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30 Nov 2005 : Column 516W—continued

Freedom of Information

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Freedom of Information applications his Department has received; how many have taken more than 20 days to process; and how many of these gave rise to complaints about the time taken. [31220]

John Healey: The Department for Constitutional Affairs is committed to publishing quarterly updates in relation to departmental performance under FOI, including information on both the volume and outcomes of requests. The bulletin for the second quarter was published on 30 September 2005 and can be found on the DCA website at and in the Libraries of both Houses. The next bulletin will be published before Christmas, while an annual report will be published in early 2006. To the period to end June 2005 the Treasury has received one procedural review on grounds of late response.

Business Mileage Allowance

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to re-evaluate the business mileage allowance tax scheme. [33427]

Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor keeps the statutory tax free mileage allowance rates under review and considers changes in the context of the Budget and pre-Budget report statements.


Dr. Pugh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what changes (a) have been made and (b) are due to be made in the taxation of biofuels; [32342]

(2) what changes (a) have been made and (b) are due to be made in the taxation of red diesel. [32343]

John Healey: Duty rates for all fuels are reviewed annually as part of the Budget process. The following table sets out duty rates for rebated gas oil (red diesel) and biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel) since 1997.
Date of rate changeGas oil (red diesel)BiodieselBioethanolBiodiesel used off-road
2 July 19972.58
17 March 19982.82
9 March 19993.03
21 March 20003.13
26 July 200225.823.13
9 April 20034.22
1 October 200327.10
3 December 20045.22
1 January 200527.10

All duty rates listed are given in terms of pence per litre. Before the introduction of biodiesel rates in 2002, biodiesel was liable at the ultra low sulphur diesel rate and biodiesel used off-road was liable at the same rate as red diesel. Before the introduction of a separate bioethanol rate in 2005 bioethanol was liable at the same rate as ultra-low sulphur petrol.

30 Nov 2005 : Column 517W

Budget Reports (Chart B6)

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the calculations and background statistics used in the compilation of Chart B6 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report of March 2005, HC 372, showing business investment relative to gross domestic product. [32670]

John Healey: The data sources for Chart B6 of the 2005 Financial Statement and Budget Report (FSBR) are available on the HM Treasury website, in a document entitled Budget 2005: data sources"

( The workings behind Chart B6 are set out after the chart on page 233 of the 2005 FSBR.

Child Trust Fund

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Child Trust Fund vouchers had been (a) issued and (b) invested as at 20 November; and if he will make a statement. [31239]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The latest quarterly Child Trust Fund statistics were published this morning at

These are the third set of statistics to be published under our schedule.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the qualitative experiences of those receiving the new tax credits. [13874]

30 Nov 2005 : Column 518W

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have, and will continue to, monitor all aspects of the operation of the tax credits system. Where appropriate this will include the commissioning of research.

Departmental Relocation

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which buildings and sites used by his Department and related agencies (a) have ceased to be used in the last year and (b) will be closed under current plans for relocation. [31751]

Dawn Primarolo: The following Departments and agencies have not ceased to use any buildings or sites within the last year and do not have any plans to do so:

However, will no longer have a permanent staff presence situated within London with effect from 31 September 2006. 20 posts will be relocated to Liverpool and a further eight posts will be re-classified as 'home based' workers. As a consequence, will vacate its offices in 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

51 buildings and sites used by HMRC and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) have ceased to be used in the last year. These are as follows:
Building nameTownValuation date
East Midlands Airport KennelsNr Castle Donnington3 November 2004
Portacabins, FalmouthFalmouth20 November 2004
Crown BuildingsChester Le Street15 December 2004
Unit 8 Orchard Trading EstateManchester24 December 2004
ContainerbaseCoatbridge13 January 2005
Dog KennelsPlymouth20 January 2005
Swinson House (Unit 5)York30 January 2005
Chesterfield HouseWembley31 January 2005
Building 109 Beverly RoadNr Castle Donnington1 February 2005
Crown HouseHitchin5 February 2005
Unicorn HouseLondon10 February 2005
Trinity Park HouseEdinburgh11 February 2005
Princess HouseBarnstaple27 February 2005
Cumberland HouseBirmingham28 February 2005
WhitehallShrewsbury4 March 2005
Woburn PlaceLondon24 March 2005
Cater HouseChelmsford31 March 2005
Unit 3 Crown CourtColchester31 March 2005
Imperial BuildingsFalmouth31 March 2005
Victoria Street Car ParkGrimsby31 March 2005
Melbourne HouseLondon31 March 2005
Hadrian HouseMiddlesbrough31 March 2005
St. James HouseNewcastle Upon Tyne31 March 2005
1st Floor, Units 3 & 4, Silverlink Business ParkWallsend31 March 2005
Paxton HouseSwindon8 April 2005
Duchy HouseLondon15 April 2005
Aviation House,London25 April 2005
Angel Yard Car ParkChesterfield30 April 2005
TPF SiteLondonderry30 May 2005
Lower Upnor DepotRochester14 June 2005
Scapa PierOrkney22 June 2005
Pinnacle HouseBootle24 June 2005
City Gate HouseLondon24 June 2005
Conquest HouseLondon27 June 2005
5th Floor, 10 Great George StreetLondon27 June 2005
Custom HouseBerwick30 June 2005
Llangennach Folder StoreLlanelli30 June 2005
Unit 14 Orchard Trading EstateManchester30 June 2005
Harbour Masters OfficeRye30 June 2005
Custom HouseShoreham30 June 2005
Tyne Bridge TowerGateshead22 July 2005
Custom HouseIsles of Scilly31 July 2005
Heath HouseSouthend31 July 2005
Greyfriars HouseAberdeen18 August 2005
Lancaster HouseLondon21 August 2005
Surrey HouseLondon7 September 2005
Fuller House, 1st FloorTelford30 September 2005
Park HouseCroydon18 October 2005
Lock Up Garage 5 Forest RoadTorquay22 October 2005
Lock Up Garage 128 Union StreetTorquay22 October 2005
Bentinck HouseGloucester29 November 2005

30 Nov 2005 : Column 519W

HMRC is preparing business plans to meet its efficiency savings for 2005–08. These targets include a net reduction of 12,500 in its staff and moving 1,950 posts out of London and the South East under the Government Relocation programme. Delivering these targets means that the Department will be reviewing its estate on an ongoing basis to ensure that it remains in line with its needs. When HMRC takes any decision to close offices in future, letters will be sent to the Members of Parliament for the constituencies in which those offices are located and these letters, and the accompanying press release, will be placed in the Library of the House.

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