entertainment is made in accordance with the principles set out in “Managing Public Money.”

The Government published a list of all overseas travel by Ministers costing over £500 on 16 July and this can be viewed at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/ministers/travel_gifts.aspx

Departmental Recruitment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what data his Department holds on the level of diversity in its recruitment of employees in each of the last three years. (290510)

The Treasury publishes diversity data on recruitment on its website at:

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/about_equality.htm

The diversity data available covers the years 2006, 2007 and 2008-09. Further information on diversity and recruitment is available in the Treasury’s equality schemes (Race, Disability and Gender) also available on the website.

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to his Department of sickness absence was in each of the last five years. (290598)

The following table gives the cost to HM Treasury of sickness absence in total number of working days lost for years 2007-08, and 2008-09. Published figures for 2004, 2005 and 2006 can be found on the civil service website at:

www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/who/statistics/sickness.aspx

HM Treasury sickness absence 2007-08 and 2008-09

Number

Average working days lost

Total days lost

2008-09

3.6

4,187

2007-08

4.7

5,507

HM Treasury systems do not record the financial costs of these sickness absence days, which could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, details of HM Treasury's staffing costs and numbers are published annually in its Departmental Reports and Accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Training

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days training were provided to staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) HM Revenue and Customs on managing budgets in the last 12 months; how many staff attended each of the courses provided; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the training materials provided during such training. (289127)

The Treasury Group, comprising HM Treasury, the Office of Government Commerce and the Debt Management Office, provide extensive formal training to staff working on managing internal budgets, one-to-one training on demand, and, in addition, staff are able to attend a range of informal training via their individual directorates. Details of the amount of training provided are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), including the Valuation Office Agency, provides a range of tailored training to managers on budget management in order to meet the Department's financial skills and capability strategy, as well as E-learning facilities and informal on-the-job training. As part of that effort, in the last year staff were provided with 839 days of training relating specifically to managing internal budgets.

Materials for these courses are subject to copyright and restrictions on publication that apply to protected internal management information.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many external training courses were attended by staff of his Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost was of each course. (289691)

Due to delegated team budgets for training, this information is not held centrally and would be available only at a disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training courses have been provided to staff at HM Revenue and Customs in the last 12 months; and at what cost. (289839)

The information on training courses provided in the last 12 months has been deposited in the Library of the House.

The information requested regarding the cost of training for the last 12 months could be available only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Waste

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of his Department’s waste was recycled in the latest period for which figures are available. (289666)

HM Treasury is committed to making operations as sustainable as possible. Detailed information containing latest figures is contained in HM Treasury Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09 (HC 611).

Departmental Work Experience

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision is made to enable students to undertake work experience in his Department; by what means members of the public may obtain information about work experience in his Department; and if he will make a statement. (288733)

The Treasury offers summer work placements to students via programmes organised by the Government Economic Service which are advertised on the GES website (www.ges.gov.uk). It also participates in the Summer Placement Scheme and Summer Development Programme organised by the Cabinet Office; these opportunities are publicised by the Fast Stream marketing team and advertised on the Fast Stream website:

www.faststream.gov.uk

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to commence the distribution to charities of money from dormant bank accounts under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008. (289312)

The UK dormant accounts scheme enables money in dormant bank and building society accounts to be reinvested to the benefit of the community, while ensuring that the right of account holders to reclaim their money is protected.

Following the passage of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act in November 2008, the Government completed the legislative framework for the scheme by passing secondary legislation to enable the FSA to regulate a reclaim fund on 29 June 2009. The FSA then published its final rules for regulating a reclaim fund on 24 July 2009. The Government are looking for the scheme to be operational as soon as possible following the authorisation of a reclaim fund.

Excise Duties: Fuels

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effects of the recent road fuel duty increase on (a) filling stations in and (b) the economy of remote rural areas; (291662)

(2) what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on the cost and impact of schemes operated by other EU member states which use a derogation to apply a lower rate of fuel duty to remote areas and islands; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what recent assessment his Department has made of the effects of variation in fuel prices in other EU member states on road fuel sales in the UK and associated revenue; and if he will make a statement.

When making decisions on fuel duty, the Chancellor takes into account all relevant economic, social and environmental factors. This includes the impact on rural areas. The increase in road fuel duty which took place on 1 September will help to support the public finances in the medium-term.

It is a key principle of the tax system that the same rate of excise duty will apply throughout the UK. The Government have therefore decided not to impose a reduced rate of fuel duty in remote areas. The Government are aware of derogations in other EU member states, but does not hold information on the cost of such schemes.

Data on fuel prices throughout the EU are available at:

www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/source/prices

The Government have not made an assessment of the impact of fuel prices in other countries on UK prices, but all countries will be similarly affected by movements in the international oil market.

Financial Institutions: Climate Change

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with representatives from each of the financial institutions which are partly or wholly owned by the Government on the Government’s objective to encourage investment in low-carbon technologies; and if he will make a statement. (290125)

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Gift Aid

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to page 40 of the joint Cabinet Office-Treasury publication Real Help for Communities: Volunteers, Charities and Social Enterprises, if he will place in the Library a copy of the research on redirection of the higher rate of gift aid from donors to charities. (292172)

Budget 2009 announced research into the effect of redirecting gift aid higher rate relief from donors to charities. The Government will publish the research later this year, and the full report will be available on the HM Treasury website.

