Previous Section Index Home Page

15 Jun 2005 : Column 388W—continued

Social Behaviour

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will establish a Royal Commission to develop a long-term strategy on improving and promoting social behaviour and reducing antisocial behaviour. [2869]

The Prime Minister: No. The Government have a wide-ranging strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour. During this Parliament, we will step this up by driving through cultural change in local communities, especially in deprived areas. This will be a Government-wide programme led by the Home Office, with the active support of a number of Government Departments. I will also chair the Cabinet Committee on antisocial behaviour in order to take this agenda forward and consider what further actions need to be taken.

TREASURY

Business Taxes

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to maximise collection of taxes and revenues from businesses. [2937]

Dawn Primarolo: To assist business customers in payment of taxes and revenues the Department offers a wide range of help and advice to businesses through its 'Large Business' and 'Small and Medium Enterprises' units. The Department then offers a wide range of
 
15 Jun 2005 : Column 389W
 
options to make it as easy as possible for payments to be made promptly and on time. This includes encouraging customers to pay electronically and to this end a flexible range of e-payment methods is available to business customers.

Several methods are also available to encourage future compliance and to secure payment from the non-compliant, for example legal proceedings through the courts.

Child Trust Fund

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the rate of take-up to date of the Child Trust Fund; what plans he has to increase take-up; and what estimates he has made of future take-ups. [4538]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 6 June 2005, Official Report, columns 286–87W. Although it is still very early days for the Child Trust Fund, I am encouraged that parents have seized the initiative on savings. Nearly one third of vouchers have already been used. It is in the interests of children that parents use the Child Trust Fund voucher to open a Child Trust Fund account as soon as they feel ready to do so. The sooner vouchers are invested, the sooner Child Trust Fund accounts can start to grow. Child Trust Fund advertising on television, radio, online and in national and consumer press will resume on 1 July 2005.

Civil Servants

Mr. Gale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil service posts have been transferred from London to deprived areas of the South East in the past 12 months; how many posts are under consideration for such transfer; and if he will make a statement. [3930]

Mr. Des Browne: The Government are relocating posts out of London and the South East in accordance with Sir Michael Lyons' recommendations. However, the Lyons Review recognised that in some circumstances departments might be able to make strong business cases for relocating from London to deprived parts of the South East. Twenty-two posts either have transferred or are under consideration for transfer from London to deprived areas of the South East. It is for individual departments to decide on relocation destinations, according to their business needs and taking account of published guidance which promotes consideration of deprived areas, and comprehensive information is not maintained centrally on locations being considered by departments.

Council Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many council tax valuations the Valuation Office Agency have made in England in each year since 1997. [4318]

Dawn Primarolo: In the course of maintaining the council tax valuation lists in England, and excluding cases where no action has been taken, the Valuation Office Agency has made new or altered bandings as follows:
 
15 Jun 2005 : Column 390W
 

£
1997–98388,239
1998–99357,403
1999–2000355,825
2000–01338,566
2001–02330,379
2002–03345,552
2003–04351,245
2004–05370,019

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the number of appeals against council tax valuations in England for each year since 1997. [4320]

Dawn Primarolo: In the course of maintaining valuation lists in England the Valuation Office Agency has received the following number of valid council tax appeals:
£
1997–9871,848
1998–9956,420
1999–200045,368
2000–0141,093
2001–0233,490
2002–0330,252
2003–0428,275
2004–0528,470

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the council tax band of the residences of (a) the Prime Minister and (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Downing street. [4317]

Dawn Primarolo: The council tax band of the residences of (a) the Prime Minister and (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Downing street, are publicly available in the Council Tax Valuation List. These can be accessed, online, via the Valuation Office Agency's website, www.voa.gov.uk.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency will have powers to enter residential premises when inspecting them during the forthcoming council tax revaluation process in England. [4174]

Dawn Primarolo: It is a function of the listing officers, throughout the Valuation Office Agency, to carry out valuations for the purposes of compiling the new lists on 1 April 2007. Section 26(1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 provides power of entry for inspection, subject to the requirements of section 26(2) and 26 (3), to provide written notice and production of authorisation.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency will take into account the (a) number of bathrooms, (b) number of bedrooms, (c) floor area, (d) age of the property, (e) off-street parking, (f) out-buildings, (g) conservatories and (h) size of garden when valuing a residence in the forthcoming council tax revaluation process in England. [4231]


 
15 Jun 2005 : Column 391W
 

Dawn Primarolo: It is the intention of the Valuation Office Agency, when assigning dwellings to bands for the forthcoming council tax revaluation, to reflect a number of property attributes, including all those referred to, where a value significance can be established.

Flat Tax

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what studies his Department has conducted or commissioned about a 'flat tax' for (a) personal taxesand (b) business taxes; and if he will make a statement. [4535]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government actively monitors the international developments in taxation, including the countries that have introduced 'flat tax' regimes. The Government have not conducted or commissioned studies on the introduction of a 'flat tax' in the UK.

Game Rearing Farms

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many game rearing farms are registered as valued for non-domestic rates with the Valuation Office Agency in (a) England and (b) Wales. [4520]

Dawn Primarolo: As at 9 June 2005 there are 128 game rearing farms listed in the 2005 rating lists. These are available on the Valuation Office Agency's website at www.voa.gov.uk , of which (a) 120 are in England and (b) eight are in Wales.

Hard-working families

John Hemming: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his definition is of a hard-working family. [3755]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government are committed to supporting families who work hard to balance their work and family commitments looking after children and their dependents. That is why we are increasing financial support for families through tax credits, extending paid maternity leave, taking action to improve the quality, availability and affordability of child care, and helping record numbers of people into employment.


Next Section Index Home Page