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Properties may be exempt from council tax for a limited or indefinite period for a number of reasons, for example because the owner has recently died or because they are occupied only by students. Both vacant and occupied properties may be exempt. The information that the Office of the Deputy Prime
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Minister collects from local authorities does not enable us to identify the number of properties in each band by type of exemption. We are not able therefore to calculate the value of exemptions granted in respect of those classes that relate only to vacant properties.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance the Valuation Office Agency has given its staff on respecting religious and cultural traditions of householders and shopkeepers when conducting an internal inspection for council tax or business rate valuation purposes. 
Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with banks and building societies on encouraging the use of cash machines on which fees for use are not charged; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what adjustments were made to the Scottish budget as a result of the agreement with the Scottish Executive referred to in Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly in each year of its operation; and what policy decisions resulted in each adjustment. 
Mr. Des Browne: The funding arrangements for the Scottish Parliament are set out in the Statement of Funding Policy. Details of changes in the Scotland DEL are set out in figure 10 of the 2005 Scotland Office Annual Report.
Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants in his Department have worked on policy matters related to the Barnett formula in each of the last five years, broken down by grade. 
Mr. Des Browne:
The funding arrangements for the devolved administrations, including policy work related to the Barnett formula, are managed by the devolution
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branch of the Devolved Countries and Regions team in the Treasury. In the last five years the staffing of the branch has varied slightly and is currently 1 range E, 2 range D, 1 range C and 1 range B.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have died of an asbestos-related
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illness in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. 
Lung cancer deaths caused by asbestos are clinically indistinguishable from those caused by other agents such as tobacco smoke. It is estimated that about the same number of lung cancer deaths due to asbestos occur each year as mesothelioma deaths.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of the contracted-out rebate was in the last year for which figures are available; what proportion of UK gross domestic product that figure represents; and what the projected figures are in each case for (a) 2010, (b) 2020, (c) 2030, (d) 2040 and (e) 2050. 
|Tax year||Cost of contracted-out rebate (£ billion)||Cost expressed as percentage of GDP|
Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the United Kingdom has contributed to European Union funds as a percentage of its gross domestic product in each year since 1975. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Government does not as a matter of course produce figures for the United Kingdom's net contributions to the EC Budget as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product. The following table has been produced by taking outturn figures for the UK's net contribution to the EC Budget in each of the years 197576 to 200405 and dividing these by the latest available GDP data for the year in question.
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|UK net contribution as percentage of GDP|
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