Glasgow

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to visit Glasgow on official business during the summer adjournment. (288922)

Global Economy

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the papers submitted by the United Kingdom, (b) the papers submitted by other G20 parties and (c) the speeches made by participants in respect of the G20 meeting on reform of the global economy in Pittsburgh on 24 and 25 September 2009. (292492)

At the London summit, leaders asked the Prime Minister as Chair to report on the adaptability and responsiveness of the international financial institutions. His report, titled ‘Supporting Global Growth’, was welcomed by leaders at the Pittsburgh summit and is available at:

http://www.pittsburghsummit.gov/resources/

Other contributions presented to the Pittsburgh summit are available at the same address. The IMF's contributions are available at:

www.imf.org

G20 leaders meet in closed session and thus specific interventions by leaders at the summit are not publicly available. However, the Leaders' Statement is available at:

http://www.pittsburghsummit.gov/mediacenter/129639.htm

Copies of the Prime Minister's report and these web pages have been placed in the Library of the House.

Government Securities

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the monetary value of gilts and bonds sold to organisations in (a) China and (b) India in each of the last three years. (291777)

The Debt Management Office (DMO) predominantly sells gilts competitively via auctions in the primary market to the primary market dealers, that is, the Gilt-Edged Market Makers (GEMMs), only. GEMMs are financial institutions recognised as such by the DMO. The DMO does not sell gilts direct to other organisations. GEMMs place bids at auctions on behalf of their clients. Foreign investors can also acquire their gilts in the secondary market.

Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander: Compensation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the numbers of depositors with Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander (UK) who (a) are eligible for compensation, (b) have been compensated or informed they will be compensated and (c) are awaiting compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. (292145)

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has provided the following information:

(a) The estimated number of KSF eligible depositors is 174,686;

(b) 173,703 depositors have already received compensation; and

(c) 285 applications for compensation remain under consideration by the FSCS, with around 700 application forms remaining unreturned.

Keydata Investment Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of UK residents affected by the entry into administration of Key Data Investment Services (KIS); and what assessment he has made of the financial consequences of the Financial Services Authority’s decision to require KIS to enter administration. (292416)

On 8 June 2009, as a result of the application by the FSA on the grounds that Keydata was insolvent, the Court placed Keydata into administration.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (‘PwC’) were appointed as administrators for KIS and the administration process is still ongoing. A dedicated website and telephone number have been made available for investors and other interested parties.

The FSA is now working closely with PwC and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as well as with other interested parties, including the Serious Fraud Office and overseas regulatory authorities. In addition HMRC is working with the administrators to establish what the tax implications of this are to ISA investors in light of all the relevant information. HMRC will soon be advising individuals as to the tax implications of their non-qualifying Keydata investments.

PwC and the FSA will keep the public updated.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 20 May 2009, Official Report, column 1401W, on Members: correspondence, when he will reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 15 April 2009, on green businesses. (289940)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the MP's Parliamentary Business Unit of the Tax Credit Office will be in a position to respond to the hon. Member for Edinburgh West's correspondence on 24 March and 10 June 2009 on his constituent Mr. John Reid. (290002)

The Tax Credit Office has contacted the hon. Member's office about his constituent to apologise for the delay and clarify the current position.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 10 June 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mr. M Rathfelder. (290236)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 9 March 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mr. B. McGill. (290237)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letters of 20 March and 8 June 2009 from the hon. Member for Weston-Super-Mare sent on behalf of a constituent, Mr. Ian Wild. (291692)

Mortgages: Debts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of repossessions arising from actions by sub-prime lenders in the last 12 months; and whether such repossessions are reflected in the repossession statistics compiled by the Financial Services Authority. (291812)

The Government have made no estimate of the number of repossessions arising from actions by specific categories of lenders in the last 12 months. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) publishes quarterly data on residential mortgage lending, covering the period from the first quarter of 2007, available at:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Returns/IRR/statistics/index.shtml

These data are collected from all lenders with FSA authorisation, regardless of individual firm or product characteristics.

National Insurance Contributions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward measures to make national insurance contributions cumulative from each employment up to the maximum income level. (290083)

In October 2007 the Treasury published a report Income tax and National Insurance alignment: an evidence-based assessment. It is available at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pbr_csr07_income.htm

The report noted that changing to a National Insurance system in which earnings were cumulated across all employment for those with more than one job would allow a small number of individuals (currently estimated at around 40,000) to gain access to contributory benefits. However others, including some low earners, would lose out by having to pay more National Insurance Contributions. The report considered more widely aligning the administration of National Insurance Contributions with that of income tax. The Government's conclusion in the Report was that on balance the benefits of administrative alignment did not outweigh the costs.

Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answers of 15 July 2009, Official Report, columns 482W-83W, and 30 June 2009, Official Report, column 208W, on pensions, what expenditure items are included in the row entitled other spending of Table 4.1 on page 36 of the Long-term Public Finance Report of March 2008. (289402)

The Long-term Public Finance report and the analysis on which the report is based focus on demographic change. Table 4.1 of the Long-term Public Finance report shows the results of modelling the impact of demographic change on total expenditure (including gross investment but excluding interest and dividend payments). The 'other spending' line includes all other Government expenditure not otherwise included in table 4.1, excluding interest and dividend payments.

Pensions: Public Sector

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the total cost of pensions for retired public sector workers in each of the next 10 years. (288182)

The Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) 2009 (Cmd Paper 7630) provides forward estimates of pensions in payment in the Pay As You Go (PAYG) public service schemes in table D1. These estimates are derived from spending plans and therefore cover up to 2010-11.

The main schemes covered are those for the NHS, teachers, civil service and armed forces. These figures include cash payments of members' continuing pensions, lump sums, spouses' benefits and similar payments, and bulk and individual transfers out.

