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3 May 2007 : Column 1805Wcontinued
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the Planning White Paper to be published; and what provision will be made in the White Paper relating to (a) increasing public participation and (b) third party rights of appeal. 
Yvette Cooper: The White Paper will be published later this spring. The Government of course recognise the importance of effective public participation in this area and the White Paper will propose arrangements for achieving this. The issue of third party rights of appeal was carefully considered when we developed proposals for radical reform of the planning system in 2001; the Government concluded then that such a proposal could add unacceptably to the costs and uncertainties of planning.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the document setting out the criteria used to determine the location of zebra and pelican crossings in England; what the requirements are for the minimum distance from which such crossings must be visible to oncoming motorists; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: There are no national criteria for the placing of pedestrian crossings in England. It is for the local highway or traffic authority concerned to decide on suitable crossing types and locations. The Departments published guidance, Local Transport Note 1/95, The Assessment of Pedestrian Crossings, recommends a decision framework approach which includes making an assessment of the visibility distance of crossings. Local Transport Note 2/95, The Design of Pedestrian Crossings, provides guidance on visibility distances. I have arranged for copies of both publications to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how a terrorist is defined for the purposes of the Temporary International Mechanism. 
Hilary Benn: The Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) does not make payments to individuals if they appear on the following internationally-recognised terrorist lists:
Bank of England terrorist list;
European Union terrorist list;
United Nations sanctions list;
Office of Foreign Assets Control (United States Treasury) terrorist list; and
Hong Kong Monetary Authority terrorist list.
The TIM has also set up a comprehensive accounting and audit system to track payments.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many social welfare payments under the Temporary International Mechanism have been stopped by HSBC because of concerns of terrorism. 
Hilary Benn: The purpose of terrorist checks under the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) is to provide assurance that EU assistance is not being used to support terrorism. Between 27 August 2006, when payments under the TIM began, and 1 May 2007 one welfare payment has been withheld because the individual's name was on one of the internationally recognised terrorist lists.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance he is (a) providing and (b) planning for policing in the internally displaced people's camps in Darfur. 
Hilary Benn: Under the Darfur Peace Agreement, responsibility for monitoring security in camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Darfur rests with AMIS. The UK is currently paying the staff costs of the African Union Mission in Sudans (AMIS) civilian police and military staff, as well as helping AMIS with its running costs.
The UK also has seconded 12 police officers to the EU Supporting Action to AMIS in Darfur to train and advise AMIS civilian police force. These civilian police officers represent just under a half of the total EU contribution and cost the UK around £1 million a year.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the use of clean coal technology and the administration of the climate change levy. 
John Healey: The Government receives a range of representations on the climate change levy and considers these representations, alongside other policy advice within the normal PBR and Budget cycle.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are in (a) full-time and (b) part-time employment in each constituency; what the corresponding figures were in 1997; and what the percentage change in numbers has been in each constituency. 
John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 3 May 2007:
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people are in (a) full-time and (b) part-time employment in each constituency; what the corresponding figures were in 1997; and what the percentage change in numbers has been in each constituency. I am replying in her absence. (135561)
The Office for National Statistics compiles employment statistics for local areas from the annual local area Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Annual Population Survey (APS) following International Labour Organisation definitions.
The table, attached, shows the number of people in employment by full-time and part-time status for all constituencies, in Great Britain, for the 12 month period ending in February 1997 from the annual local area LFS and for the 12 months ending in September 2006 from the APS. Data for the new Scottish constituencies, introduced in May 2005, are not available for the earlier period. The table also shows the percentage change between the periods, although most of these percentage changes are not considered statistically significant.
As these estimates are for a subset of the population in small geographical areas, they are based on small sample sizes, and are therefore subject to large margins of uncertainty. In this case, most of the sample sizes are not sufficient to give an accurate estimate of even the direction of the change over the period.
Since the information is so extensive, a copy of the table has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much the Government received for the sale of student loans in (a) 1998 and (b) 1999; and what the face value was of each of these loans at the time of sale; 
(2) how much interest was paid to banks by the Government in support of the student loans scheme in each year since its inception. 
Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.
