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10 Oct 2005 : Column 298W—continued

Rail Employment

Edward Miliband: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are employed in the rail sector in Doncaster, North. [15104]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Edward Miliband, dated 10 October 2005:

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Refurbishment Projects

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the refurbishment projects in his Department that (a) are in progress and (b) will start in the next six months; what action is being taken to ensure that these will procure timber from legal and sustainable sources; and whether guidance will be issued to contractors on each of these projects ensuring that the timber used on site during refurbishment comes from legal and sustainable sources. [15794]

John Healey: The Treasury has no refurbishment projects in progress or due to start in the next six months.

Saulet & Co.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Land Transfer Returns Certificates will be issued for the balance of development no.401908146MZ, which Saulet & Company applied for on 25 May 2005. [16494]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: HM Revenue and Customs is statutorily debarred from disclosing publicly information relating to the tax affairs of individuals or public and private sector bodies. I have, however, written to the hon. Gentleman about the issue of the certificates concerned.

Scottish Constituencies

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his policy to provide statistics relating to Scottish constituencies in terms of (a) Westminster and (b) Scottish Parliament boundaries. [15642]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.
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Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Stewart Hosie, dated 10 October 2005:

Security Contracts

Mr. Henderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent by his Department and public bodies and agencies for which he is responsible on security contracts with Group 4 Securicor in 2004–05; and if he will list (a) the nature and location of services provided and (b) the start and end dates of such contracts. [R] [13525]

John Healey: HM Revenue and Customs and the Office of Government Commerce have contracts with Group 4 Securicor, the details of which are shown in the following table. None of the other public bodies for which the Chancellor is responsible (that is, HM Treasury, the Royal Mint, National Savings and Investments, Office for National Statistics, Government Actuary's Department, Valuation Office Agency, Debt Management Office, and the Statistics Commission) have had contracts with Group 4 Securicor in the past financial year. In some cases, their contractors may have subcontracted certain services to Group 4 Securicor, but in such arrangements, the costs, the services provided and the subcontract start and end dates are matters for the main contractors.

Name of body


Nature of services provided

Contract start date

Contract end date
Amount spent in 2004–05 (£000)
HMRCNewcastleManned guarding at HMRC Newcastle Estate1996–97October 2004
UK wideCash handling1 April 200431 March 2006
OGCLeedsKeyholding and call-out response30 June 200431 March 2006
Security, receptionists1 April 200430 November 2005 1/2
Access control1 April 200431 March 2006 1/2
EdinburghKeyholding and call-out response1 November 200331 March 2006 1/2
NorwichAccess control, CCTV1 April 200131 March 2006257
Security, receptionists, reprographics, post room, handyman, porterage1 December 200030 November 2005 1/2
LondonAccess control; CCTV1 April 200231 March 2006

Solar Energy

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce tax incentives for the installation of solar energy capacity in domestic dwellings; and if he will make a statement. [16587]

John Healey: The Government recognise the important contribution that renewable energy will make to its energy policy objectives. Accordingly, the Government have announced significant support for renewable and low carbon energy sources comprising capital grants and support for research and development
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totalling some £500 million. It has also introduced the Renewables Obligation which ensures all electricity suppliers produce a specified and increasing amount of energy from renewable sources. The Renewables Obligation is expected to be worth £1 billion a year to the industry by 2010. Within this context, over £20 million of Government funding have been allocated since 2002 under the Solar Photovoltaic Major Demonstration Programme to medium and large scale solar projects, with the Minister for Energy recently announcing funding of £1.5 million for 18 new solar installations across the UK.

All consideration of fiscal measures is carried out as part of the Budget process.

Stamp Duty

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average level of stamp duty charged on a Right-to-Buy council property is. [15243]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The latest available data are for 2003–04 and relates to the average (interpreted as the mean) price for sales of Right-to-Buy council properties in England. The estimated mean price for the sale of a Right-to-Buy (RTB) property is £43,000, which would mean there being no Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the sale of a property selling for that price. However the mean SDLT payable would not be zero if there were RTB properties which sold for more than the SDLT threshold (£60,000 in 2003–04). An estimate for the mean SDLT payable is not available although the median SDLT payable will be zero.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent (a) representations he has received from and (b) meetings he has had with (i) the Law Society Stamp Duty Complaints Group and (ii)others concerning complaints about stamp duty; what initiatives he has implemented as a result; and if he will make a statement. [16491]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Senior officials from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have had regular meetings with the President and members of both the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Scotland to discuss all aspects of Stamp Duty Land Tax, including complaints. HMRC have launched a number of initiatives, including a review of the reasons why land transaction returns are rejected. The results of this review have been shared with the representative bodies and details are available on the Stamp Taxes website at:

HMRC Stamp Taxes are seeking to work very closely with key customers and stakeholders to improve the administration of Stamp Duty Land Tax wherever possible.

In a statement issued on 7 September 2005 by the Law Society, Kevin Martin, President of the Law Society said:

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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints he has received about the Stamp Duty Office in each quarter since 1 December 2003. [16492]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information from April 2004 is given in the table. Earlier information is not available.
Quarter endingNumber
June 200422
September 200418
December 200420
March 200538
June 200572
September 200561

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Stamp Duty submissions are waiting to be processed at the (a) Manchester and (b) Newcastle offices; and what plans he has to improve the service. [16493]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The following table shows the items on hand in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office at Newcastle at the start of Monday 3 October.

The SDLT 1 is the land transaction return.

The SDLT 2 is a supplementary form required where there are more than two vendors or purchasers for a transaction.

The SDLT 3 is a supplementary form where additional information is required to identify the relevant property or the transaction involves more than one property.

The SDLT 4 is a supplementary form where additional information is required about the transaction, for example, the purchaser is a company, the interest purchased is non-residential, or in some lease transactions.

The SDLT 5 is the certificate issued when the land transaction return has been completed correctly and any tax due has been paid. The work on hand refers to cases where a duplicate certificate has been requested by the purchaser or their solicitor.

The SDLT 8 is issued where information on the land transaction return is missing or unclear or there is contradictory information.
SDLT 2, SDLT 3 and SDLT 4545
SDLT 5386
SDLT 8174

This represents approximately one day's work.

The HMRC office at Manchester had 616 letters on hand regarding penalty appeals on Monday 3 October. HMRC will continue to keep their resources under review.

Since 26 August, it has been possible to file SDLT returns on-line directly into the SDLT automated system. Using this service removes the need to use post,
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and (because of the in-built checks) has a very high probability of returns being correct 'first time' and results in an instant acknowledgement that the return has been accepted. HMRC is working with representative bodies to encourage the use of the service.

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