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17 Oct 2007 : Column 1143W—continued


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1144W

Unemployment: Young People

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 October 2007, Official Report, column 4757W, on 18 to 24-year-olds, how many 18 to 24-year-olds were not in full-time education, employment or training in each (a) local authority area and (b) parliamentary constituency in each of the last 10 years. [158340]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 16 October 2007:

Valuation Office

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) purpose and (b) function is of the Valuation Office Agency's World Class Programme. [158065]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) on 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1640W, and also refer to the agency's Forward Plan 2007-10 published on 18 June 2007.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 July 2007, Official Report, column 1018W to the hon. Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) on the Valuation Office Agency, what the destination was of each of the 412 flights. [158286]

Jane Kennedy: Details of the destinations of these 412 flights could be obtained only at disproportionate cost and time.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the Valuation Office Agency’s communications toolkit. [158400]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 217-18W, to the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond). The VGA’s communications toolkit has been laid in the Library of the House.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Valuation Office Agency’s Council Tax Revaluation Programme Board (England) last met. [158402]

Jane Kennedy: This programme board last met on 22 November 2005.


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1145W

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the Valuation Office Agency’s Rating Cost Guide in CD-Rom format. [158414]

Jane Kennedy: The Valuation Office Agency’s Rating Cost Guide provides indicative costs of buildings and machinery for use in valuations for non-domestic rating purposes. Since 2004 it has been made available to the general public for purchase at a charge of £750.00 (in CD-Rom format).

Valuation Office: Alcoholic Drinks

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Valuation Office Agency spent on (a) champagne and wine and (b) alcohol in the last year for which audited figures are available. [158066]

Jane Kennedy: Costs attributable to (a) and (b) are minimal because the Valuation Office Agency's policy is that alcohol should not normally be provided for internal conferences or for external events. They are not recorded separately and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost and time.

Valuation Office: Digital Versatile Disks

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 July 2007, Official Report, column 1019W to the hon. Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on the Valuation Office Agency: digital versatile disks, how many videos, including VHS formats and electronic digital formats, have been produced by the Agency in the last 36 months. [158284]

Jane Kennedy: The Valuation Office Agency has produced no videos in VHS format over the last 36 months. Since October 2004, 25 internal ‘videos’ to staff have been produced in a digital format available to view via the Agency’s wide area network.

Valuation Office: Visits Abroad

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire of 24 July 2007, Official Report, column 1020W, on the Valuation Office Agency: visits abroad, to which bodies the agency's staff have been seconded in Australia; how many staff have been seconded; and what divisions of the agency they come from. [158283]

Jane Kennedy: The Valuation Office Agency has sponsored three reciprocal, six-month, secondments from the Valuation Office to the Australian Valuation Office.


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1146W

VAT: Home Information Packs

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether VAT will be levied (a) on the local authority search elements and (b) drainage and water search elements of home information packs. [158405]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 September 2007, Official Report, column 2243W, to the hon. Member for North-East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt). Drainage and water searches remain VAT standard-rated when supplied by a VAT registered business.

VAT: Swimming

Janet Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on reducing the level of VAT payable on swimming lessons for children; and if he will make a statement. [158441]

Jane Kennedy: Representations are regularly made to Treasury Ministers and officials on a wide range issues.

VAT is not chargeable on swimming lessons provided by non-profit making bodies, local authorities, schools, and private tutors, otherwise they are VAT standard-rated. The VAT agreements with our European partners that allow us to keep our existing zero rates, and which govern the scope of our VAT exemptions and reduced rates, do not allow us to reduce the rate of VAT currently payable on children’s swimming lessons.

Venture Capital

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are in place for directors and elite shareholders of businesses (a) in the process of being and (b) after having been taken over by (i) private equity businesses and (ii) non-private equity businesses to disclose all deals, promises and transactions of personal benefit to themselves, both prior to and subsequent to the takeover; what duties such directors and elite shareholders have to other shareholders and employees of the business being taken over; what proposals he has to change the existing arrangements; and if he will bring forward urgent proposals to legislate to make such disclosure necessary. [152607]

Kitty Ussher: Takeovers are supervised and regulated by the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers in accordance with the rules set out in the Takeover Code. This provides an orderly framework within which takeovers are conducted, contributing to the integrity of financial markets, and ensuring that all shareholders are treated fairly and are not denied an opportunity to decide on the merits of a takeover.

