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31 Jan 2006 : Column 414W—continued

Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency operates an incentive scheme for staff for (a) council tax valuations and (b) business rate valuations. [47223]

Dawn Primarolo: The Valuation Office Agency does not operate an incentive scheme for valuations.

VAT (Charities)

John Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will (a) remove and (b) reduce the VAT burden on charities. [45808]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Many of the supplies made by charities are not subject to VAT. Charities also benefit from VAT reliefs on their purchases worth more than £200 million per year. This forms part of the total tax reliefs for charities worth £2.4 billion per year.

Under agreements governing the application of VAT reliefs throughout the EU, successive Governments have agreed with European partners not to extend any existing VAT zero rates or introduce any new ones. The scope of the exemptions from VAT is similarly limited by European agreements. It is therefore not possible for the Government to introduce any new VAT zero rates or exemptions for supplies or purchases made by charities.

Charities VAT costs have been considered by the Government in two major reviews since 1997. In the course of these reviews it was not possible to find a solution that was practical, efficient, affordable, well-targeted and based on principle. Available resources are better and more effectively deployed through targeted initiatives and support, such as the Futurebuilders investment fund, rather than through a general VAT refund scheme for all charities.
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Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many appeals against antisocial behaviour orders were funded by legal aid in the last 12 months; and what the (a) average and (b) total cost to public funds of this legal aid was. [45719]

Bridget Prentice: The Legal Service Commission has only recorded data relating to antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) since March 2005.

During March to December 2005, there were 25 appeals made to the Crown court against an ASBO. The average cost of these appeals was £1,135.64 and the total cost for this period was £28,391.

Appeals against ASBOs may also form part of a wider appeal in civil and criminal proceedings. The ASBO element of these cases could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Commission for Racial Equality

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with the Commission for Racial Equality. [46165]

Ms Harman: The Secretary of State has met the chair and representatives of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) on several occasions.

HM Inspectorate of Court Administration has on-going contact with the Commission for Racial Equality in relation to their role in monitoring HM Court Services' compliance with the duties under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, their own internal responsibilities and linkage with the Department for Constitutional Affairs' Race Equality Scheme.

DCA corporate staff network for black and minority ethnic staff (PROUD), approached the Commission for Racial Equality to participate in PROUD's black history month in October 2005. Trevor Phillips attended giving a presentation on Race Equality in the Public Service.

Court Service (Coventry)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the recent performance of the Court Service in Coventry. [46164]

Ms Harman: All data cover April to December 2005 unless stated otherwise (targets, where applicable, in brackets)

Provision of Timely Information to Other Agencies

Ineffective Trials (PSA 1)

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Criminal Case Timeliness (PSA 1)

Persistent Young Offenders (PSA 1)

Payment Rate (PSA 2)

Enforcement of Court Order Breaches (PSA2)

Small Claims (PSA 4)

Fast-Track Claims (PSA 4)

Multi-Track Claims (PSA 4)

Family Public Law (PSA 4)

Family Private Law


Courtroom Utilisation

Departmental Properties

Mr. Weir: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was paid by her Department in 2004–05 in rent for properties in (a) total, (b) each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK and (c) London. [35950]

Ms Harman: The answer provided relates solely to property on the HQ estate of the Department for Constitutional Affairs. It does not cover HM Court Service, associated offices or NDPB's as this information is neither collated nor managed by DCA and to obtain it would incur a disproportionate cost. Wales Office and Scotland Office are excluded on the grounds that they fund their own rent and should receive this question directly.

(a) My Department paid a total of £14,297,265.00 in property rental in the financial year 2004–05.
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(b) (i) By region, the breakdown is:
RegionProperty rental (£)
East MidlandsNil
East of EnglandNil
North East93,856
North West134,056
South EastNil
South West36,252
West MidlandsNil
Yorks and HumberNil

(b) (ii) by Nation the breakdown is:
NationProperty rental (£)
N. IrelandNil

(c) The total rental paid in London was £14,002,231.

The individual breakdown by building was as follows:
BuildingRental paid (£)
Selborne House, London2,175,000
Southside, London(38)4,216,711
30 Millbank, London229,313
Millbank Tower, London1,464,050
Chancery Lane, London2,332,918
Conquest House, London481,600
Greycoat Place, London(38)312,456
Archway Tower, London884,000
Steel House, London1,629,183
Sunlight House, Manchester134,056
Burghill, Bristol9,356
Tower House, Bristol26,896
City House, Leeds37,830
MWB, Leeds(38)44,151

(38) Now disposed of.
(39) Now with MOD.

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