Performance Standards

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration his Department has given to the potential role of the private sector in meeting the public sector efficiency targets published in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 2009; and if he will make a statement. (289639)

Budget 2009 published a departmental breakdown of the Government’s £35 billion VFM target, and the “2009 VFM Update” published further detail on some of the reforms Departments will take forward to achieve their targets. Departments may use the private sector to help deliver their targets; these decisions are a matter for individual Departments to make based on their own value for money assessment.

Private Finance Initiative: Government Assistance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much public money has been spent to assist companies with private finance initiative contracts which have been adversely affected by the credit crunch; how much such expenditure has been committed but not spent; which companies (a) have been assisted and (b) are planned to be assisted in this way; and what his estimate is of the likely total public expenditure for this purpose. (292137)

No money has been spent assisting companies with private finance contracts and there are no plans to do so. In March 2009 the Treasury established its Infrastructure Financing Unit (TIFU) as a temporary and reversible initiative, which can provide loans on market terms to PFI projects struggling to reach financial close due to problems in the debt market. TIFU does not provide direct financial support to companies operating PFI contracts but lends at a commercial rate to PFI projects in procurement.

Property Development

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent fiscal steps he has introduced to encourage commercial property development. (291985)

It is the Government's view that the best way to support the commercial property sector is to support the recovery of the wider economy. At pre-Budget Report 2008 and Budget 2009, the Government announced significant measures to support economic recovery in the UK, including additional support for business cashflow and investing in infrastructure, skills and innovation to provide the right environment for business growth.

These measures include:

reducing the main rate of VAT to 15 per cent until 31 December 2009;

measures to help SMEs facing credit constraints;

a deferral in the increase in the small companies rate of corporation tax;

temporary extension to loss relief rules; and

deferral of part of this year's business rates inflation up-rating.

Public Expenditure: Nuclear Weapons

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the opportunity cost of maintaining a UK nuclear weapons system for (a) other UK defence and security spending and (b) spending on schools and hospitals in (i) 10 years, (ii) 20 years and (iii) 40 years time; and if he will make a statement. (289767)

Information regarding the costs of maintaining a UK nuclear deterrent was set out in the 2006 White Paper, The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent'.

Registered Social Landlords

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effects upon the economy of the redesignation of registered social landlords as public bodies for public sector borrowing requirement purposes. (291874)

Stamp Duties

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will direct the National Housing and Planning Advisory Unit to assess the level of public support for abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers on properties sold for up to £250,000. (290473)

Tax Allowances

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which tax schemes have been closed since 2 December 2004 as a result of retrospective legislation application. (289825)

Since 2 December 2004 a number of schemes have been closed by legislation which was enacted with retrospective effect (i.e. to a date before the announcement date). The schemes in question were addressed by the following provisions:

Section 92 Finance Act 2006 (avoidance using options etc);

Section 58 Finance Act 2008 (UK residents and foreign partnerships);

Section 67 Finance Act 2009 (deductions for employee liabilities);

Section 68 Finance Act 2009 (employment loss relief); and,

Section 61 and schedule 30 FA 2009 (financial arrangements avoidance).

Tax Allowances: Empty Property

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on empty property rate relief since April 2009. (291686)

Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of such representations.

Tax Allowances: Landlords

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of landlords who have claimed wear and tear allowance against their income from property letting in each year since 2005. (292360)

The number of landlords claiming wear and tear allowance, as recorded on the self-assessment return, was 520,000 in 2005-06, 530,000 in 2006-07 and 535,000 in 2007-08, the latest year available.

Tax Allowances: Safety Belts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals to provide tax incentives to purchase cars fitted with a seat belt reminder system; and if he will make a statement. (289619)

There are no current plans to provide tax incentives for the purchase of vehicles fitted with a seat belt reminder system.

All taxes are kept under review and announcements of any changes are made at the Budget and pre-Budget report.

Tax Avoidance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether employment loss liabilities fall within the ambit of the Paymaster General's statement of 2 December 2004 on anti-avoidance measures; and if he will make a statement; (289824)

(2) whether tax schemes which do not involve the extraction of income from a company by an employee in a manner which is free of PAYE, income tax and national insurance contributions fall within the ambit of by the Paymaster General's statement of 2 December 2004 on anti-avoidance measures; and if he will make a statement.

The Paymaster General's statement of 2004 warned that where we become aware of arrangements which attempt to frustrate our intention that employers and employees should pay the proper amount of tax we will introduce legislation to close them down, where necessary from 2 December 2004.

It remains the Government's view that in rare cases, whether in the field of employment income or more widely, it will be appropriate for us to act retrospectively to ensure that abusive schemes are closed down rapidly and effectively. Section 68 of Finance Act 2009, dealing with employment losses was one such example.

Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people in Hemel Hempstead constituency claimed working tax credit in the latest period for which figures are available; (289434)

(2) how many people in Hemel Hempstead constituency claimed child tax credit in the latest period for which figures are available.

The latest information on the number of recipient families of child and working tax credits, by parliamentary constituency, is given in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) snapshot publication, “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics Geographical Analyses April 2009”.

This publication is available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

HMRC do not produce these statistics separately for child tax credit and working tax credit.

Tax Credit: Pension Funds

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which public sector pension schemes have incurred costs arising from the abolition of dividend tax credits. (288688)

The Treasury has not made an assessment of the effect on the costs to public sector pension schemes arising from the abolition of payable dividend tax credits. The decision in 1997 to abolish payable dividend tax credits was taken to remove a distortion in the tax system, which had encouraged companies to pay out their profits in dividends, rather than retain them for reinvestment in the business. The measure was part of a wider package of measures designed to improve the climate for long-term investment in the UK.

