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Ascension Island

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in his discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on future funding arrangements for Ascension Island. (295620)

The decision by the Ascension Island Government to remove a variation in the Ministry of Defence's annual property tax liability, which had the effect of almost doubling the amount, is currently being disputed. The MOD, therefore, has not paid this new tax liability in full.

Discussions are ongoing in order to seek an agreement that is fair and equitable, and assurance that the services received from the Ascension Island Government represent best value for money. The Ascension Island Council has commissioned an HMRC-led study, supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, into tax arrangements on Ascension Island. The Ministry of Defence is being consulted as part of this study.