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(a) The calculation of the business rate multiplier is laid down in the Local Government Finance Act 1988. It rises with inflation based on the Retail Price Index (RPI) of September except in a revaluation year when it is re-based to take into account of the overall rise in rateable value arising from the revaluation.
The multiplier for 200506 includes an uplift to pay for the small business rate relief scheme. Ratepayers that meet the small business rate relief criteria have a lower multiplier of 41.5p used to calculate their rate bill.
|Rural rate relief||1997||2000||2005|
|General stores and post offices (Mandatory)||5,000||6,000||7,000|
|Petrol stations and public houses (Mandatory)||n/a||9,000||10,500|
|Other businesses (Mandatory)||n/a||6,000||7,000|
|Discretionary rural rate relief||10,000||12,000||14,000|
Qualifying properties below £5,000 will get 50 per cent. rate relief and this will decrease on a sliding scale of 1 per cent. for every £100 up to £9,999. Qualifying properties with a RV from £5,000 to £9,999 will have their rate bills calculated using the small business non-domestic rating multiplier.
Qualifying properties with an RV from £10,000 to £14,999 outside London and from £10,000 to £21,499 within London will have the small business non-domestic rating multiplier applied to the calculation of their bill.
David Davis: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of official departmental Christmas cards included a contribution to charity in their cost; and which charities benefited from such a contribution. 
It is the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's policy to send mail by second class post where ever possible. 3,500 official Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Christmas cards were sent in 2003 and 2004. The cost of postage is not recorded separately but is estimated at current Royal Mail prices to be in the region of 735. All expenditure incurred in the purchase of official Christmas cards is made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.
21 Dec 2004 : Column 1558W
Phil Hope: The cost of purchasing official Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Christmas cards in 2003 was £3,091.58 + VAT and £3,180 + VAT in 2004. A proportion of this cost (25 pence per card) is donated to charity. All expenditure incurred in the purchase of official Christmas cards is made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.
Mr. Raynsford: Non-payment of council tax is not a criminal offence. If the appropriate reminder notices have been sent and a debt remains unpaid, a local billing authority may apply to the Magistrates court for a Liability Order which formally establishes that there is a debt. The Liability Order enables enforcement action to be taken.
The Government do not collect council tax enforcement statistics. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy does collect statistics from information supplied by some local authorities. However, these figures are not broken down by age group.
|Region||Staff (full-time equivalents)|
|East of England: six control rooms|
|East Midlands: five control rooms|
|London: one control room|
|North East: four control rooms|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||40|
|North West: five control rooms|
|South East: nine control rooms|
|Newport (Isle of Wight)||12|
|South West: seven control rooms|
|Clyst St. George, Exeter||31|
|Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton||19|
|West Midlands: five control rooms|
|Royal Leamington Spa||18|
|Yorkshire and the Humber: four control rooms|
|Kingston upon Hull||28|
|Birkenshaw, West Yorkshire||51|
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what systems he has put in place to monitor the impact on the performance of fire control services of the proposed transition from the existing control room structure to a structure of nine regional control rooms for the whole of England. 
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will be putting in place a standard set of performance measures appropriate to the fire and rescue control service, well in advance of the first regional control centre going live. These will be used to measure consistently the performance of current control rooms, and will provide a baseline for the performance of the regional control centres.
21 Dec 2004 : Column 1560W
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he took to publicise the meeting held in Oxford on Friday 12 November on regional fire control centres; how many people attended that meeting; what the total cost of organising, conducting and publicising the meeting was; and which fire and rescue authorities were represented. 
Mr. Raynsford: The meeting in question was held on Thursday 11 November in Oxford Town Hall. It was announced at the meeting of the Oxfordshire county Council scrutiny committee on 25 October. Additionally the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister issued a press statement to all local media. I mentioned the meeting in an interview with the Oxford Mail a couple of days prior to the meeting. All MPs and councillors in Oxfordshire (both Country and District) were written to informing them of the meeting as were members of the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and other key stakeholders.
The meeting was attended by around 50 people. Excluding staff time the total cost of organising, conducting and publicising the meeting was approximately £700. The meeting only covered one Fire and Rescue Authority.
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