Taxation: Caravan Sites

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons those who let caravans through caravan sites are allowed to treat their income as trading income. (292362)

In certain circumstances, the activities associated with operating a caravan site may amount to trading.

Legislation allows caravan site proprietors who have both rental income from letting caravans and trading income from running a caravan site, to treat their rental income as a trade receipt.

Taxation: Holiday Accommodation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the reclassification of income from holiday lets as unearned income. (289362)

Income from furnished holiday lettings will not be reclassified. It will continue to be assessed as property income, but after the repeal of the furnished holiday lettings rules it will no longer be treated as trade income for certain tax purposes.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department conducted an assessment of the likely effects on the self-catering tourism industry of changes to the furnished holiday lettings scheme in 2010. (291595)

An Impact Assessment for the changes to the furnished holiday lettings rules will be published at the 2009 pre-Budget report.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is considering steps to mitigate the effects upon landlords of the changes in the furnished holiday letting rules due to take place in April 2010. (291641)

Tax policy changes and related measures are considered through the Budget process in the usual way and in the light of prevailing economic and other circumstances. The Government announced the withdrawal of the furnished holiday lettings scheme from 2010 in Budget 2009 and will be publishing draft legislation for comment alongside the pre-Budget report. An impact assessment will also be published at this time.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what loss relief will be available to those operating commercial furnished holiday letting businesses once the furnished holiday letting rules are repealed. (292361)

After the repeal of the furnished holiday lettings rules, loss relief will be available to those letting furnished holiday accommodation under the property income rules.

In general, individuals may set their losses against other property income they have in the year, or against the future profits of their letting business.

In general, companies will set their losses against income from other sources in the year or future years.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason consultation was not required to be held before the furnished holiday letting rules were repealed; and if he will make a statement. (292364)

The announcement to withdraw the FHL rules was made at Budget 2009 in order to provide a period of notice to those affected, and thus allow them time to plan for the change in tax treatment.

We intend to publish draft legislation and an impact assessment at the 2009 pre-Budget report, and we will be happy to receive comments at that time. The legislation will be in a future Finance Bill.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on compliance of the furnished holiday letting rules with European Union law. (292365)

The Treasury receives representations on a range of issues. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of such representations.

UK Land Investments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the Financial Services Authority's discharge of its responsibilities in winding up UK Land Investments. (292045)

The regulation of Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) as defined in section 235 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 is a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), as the independent regulator.

On 1 April 2008 the FSA applied for a winding up petition against UK Land investments (UKLI) on the basis that: (i) UKLI had carried on and was carrying on a regulated activity in breach of the general prohibition within the meaning of section 367(1) of the Act; (ii) UKLI was unable to pay its debts within the meaning of section 123 of the Insolvency Act 1986; and (iii) it was just and equitable that UKLI should be wound up.

The FSA had previously advised UKLI that its landbanking scheme fell within the definition of a CIS and that the operation of a CIS without authorisation by the FSA amounts to a breach of the general prohibition (section 19 of the Act) and was a criminal offence (section 23 of the Act). The FSA also advised UKLI that the investors who had invested in its scheme to date would be entitled to recover any money paid pursuant to the scheme and/or recover compensation for any loss sustained by them pursuant to section 26 of the Act.

Valuation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Valuation Office Agency receives information on the addition to a dwelling of a conservatory. (290432)

Billing authorities have a statutory duty under section 27(6) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to provide the Valuation Office Agency with any information which they consider would assist in maintaining council tax valuation lists.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many properties in Windsor constituency have been included on the Valuation Office Agency's Automated Valuation Model database. (291870)

The Valuation Office Agency's (VOA's) Automated Valuation Model (AVM) is not a database. It is the technology developed to support the valuation of dwellings. It draws on data held in the VOA's property database, which holds details of individual properties. The VOA has held information on properties for many years in order to maintain up to date valuation lists. All domestic properties appearing in the valuation list for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (60,837 as at 2 September 2009) are on the VOA's property database.

Valuation: Appeals

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what rights of appeal (a) council taxpayers and (b) business ratepayers have in relation to decisions of the Valuation Office Agency. (290417)

Council tax and business ratepayers have the following rights of appeal against decisions made by the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) listing and valuation officers:

In the first instance, a ‘proposal’ may be made to alter the valuation band or rateable value of their property. Further information on how to do this can be found on the VOA’s website at:

For council tax:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/council_tax/can_i_appeal.htm

and on the Scottish Assessors’ website at:

http://www.saa.gov.uk/proposals.html

For business rates:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/business_rates/2005AppealsFAQs.htm

If a taxpayer is not satisfied with the outcome of their proposal, they may subsequently appeal to an independent valuation tribunal. Further details on how to do this can be found at:

For council tax:

http://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/Council_Tax.aspx

For business rates:

http://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/Rating.aspx

If a council taxpayer disagrees with the decision of the valuation tribunal, they may appeal to the High Court on a point of law. Further information is available at:

http://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/Attending_A_Hearing/Your_questions_answered.aspx

If a business ratepayer disagrees with the decision of the valuation tribunal, they may appeal to the Lands Tribunal, further information can be found at:

http://www.landstribunal.gov.uk/index.htm

and

http://www.landstribunal.gov.uk/Documents/ExplanatoryLeafletJune09.pdf

which also sets out the subsequent right of appeal to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.