In 1998 the Government received £1 billion for the sale of student loans with a face value of £1.02 billion. In 1999 the Government received £1 billion for the sale of student loans with a face value of £1.03 billion. These are UK figures.
The following table shows the amount of interest subsidy paid to the debt sale owners in each year since 1998.
|Financial year||Subsidy (£000)|
Figures are for England and Wales
Mr. Anthony Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many HM Revenue and Customs offices are currently unstaffed; and what the estimated cost to the public purse is of such offices. 
Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs currently holds 12 unstaffed offices which are still part of the estate due to various lease and legal title issues and longstanding commitments with other Government Departments.
The estimated annual cost of these offices is £1,435,512. HMRC is working to cease its liability for these offices as soon as is practical.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of employing Opinion Leader Research to organise the Skills Challenge: A Public Debate held on 8th February 2007 to discuss the Leitch Review. 
Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.
On behalf of the DfES, the Central Office of Information (COI) managed a competitive tendering process to organise and deliver The Skills Challenge: A Public Debate to be held on 8 February 2007. The tender was won by Opinion Leader Research, with a contract value of £153,484.38.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many properties sold in (a) Bury St. Edmunds constituency and (b) the Suffolk county council area in each of the last three years attracted stamp duty at (i) zero per cent., (ii) 1 per cent., (iii) 3 per cent. and (iv) 4 per cent. 
Ed Balls: Estimates of the number of property transactions for 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 are given in the following table for Bury St. Edmunds parliamentary constituency and Suffolk county, grouped by stamp duty band.
|Property transactions attracting 0 per cent. rate( 1)||Property transactions attracting 1 per cent. rate( 2)||Property transactions attracting 3 per cent. rate( 3)||Property transactions attracting 4 per cent. rate( 4)||Total|
|(1) Residential threshold £60,000 in 2004-05, £120,000 in 2005-06 and £125,000 in 2006-07. Non-residential threshold £150,000 in all years.|
(2) £60,001 to £250,000 range for residential transactions in 2004-05, £120,001 to £250,000 for residential transactions in 2005-06, £125,001 to £250,000 in 2006-07, £150,001 to £250,000 for non-residential transactions in all years.
(3) £250,001 to £500,000.
(4) £500,001 or more.
The number of transactions bearing stamp duty will be lower than the number shown in the non-zero bands due to the use of various reliefs, e.g. disadvantaged area relief, group relief, registered social landlord relief etc. There are also some lease transactions which fall in the 0 per cent. band on account of consideration, but which bear stamp duty on the lease rental.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many legal proceedings were instigated for recovery of tax credit overpayments in each (a) year and (b) quarter since April 2003; what the average level is of overpayment outstanding for which legal action has been instigated; what the total value is of overpayments for which legal action has been instigated; what the average cost has been of pursuing a case through the courts; and how much has been recovered through court action. 
Mr. Timms: In 2006-07 some 38,000 legal proceedings were commenced at an average value of £2,260 and an average cost to HMRC of £135 to instigate proceedings. The other information is not available.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons he plans to withdraw writing down allowances on industrial and agricultural buildings between 2008-09 and 2010-11; what assessment he has made of the likely impact of this change on the farming industry; how many farm businesses he estimates will be affected; and to what value. 
John Healey: The Governments decision to withdraw the industrial and agricultural buildings allowances were based on an assessment of a number of issues, common across industry sectors. The Government have not sought to target the farming industry or any other industry with this change.
Industrial buildings allowances (IBAs) and agricultural buildings allowances (ABAs) were introduced in 1945 to encourage post-war reconstruction. They are now a poorly focused subsidy, selectively available on a disparate range of assets, including some that typically appreciate in value. IBAs and ABAs have long been recognised as a significant distortion in commercial property investment. These issues are compounded by the compliance burden imposed by their complicated rules.
The withdrawal of IBAs and ABAs is not an isolated measure. The Budget also announced cuts in both the basic rate of income tax and the main rate of corporation tax and introduced a new annual investment allowance (AIA) of £50,000 for business investment from 2008. Taken as a whole, these reforms to the business and personal tax systems are designed to deliver increases in investment and growth overall.
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