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The Minister for the West Midlands met with a group made up of business organisations (CBI, Chambers etc.) and regional heads of major banks including Lloyds
TSB on 1 December. The same group is due to meet again on 19 January. These meetings have been arranged as a direct consequence of the economic downturn and have been used to gain a regional picture of how banks are supporting businesses in the region.
The Minister for the North East, held a meeting with representatives of the banking, financial and accounting sectors on 21 November 2008 to discuss and address key concerns in relation to the current economic difficulties. Representatives of Lloyds TSB were invited but did not attend.
The Ministers for the East of England, the South East, London, East Midlands and the North West have not met, and have not been asked to meet, with representatives from Lloyds TSB on the matter of the security of employment of Lloyds TSB employees in the region.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield of 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 511W, on local government: bank services, what estimate has been made of the financial losses to local authorities from the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. 
John Healey: According to the liquidators for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, local authorities held deposits of £77.243 million on the date the bank entered liquidation in January 1992. This was approximately $143 million at the rate of exchange in January 1992.
Dividends have been paid out in US dollars. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between dollars and sterling means that local authorities (and other claimants with funds originally held in sterling) have received almost 97 per cent. of their original balance, if converting their US dollars back into pounds at the rate applicable on the date of the declared dividend. This is higher than the 86.5 per cent. set out in my previous answer, which is the percentage in US dollars.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the amount of interest local authorities have foregone on money frozen in Icelandic banks. 
John Healey: The Local Government Association has compiled information supplied by individual local authorities that have deposits in Icelandic banks. It has published this information on its website:
In addition, Communities and Local Government is in the process of collecting data on local authorities that had deposits in Icelandic banks at the end of 2008 as part of our routine financial data collection programme. These data will be published once they have been fully validated and quality assured.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what data which her Department used to gather from local authorities is no longer gathered as a result of the adoption of the national indicator set. 
Further reductions may be identified as a result of the ongoing review of data collections which was referred to in the answer of 28 January 2008, Official Report, column 112W. Departments have until May 2010 to identify and implement reductions which contribute to the cross-Whitehall 30 per cent. target for reduction in data burdens announced on 9 October 2007 as part of the comprehensive spending review.
John Healey: The Boundary Committee has been requested to provide advice to the Secretary of State no later than 13 February 2009 on proposals for unitary local government in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 provides that where the Secretary of State has requested such advice, she may not make any decision in relation to any proposals received until at least six weeks after the date by which she has specified that advice must be provided.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average non-domestic rates bill in England in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10. 
John Healey: The average non-domestic rates bill in England is estimated as £10,333 in 2007-08 and £11,357 in 2008-09. It is not yet possible to estimate the average non-domestic rates bill for 2009-10.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the net revenue from non-domestic rates in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10. 
Outturn data for 2007-08 can be found in the Statistical Release National non- domestic rates collected by local authorities in England 2007-08 that was published on 17 September 2008 and can be found in table 1 at:
Budget estimate data for 2008-09 can be found in the Statistical Release National non-domestic rates to be collected by local authorities in England 2008-09 that was published on 8 May 2008 and can be found in table 1 at:
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of empty her Department uses for the purposes of determining empty property exemptions for business rates. 
John Healey: The definition used by Communities and Local Government and English local authorities to determine empty property exemptions for business rates can be found in the Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property)(England) Regulations 2008. No. 386.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the financial value of the threshold level of rate relief in London for small firms in relation to (a) small business rate relief, (b) exemption from empty property business rates and (c) exemption from supplementary business rates will be in 2009-10. 
In regard to Small Business Rate Relief in London, there are three tiers to the current system; (i) eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of less than £5,000 receive a reduction of 50 per cent. in their rates liability, (ii) eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value between £5,000 and £10,000 are entitled to relief on a sliding scalefor every £100 increase in rateable value, relief decreases by 1 per cent. (iii) eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value between £10,000 and £21,500 have their liability calculated with the small business multiplier and do not pay the supplement to fund the scheme.
In regard to empty property rates the current exemption threshold of a rateable value of £2,200 is to be increased to £15,000 for the financial year 2009-10.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 351W, on non-domestic rates: ports, what the aggregate rateable value in respect of each port in England and Wales affected by the change in valuation was (a) before and (b) after the change. 
John Healey: The Financial Secretary to the Treasury and I submitted a memorandum to the Treasury Select Committee on 5 November 2008 which included a table showing the aggregate changes in rateable values in ports from the review. I have placed this in the Library. It represents the most up to date complete table currently available.
A revised table will be available at the end of January 2009 once the rating lists for the five remaining ports have been formally amended, in the light of any representations received in response to the notifications sent out by the respective valuation officers by 28 November.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what business rate multiplier she plans to use for (a) small firms and (b) medium and large firms in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. 
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for open cast coal mine developments were referred to the Secretary of State in each year since 1990, broken down by constituency of location. 
|Application||Date of referral||Constituency|
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for open cast coal mine developments were
successful in each year since 1990; and in which constituency each was located. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Responsibility for determination of planning applications lies in the first instance with the appropriate mineral planning authority for the area concerned. Information on the number of planning applications for open cast coal mine developments since 1990 is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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