The Code requires:


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1147W

In addition, the FSA’s Listing Rules require listed companies to disclose directors’ service contracts, to notify relevant interests in securities by directors and persons connected with them, and also restrict dealings in the company’s securities by directors and persons connected with them. Further obligations in relation to the disclosure of relevant information and of particular transactions in substantial portions of shares in a company whose shares are traded on regulated markets are contained in the FSA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules.

The Companies Act 2006 imposes statutory duties on directors of all companies, whether before or after a takeover, whether listed on a public market or privately held. These include the duties in chapter 2 of part 10 among other things to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its shareholders as a whole, having regard—among other matters—to the interests of the company’s employees, to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence, and to avoid conflicts of interest. The Act imposes specific requirements for prior shareholder authorisation in areas likely to give rise to conflicts of interest, such as loans by the company to a director or long-term service contracts for directors. Chapters 4 and 6 of part 15 of the Act also impose disclosure requirements in respect of directors’ remuneration, directors’ service contracts, and advances, credit and guarantees to directors.

The Takeover Panel and FSA are respectively responsible under statute for setting takeover rules and listing and disclosure rules. BERR is responsible for the general corporate disclosure regime. Current rules are kept under review and regularly updated in line with market developments.

Written Questions

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will answer Question 120846, on domestic taxation and house prices in Northern Ireland, tabled by the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar on 6 February. [158075]

Jane Kennedy: The hon. Member’s question was transferred from the Treasury to the Northern Ireland Office. I understand that the former Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), said in his reply of 19 February that the matter is now the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Bankruptcy

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) bankruptcy orders and (b) individual voluntary agreements were recorded in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) the most recent year for which figures are available. [158120]

Mr. McFadden: The table shows the number of bankruptcies and individual voluntary arrangements in England and Wales for financial years 1996-97 and 2006-07.


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1148W
Bankruptcy orders Individual voluntary arrangements

1996-97

21,058

4,441

2006-07

64,610

47,975

Notes:
Figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Bankruptcy: Elderly

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people in (a) England and (b) Suffolk aged 60 years or over declared themselves bankrupt in each year since 1997. [156767]

Mr. McFadden: Bankruptcy statistics broken down by age as well as by region are currently only readily available on the basis of the locations of official receivers offices (each of which cover a group of county courts where the cases are heard and the courts having jurisdiction over these), and for the years 2000 through to 2006.

The table provides estimates of numbers of individuals aged 60 years and over declared bankrupt in the regions considered to be closest to those requested, but they should not be treated as completely accurate statistics because date of birth is not recorded for all bankruptcy cases over the period covered and also because regional statistics based around the jurisdictions of official receivers are not consistent with county or country level geographies.

Estimated numbers of bankruptcy orders, individuals aged 60 and oven 2000 to 2006
Bankrupts aged 60 years and above by geographical area
England and Wales England Anglia Ipswich

2000

973

924

137

22

2001

1,068

1,027

143

18

2002

1,289

1,249

182

23

2003

1,637

1,566

233

23

2004

2,149

2,059

296

25

2005

3,126

3,042

471

38

2006

4,796

4,622

720

72

Notes:
1. Anglia region covers the following OR offices: Cambridge, Ipswich, Northampton, Norwich, St. Albans, Southend-on-Sea.
2. Ipswich’s OR office covers the following county courts: Sudbury, St. Osyth, Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton, Braintree.

Conditions of Employment

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what provisions of the Warwick Agreement, which have not been implemented, he plans to implement. [158679]

Mr. McFadden: The Government remain committed to fulfilling their manifesto over the course of this Parliament. The Government's employment relations strategy, “Success at Work”, was published in March last year and sets out our plans for delivering these commitments within the wider context of the labour market and Better Regulation agenda.


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