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Mark Pritchard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many businesses in each local authority area occupy premises with rateable values between £10,000 and £14,999; and if he will make a statement; 
Mark Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses there are on the ratings list in each local authority area with rateable values below £10,000; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Local authorities reported that there were 392,000 businesses in England in receipt of small business rate relief as at 31 December 2006, the only year for which this information is currently available.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the staff turnover rate in HM Revenue and Customs is in (a) England, (b) each region in England, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) Protestant, (b) Roman Catholic and (c) non-declared appointees there were in HM Revenue and Customs offices in Northern Ireland in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 26 January 2009]: The numbers of appointees to HM Revenue and Customs in the last two years, broken down by Protestant, Roman Catholic and non-determined is set out in the following table.
|Protestant||Roman Catholic||Non- determined|
Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the full-time equivalent median pay for HM Revenue and Customs employees is in (a) England, (b) each region in England, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland. 
|Government region||Median annual salary|
Mr. Timms: Guarding services in HMRC are currently provided through a mixture of in-house and outsourced security guards. Over 60 per cent. of the security guards at HMRC sites are already provided by external suppliers, primarily Mapeley under the terms of its PFI contract with HMRC which commenced in April 2001.
HMRC are currently exploring the potential to outsource its remaining in-house manned guarding services and in August 2008 commenced a fully competitive procurement exercise by publishing a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). A decision on any further outsourcing will depend on the comparative business cases that are constructed as a result of this exercise, including the provision of in-house security guards.
Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of appeals to magistrates' courts against seizure of excise goods by HM Revenue and Customs were successful in the last two years. 
Angela Eagle: During the financial year 2007-08 there were 423 condemnation cases concluded in the courts in the United Kingdom, in relation to excise goods. Approximately 8 per cent. of these appeals by the claimant were successful.
For the current financial year 2008-09 until 16 January 2009 there have been 738 condemnation cases initiated. Of these, 426 cases have been concluded and the claimants were successful in 5 per cent. of these cases.
David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he plans to take to (a) reduce levels of alcohol and tobacco smuggling and (b) implement Article 15 of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on illicit trade in tobacco products; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Timms: At the time of the 2008 pre-Budget-report, the Government published a new integrated strategy for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the UK Border Agency (UKBA); Tackling Tobacco Smuggling Together. The strategy document is available in the Commons Library. This sets out the Government's plans to build on the considerable progress that has already been made in driving down tobacco smuggling and reducing revenue losses. The strategy takes full account of work being done at EU level and at international level through the World Health Organisation's framework convention on tobacco control. As a party to the convention, the UK is committed to seeking an agreement on an illicit trade protocol under article 15 by 2010. The strategy also sets out a clear framework for co-operation between law enforcement bodies, regulatory authorities and the public health sector. It also reinforces co-operation with the tobacco industry, which remains crucial to tackling smuggled and counterfeit tobacco.
The respective roles of HMRC and the UKBA, details of how UKBA performance will be monitored and objectives for tobacco seizures in 2008-09, are set out in the UKBA Partnership Agreement with HMRC, which is published on the UKBA website.
At PBR 2008, the Government also announced a review of HMRC's alcohol fraud strategy. The review will look to strengthen work to tackle spirits fraud and extend this approach to other products affected by fraud. A further announcement on this will be made at Budget 2009.
The most recent estimates of the losses attributable to alcohol and tobacco fraud and smuggling were published by HMRC in November 2008 in a report Measuring Indirect Tax Gaps2008, which is also available in the Commons Library.
A number of steps have been taken to enhance HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) approach to tackling evasion including improvements in HMRC's capability to identify evasion, stronger operational practices to tackle that evasion more quickly and effectively, and a new penalty regime to help deter evasion.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what area of land in each (a) constituency and (b) region of England was used as allotments in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We do not have centrally held figures on the area of land used as allotments in England. Local authorities are responsible for keeping figures on the amount of land used as allotments and we do not require them to provide central Government with these figures.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 303W, on departmental procurement, who attended the dinner at the Arts Club organised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 
The Equality and Human Rights Commission held a business dinner for its Commissioners at the Arts Club on 12 February 2007. The attendees were 12 EHRC Commissioners, an EHRC official member of staff and a personal assistant to one of the Commissioners. The dinner was an opportunity for Commissioners to meet with each other and discuss the Commission's agenda, including the identification of priorities, during the transition period. It was also the first opportunity for Commissioners to meet together in a less formal setting than the monthly board meetings.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to amend building regulations to reduce (a) the risk of fires in buildings spreading and (b) the speed at which such fires spread. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The last major revision of Part B (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations and the supporting guidance took effect in April 2007. This included the provision of sprinkler protection in large warehouses and high rise blocks of flats. Improved guidance was also provided on the design and specification of measures
such as compartment walls, cavity barriers and fire dampers which all service to restrict the spread of fire. We do not intend to revisit the provisions of Part B (Fire safety) until 2013 at the earliest.
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