Council tax or business ratepayers may also be able to seek a Judicial Review, by the Administrative Court, on decisions made by VOA officers. Further information is available at:

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/1220.htm

VAT: Business

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent steps the Government have taken to assist small businesses with payment of value added tax. (291522)

The Government introduced the Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) on 24 November 2008, and extended it at Budget 2009, to help businesses in temporary financial difficulties spread their tax payments over a timetable they can afford. As of 20 September 2009, HM Revenue and Customs have agreed over 200,000 time to pay arrangements through the service.

The Government also provide assistance to small businesses with VAT payments through the VAT cash accounting and VAT annual accounting schemes, designed to help businesses manage their cash flow and to spread their VAT payments evenly.

VAT: Housing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many claims for VAT refunds for self-build housebuilders have been received in relation to (a) new homes and (b) conversions in each year since 1997; and how many claims were accepted in each such year; (292294)

(2) what the total monetary value of VAT refunds for self-build housebuilders has been in relation to (a) new homes and (b) conversions in each year since 1997; and what the total monetary value of accepted claims was in each such year.

Until 2003, VAT refund claims from ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) house builders were handled in local VAT offices, with no central record being kept. In 2003, HM Customs and Excise (as it then was) began transferring claims to a central unit for processing. Processing of DIY claims was not fully transferred from local offices to the central unit until April 2004. That unit maintains statistics for all claims handled, which are provided as follows:

DIY claims by number

New homes

Conversions

Total received

Total accepted and paid

2004

8,665

1,254

9,919

9,396

2005

10,000

1,474

11,474

10,835

2006

9,807

1,291

11,098

10,362

2007

9,763

1,106

10,869

10,170

2008

10,218

1,115

11,333

10,477

2009

7,310

1,076

8,386

6,130

DIY claims by monetary value

£

New homes

Conversions

Total received

Total accepted and paid

2004

58,259,072.85

12,585,831.27

70,844,904.12

60,542,311.76

2005

70,639,058.90

16,617,743.21

87,256,802.11

74,438,595.28

2006

74,540,836.64

14,330,105.80

88,870,942.44

73,901,579.76

2007

86,100,693.64

13,446,336.83

99,547,030.47

84,454,747.06

2008

96,492,046.55

13,993,784.52

110,485,831.07

89,002,942.31

2009

68,560,147.20

14,475,558.17

83,035,705.37

54,378,504.99

The figures for 2009 cover the part year to 6 October.

Wealth

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of total (a) income and (b) wealth was held by the top (i) 10, (ii) 5, (iii) 1, (iv) 0.1 and (v) 0.01 per cent. of the population with the percentage of each in the latest period for which figures are available; how many people were in each such group; and what the average (A) income and (B) wealth of persons in each group was. (292135)

The proportion of total income accounted for by the top 10, 5 and 1 per cent. of UK taxpayers by income can be found in table 2.4 ‘Share of total income (before and after tax) and income tax for percentile groups’, available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/table2-4.pdf

Information on the top 0.1 and 0.01 per cent. of UK taxpayers is not readily available.

The number and average income of taxpayers in each group can be determined from the above together with table 2.5 ‘Income Tax liabilities, by income range’, with reference to the total number of taxpayers and their income stated on this table. This is available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/menu.htm

Estimates for the proportion of wealth held by the top 10, 5 and 1 per cent. of the UK adult population are available up to year 2003 and are published in table 13.5 ‘Personal Wealth—distribution among the adult population of marketable wealth’ at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal_wealth/menu.htm

Information on the proportion of wealth held by the top 0.1 and 0.01 per cent. of UK taxpayers is not available.

The number of UK adults in 2003 was 46 million, from which figure the numbers in the top 10, 5 and 1 per cent. of the population can be calculated.

The average wealth of persons in each group can be calculated by:

Calculating the wealth per group using the proportions in table 13.5 referred to above and the estimate of total marketable wealth published in table 13.4, available at

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal_wealth/table13_5.pdf

and

Dividing by the number of people in each group.

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer from how many residents of Bassetlaw constituency Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has reported repayment of tax credit overpayments; and what is the sum of the overpayments outstanding. (292034)

Information about the number of residents of Bassetlaw constituency who have repaid a tax credit overpayment, and the sum of overpayments outstanding, is only available at disproportionate cost.

Estimates of the number of families with tax credit awards, including information on the annual number and value of tax credits overpaid and underpaid by parliamentary constituency, is available in the HM Revenue and Customs publications "Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Supplement on Payments. Geographical Analyses". These publications are available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

Working Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on the childcare element of the working tax credit in each quarter of the last five years for which figures are available. (290399)

Table 2.4 of the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics Finalised Awards” for the years 2003-04 to 2007-08, provides information on the estimated expenditure on the child care element. This is shown in the following table.

The same table contains estimates of the average help with child care costs these families received in each relevant year. This information is not available on a quarterly basis.

