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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Valuation Office Agencys local authority liaison meeting of 23 July, what assessment (a) his Department and (b) the Valuation Office Agency has made of the effect of council tax backdating on budgeting by billing authorities. 
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research (a) his Department and (b) the Gambling Commission has (i) commissioned and (ii) published since March 2008 on the effects of the availability of high-stake, high-prize gaming machines on problem gamblers. 
On 14 March 2008 my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport wrote to the chair of the Gambling Commission, asking the Commission to prioritise its planned research into the impact of high-stake, high-prize gaming machines on problem gambling. The Gambling Commission replied on 31 July 2008, setting out the outcomes of some internal research which looked at the evidence surrounding this issue. A summary of the evidence reviewed will be published later in 2008. In the letter the Commission set out a programme of small projects that it would undertake to help establish a better understanding of the evidence. Among other things it will set up an expert panel and work with the gambling industry to explore player data, with a view to understanding how this data can be used in future research. The Commission will report to my Department again in June 2009 on progress with this programme of work.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was raised in national insurance contributions in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e ) Northern Ireland in each of the last 11 years. 
David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the level of compliance with national minimum wage requirements in the agricultural sector; and if he will make a statement. 
The Statistics Digest for 2008 provides data on farm labour and wages. This includes data on workers paid below the statutory agricultural minimum wage rate. The table below shows the proportion of people according to the grades set out in the Agricultural Wages Order being paid below the set minima during the last full AWO year (October 2006-September 2006).
|Grade||AWB minimum (£)||Below minimum (percentage)|
These data are collected from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairss Earnings and Hours Survey and are based on a sample of 939 workers and only include people who are 20 years or over.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will arrange for a substantive reply to be sent to the hon. Member for Walsall, North to his letter of 13 August to the tax credit office, Preston, concerning a constituent, ref JA121568A. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much each HM Revenue and Customs office spent on (a) alcohol and (b) entertainment in the last three months, broken down by region. 
Kitty Ussher: Expenditure, including that on entertaining, is subject to audit and the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety. £2,192 was spent within HMRC (excluding the Valuation Office Agency) on entertaining during the three months June 2008 to August 2008. Obtaining information on the amount spent on alcohol within this figure is available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the percentage of home purchase transactions that will benefit from the stamp duty exemption for properties between £175,000 and £125,000 in each of the next two years. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the specification for the Valuation Office Agencys new geographic information system, redacting any commercially sensitive information. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Valuation Office Agencys Management Board meeting minutes of 19 June 2008, what conclusion the Board reached in relation to (a) the renewal of the Rightmove contract and (b) the use of third party information to support the automated valuation model. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2008, Official Report, columns 1106-07W, on the Valuation Office Agency: Rightmove, what the contractual deadline and timetable are for the Agency to make a decision on whether to extend or continue with the contract. 
Kitty Ussher: The initial term of the contract between Her Majestys Revenue and Customs and Rightmove.co.uk Ltd. expired on 31 March 2008. On the question of a timetable for a decision on whether to extend or continue with the contract, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 1225W.
Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what overseas countries and cities have been visited by representatives of the Valuation Office Agency during the last 12 months at public expense; and what the cost of such visits was. 
|Cities||Purpose of visit|
Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the revenue that will be raised from VAT on domestic energy as a result of increases in fuel prices in 2008-09. 
Mr. Malik: DFID does not encourage expenditure on or consumption of alcohol in relation to hospitality. Therefore there are no specific processes for the purchase of alcohol. All entertainment and hospitality expenditure is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury Handbook on Regularity, Propriety and Value for Money.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what account his Department takes of the level of energy efficiency of buildings before entering into agreements to (a) rent and (b) purchase those buildings. 
Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development (DFID) has only two buildings in the United Kingdom, and has not taken on any properties in the last seven years. We have no plans to rent or purchase further properties.
Mr. Malik: Copies of the document entitled "IT Contracts Awarded 2006-07 and 2007-08" which provides details of IT contracts entered into by the Department for International Development (DFID) in the last two years, have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Malik: All items sent through the UK post are through the Royal Mail, or in the case of items sent directly between our two offices, under a contract with TNT (Express) UK Ltd. Expenditure is monitored against budget in each location, and last year reduced overall by 12 per cent. over the preceding year.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the last five years. 
Gillian Merron: There have been 90 home civil service staff in the Department for International Development (DFID) who have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more years since 2003.
Mr. Malik: Since 1999, the Government have published the total cost of all overseas travel by Ministers and a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 1112W. Details for the financial year 2007-08 will be published before the summer recess and will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
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