Child care element expenditure (£ million)

Average help with child care costs per week (£)

2003-04

613

43.58

2004-05

706

44.29

2005-06

858

48.45

2006-07

1,179

58.97

2007-08

1,364

63.17

Culture, Media and Sport

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether there have been discussions between officials of his Department and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on (a) wild animals in travelling circuses and (b) the welfare of racing greyhounds in the last 12 months. (290437)

There have been no discussions between officials in my Department and DEFRA on wild animals travelling in circuses. My Department has no responsibility for welfare of racing greyhounds, this is a matter for DEFRA. However, my officials have discussed the welfare of racing greyhounds with DEFRA officials during the last 12 months. This was in the context of the recent DEFRA consultation on the proposed introduction of regulations to promote the welfare of racing greyhounds, to be made under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Arts

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect on the creative arts in the regions of the abolition of the regional structure of the Arts Council; and if he will make a statement. (292415)

The re-organisation of the regional structure of Arts Council England is primarily an operational matter for the Arts Council to determine. So it is not a matter on which the Secretary of State should make an assessment but he is aware of the improvements in efficiency the new structure is designed to deliver, which he supports.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he had with regional Ministers before abolishing (a) the regional structure of the Arts Council and (b) the regional offices of the Libraries, Museums and Archives Service. (292425)

Decisions on the regional structure of the Arts Council England (ACE) and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council’s (MLA) are primarily operational matters for the bodies in question. The Secretary of State has not specifically discussed these matters with regional Ministers.

Ashes 2009: Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many Ministers in his Department have accepted complimentary tickets to Test matches in the 2009 Ashes series. (289361)

Coastal Areas: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to announce details of Wave 3 of the Sea Change funding programme. (290061)

Conservation Areas: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether he has discussed with English Heritage the establishment of a policy on the use of household wheeled refuse containers in conservation areas. (290462)

I have had no discussions with English Heritage about the establishment of a policy on the use of household wheeled refuse containers in conservation areas. I understand that English Heritage has no plans to establish such a policy, but that it has provided advice on this issue to local authorities, local civic societies and DCMS and other Government Departments when requested.

Cricket

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many registered community amateur cricket clubs there were in each region in each of the last 10 years. (289360)

Sport England has advised that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) does not hold details of how many registered community amateur cricket clubs there were in each region in each of the last 10 years.

However, the ECB holds details of the number of community amateur cricket clubs registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) since CASC status was established in 20021.

1 From 2004 publication of collated data changed from November to May of each year.

Registered cricket clubs

Number

November 2002

25

November 2003

103

May 2004

314

May 2005

587

May 2006

758

May 2007

842

May 2008

953

May 2009

1,032

Departmental Electronic Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) mobile telephones, (b) Blackberrys and (c) laptop computers issued to staff of his Department in the last 12 months were issued to (i) new staff and (ii) existing staff following the (A) loss or (B) theft of a previous device. (290541)

My Department has issued five devices following theft or loss as shown in the following table:

(A) Loss(B) Theft

New staff

Existing staff

New staff

Existing staff

(a) Mobile Phone

0

1

0

0

(b) Blackberry

0

1

0

2

(c) Laptop Computer

0

1

0

0

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 1069W, on departmental marketing, how many staff in his Department are responsible for branding activity; and what the cost of employing such staff was in 2008-09. (290294)

Brand activity is spread across the Department’s corporate communications team. The estimated time spent on brand activity was 1.0 full-time equivalent. The staff cost was £45,432.50.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 11 May 2009, Official Report, column 496W, on departmental pay, who the employers are who are paying less than £7.45 an hour for work contracted out by his Department; what the nature of the work undertaken on each contract is; how many staff at each (a) payband and (b) location are working on each such contract; what the duration of each contract is; and what union recognition agreements are in place with each contractor. (285512)

[holding answer 9 July 2009]: All work contracted out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is undertaken at its central offices in London.

Supplier

Nature of work

Payband

Number of staff

Duration of contract

Union recognition

Baxter Storey Ltd.

Front of house and catering

Supervisors—£7.06 per hour

4

30 September 2009

Employees are not associated with any trade union

Commis Chefs—£6.50 per hour

Hospitality hosts—£6.68 per hour

Kitchen assistants—£6.00 per hour

MITIE Facilities Management

Cleaning

Day janitors—£7.39 per hour

10

30 September 2009

MITIE recognises any official union their employees choose to join

Out of hours supervisors—£7.00 per hour

Out of hours cleaners—£6.09 per hour

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which Minister in his Department has been assigned responsibility for overseeing the delivery of value for money in his Department; whether his Department has established a public sector reform team to implement service reforms; and if he will make a statement. (289744)

The Minister for Creative Industries, my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Simon), has been appointed to the task of overseeing the delivery of value for money in the Department.

The Department does not currently have a public sector reform team.

Departmental Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what data his Department holds on the level of diversity in its recruitment of employees in each of the last three years. (290504)

The Department currently holds information on its work force database for recruitment for all seven equality strands: gender, gender identity, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion and belief and disability. Prior to 2007, the Department monitored on four equality strands: gender, age, disability and ethnicity.

Digital Broadcasting: Radio

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with overseas radio broadcasters whose signals are received in the UK on access to such services after radio digital switchover. (289363)

The Digital Radio Upgrade programme will affect only services licensed, and using frequencies allocated for use, in the UK. We recognise that some parts of the UK have access to overseas services; however, these are the result of overspill rather than the intended coverage. There is no legal right for consumer access to these services, which are under the jurisdiction of the relevant overseas authority. Accordingly, I have not had any discussions with overseas radio broadcasters whose signals can be received in the UK.

Entertainment: Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether there have been any recent discussions between officials of his Department and representatives of the film and television industry on the effectiveness of regulations on the use of animals in the film and television industry; and if he will review his Department's recommendations on the use of animals in the entertainment industry. (290339)

There have been no recent discussions with representatives of the film and television industry on the effectiveness of regulations on the use of animals in the film and television industry.

We last addressed this matter in 2008 when a meeting with stakeholders (including RSPCA) looked at the issue of animal welfare in the film and television industries and determined that there was not a welfare problem. It was concluded that new Government regulation would not be considered.

I have no plans to review the regulations on the use of animals in the film and television industry.

Gaming Machines: Taxation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer prior to Budget 2009 on changes to the tax treatment of amusement machines from Amusement Machine Licence Duty to Gross Profits Tax. (289498)

Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State nor his predecessor had discussions with HM Treasury Ministers about the change to Gross Profits Tax for amusement machines. The matter has been the subject of discussions between the Department and HM Treasury at official level since the budget.

Licensed Premises: Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many premises in (a) Hemel Hempstead constituency, (b) Dacorum and (c) Hertfordshire have had their licence to sell alcohol taken away since the implementation of the Licensing Act of 2003. (289425)

Under the Licensing Act 2003, premises licences and club premises certificates are not always confined to the authorised sale or supply of alcohol; they also can provide regulated entertainment and/or late night refreshment.

The first DCMS statistical bulletin on alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment, under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003, was published on 8 November 2007. This shows that, between April 2006 and March 2007, there were no completed reviews in the Dacorum licensing authority area (which covers Hemel Hempstead) and consequently no revocations. For the county of Hertfordshire as a whole, there were 13 completed reviews which resulted in 10 premises licences or club premises certificates having other conditions added or modified, two premises licences or club premises certificates being suspended and one premises licences revoked or club premises certificate withdrawn.

The second statistical bulletin, published on 30 October 2008 and covering the period between April 2007 and March 2008, shows that there were three completed reviews in the Dacorum licensing authority area which resulted in added or modified conditions to the premises licence or club premises certificates. For Hertfordshire as a whole, there were 19 completed reviews for this period which resulted in two premises licenses or club premises certificates being suspended and two premises licences being revoked or club premises certificates being withdrawn.

Since 6 April 2007, a premises licence can be suspended by a court under section 147B(1) of the Licensing Act 2003 (as amended by the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) for the sale or supply of alcohol, following an offence of persistently selling to under-age children. No premises licenses or club premises certificates have been suspended on these grounds in Hertfordshire county for the most recent statistical bulletin period.

Licensing Act 2003

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to undertake a review of the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003. (291723)

None. The Licensing Act 2003 came fully into force on 24 November 2005. On 4 March 2008, Official Report, columns 102-105WS, the then Secretary of State made a written statement announcing the completion and publication of his evaluation of the implementation of the Act. A copy of the full evaluation was also then placed in the Library of the House. The main elements of the evaluation included:

Scrutiny Councils Initiative: a final report was issued in July 2006 and an update published in 2008;

Independent Fees Panel Report: published on 25 January 2007;

Review of the Statutory Guidance: revised Guidance issued on 28 June 2007;

Live Music Forum Report: published 3 July 2007;

Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Statistical Bulletin: published on 8 November 2007;

DCMS Simplification Plan: the 2nd Simplification Plan was published on 4 December 2007;

Closing times data commissioned by DCMS from CGA Strategy Ltd to analyse actual Saturday closing times-published on 4 March 2008; and

Home Office Report on the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on levels of crime and disorder: published on 4 March 2008.

The Department continues to monitor the impact of the 2003 Act.

Monuments: Preservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funds his Department makes available for preservation of war memorials. (292381)

The Memorials Grant Scheme is administered by DCMS and operates UK-wide. It gives grants equivalent to the VAT incurred by charities and faith groups to establish or repair public memorial structures. It is not possible to say how much funding has been disbursed specifically to support war memorials, but the scheme has given grants worth almost £1.5 million in England since 2005, of which over £1.1 million has helped to establish the Armed Forces Memorial.

English Heritage is the Government-sponsored body responsible for protecting and promoting England’s spectacular historic environment and ensuring that its past is researched and understood. Accordingly, English Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation, in association with the War Memorials Trust, provide further grants for the repair and conservation of free-standing war memorials in England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what statutory powers he has in respect of the protection of war memorials in the UK. (292382)

There are estimated to be more than 60,000 war memorials throughout the United Kingdom. Statutory designation through listing is the route by which war memorials can be protected as structures of special architectural or historic interest. Where a war memorial is listed or forms part of a listed building, the Secretary of State has the power to undertake urgent works or ultimately to compulsorily purchase it if proper steps are not being taken to preserve it. These powers fall in the first instance to local authorities. Any works to memorials that are listed buildings would require the relevant consent.

Olympic Games 2012: Developing Countries

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent on the International Inspiration programme to date; and where that money has been spent. (288085)

[holding answer 20 July 2009]: I have been asked to reply as Minister for the Olympics.

The International Inspiration programme is operating in Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Palau, Zambia, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Jordan and Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa, with scoping visits having taken place in Ghana, Nigeria and Malaysia.

The total expenditure since the start of the programme in October 2007 until March 2009 has been £7,681,541.

Sports: Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to increase participation rates in sport among young people in (a) North West Cambridgeshire constituency, (b) Cambridgeshire, (c) Peterborough, (d) the East of England and (e) England; and if he will make a statement. (289240)

We are not able to break down all investment in sport for young people to a local level. However, from 2008 to 2011 the Government are investing £783 million through the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP), building on the achievements of the previous national strategy and £1.5 billion invested between 2003-08.

We have expanded our ambition for PE and sport. As part of our Olympic Legacy promises, we want to create a world-class system for PE and sport in England and ensure every child has access to five hours of PE and sport per week, with three hours for 16 to 19-year-olds.

The Sport Unlimited programme (being delivered through the County Sport Partnership network) will target 900,000 semi-sporty young people by 2011 and provide a greater range of attractive and sustainable activities based on what young people want. It aims to reach 9,570 young people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and 101,789 young people in the East of England.

In addition Sport England has a target of getting 1 million people doing more sport by 2012-13, which includes those aged 16 to 25. National governing bodies of sport (NGBs) are placed at the heart of Sport England’s strategy as it is their networks of community clubs, coaches, officials and volunteers that will drive delivery. NGBs have just been awarded £480 million over the next four years to deliver their plans to grow and sustain participation and nurture those with sporting talent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to increase participation rates in sport among young people in (a) Hemel Hempstead constituency, (b) Dacorum, (c) Hertfordshire, (d) the South East of England and (e) England; and if he will make a statement. (290307)

We are not able to break down all investment in sport for young people to a local level. However, from 2008 to 2011 the Government are investing £783 million through the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP), building on the achievements of the previous national strategy and £1.5 billion invested between 2003-08.

We have expanded our ambition for PE and sport. As part of our Olympic Legacy promises, we want to create a world-class system for PE and sport in England and ensure every child has access to five hours of PE and sport per week, with three hours for 16 to 19-year-olds.

The Sport Unlimited programme (being delivered through the County Sport Partnership network) will target 900,000 semi-sporty young people by 2011 and provide a greater range of attractive and sustainable activities based on what young people want. It aims to reach 22,968 young people in Hertfordshire and 129,105 young people in the South East.

In addition Sport England has a target of getting 1 million people doing more sport by 2012-13, which includes those aged 16 to 25. National governing bodies of sport (NGBs) are placed at the heart of Sport England’s strategy as it is their networks of community clubs, coaches, officials and volunteers that will drive delivery. NGBs have just been awarded £480 million over the next four years to deliver their plans to grow and sustain participation and nurture those with sporting talent.

Swimming: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding his Department plans to allocate to local authorities for the free swimming programme in each of the next five years. (289245)

£140 million has been allocated to local authorities to support the free swimming programme over the next two years; discussions will take place to decide funding of the free swimming programme beyond 2011.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria his Department uses to determine the amount of funding awarded to each local authority for the free swimming programme. (289247)

The funding for the free swimming programme for those aged 60 or over and 16 or under has been provided according to a formula based on the size of the local populations of those age groups in those local authorities who choose to opt into the scheme.

The capital reward funding for modernising pool provision payments was based on the total local population, using the latest mid-2006 census statistics.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many local authorities have opted into his Department's free swimming initiative. (289248)

259 local authorities in England have opted into the free swimming programme for those aged 60 and over; 190 local authorities in England have agreed to take part in both the aged 60 and over and 16 and under elements of the free swimming programme.

Swimming: Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) young and (b) elderly people who have participated in his Department's free swimming scheme in each Lancashire constituency in the last six months. (286792)

We are closely monitoring the number of free swims that have taken place in both the 16 and under, and the 60 and over, elements of the free swimming programme and will publish the results shortly.

Television: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many reminder letters were sent by TV Licensing to (a) residential and (b) commercial addresses in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Rochford and Southend East constituency in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of these which relate to premises at which there is no means of receiving television programmes. (291389)

[holding answer 16 September 2009]: This is a matter for the BBC and my Department does not hold this information. According to figures provided by the BBC, however, the number of reminder letters sent to residential and commercial addresses in England and Wales between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009 is as follows:

Number

Residential addresses

6,133,098

Commercial addresses

140,785

The BBC is unable to provide figures relating to Rochford and Southend, East constituencies as the BBC does not collect information by constituency area.

The BBC does not estimate the proportion of premises which do not have the means of receiving TV programmes. Instead, the BBC relies on individuals informing them that they do not require a licence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many pensioners resident in Bolton received a free television licence on the grounds that they are over the age of 75 years. (291642)

I understand from the BBC that as at March 2009, the number of people in receipt of a free over 75 licence, where Bolton was listed as the postal town in which they lived, was 14,876. Please note that this does not cover all other towns/villages in the Bolton postcode area, but only those addresses where Bolton is listed as the postal town. It is also important to note that the number of free over 75 licences will not correspond directly to the number of over 75 residents in Bolton, as only one licence is needed per household.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the report Digital Britain: Attitudes to supporting non-BBC regional news from the TV licence fee cost to produce; and how much was paid to TNS-BMRB to carry out the polling in the report. (292152)

The report Digital Britain: Attitudes to supporting non-BBC regional news from the TV licence fee was produced by TNS-BMRB to reflect and analyse the results of the polling contained within the report—this was one single piece of work for which they received one single commissioning and one single payment.

Following competitive tendering, TNS-BMRB were awarded the contract worth £61,340 excluding VAT, which included reporting.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Pollution: Monitoring

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on monitoring air pollution in the latest year for which figures are available. (290260)

In the financial year 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009, DEFRA spent £6,087,839 on monitoring air pollution, spread across 15 separate outsourced contracts. This addressed both the levels of pollutants in the air and their deposition either in the “dry” form or in rain. Breaking this figure down further:

£4,767,407 was spent on monitoring with the primary purpose of meeting the mandatory requirements of European legislation;

an additional £882,854 was spent on monitoring with the primary purpose of meeting other international obligations, either at EU or United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) level; and

£437,578 was spent on monitoring to provide additional information necessary to the development of air pollution policy in the UK.

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of animals which have died as a result of being left in cars in hot weather in each of the last five years. (290304)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will review the penalties for those convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to animals. (290358)

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is due to undergo a review of its effectiveness since it came into force in April 2007. As part of that review we will look at whether there is a need to increase the penalties.