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The Valuation Office Agencys Council Tax Banding Support Tool makes use of locality and locality group. The tool uses modelling techniques to identify properties that are most closely comparable to a given subject (in terms of location and property attributes) and provides the bandings of those properties. It initially searches for comparables within a subject propertys immediate locality
and, only where insufficient suitable comparables are available within the locality, will the remainder of the locality group be searched.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2009, Official Report, column 1184W, on inheritance tax: housing, if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance the Valuation Office Agency uses on making use of localities and locality groups within the council tax banding support tool. 
Mr. Timms: The guidance produced for the council tax banding support tool comprises technical instruction on the use of a VOA internal IT application. It is not appropriate to publish information which might assist unauthorised access to VOA systems or databases.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2009, Official Report, column 940W, on valuation: housing, how many locality groups in England were used by the Valuation Office Agency in (a) 2008, (b) 2007 and (c) 2006. 
Mr. Timms: The number of locality groups identified by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is liable to change during the course of a year to reflect the housing market. The following are approximate numbers of locality groups in England:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 682W, on housing: valuation, if he will rank each individual locality reference in each valuation area in the South West according to value significance. 
Mr. Timms: A list of locality reference numbers, ranked in order of value significance by Valuation Area within the Valuation Office Agencys South West Group, has been placed in the Library. The list is based on data extracted on 22 February 2009.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2009, Official Report, column 1181W, on debt collection: powers of entry, if he will place in the Library a copy of the HM Revenue and Customs guidance on exercising distraint in relation to powers of entry and seizing assets. 
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Government's response to the report of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's inquiry into the potential regulation of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, Cm 7538, from which (a) firms, (b) organisations and (c) individuals the Government sought actuarial advice when preparing its response. 
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter to him of 18 February 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regards to Mr. Christian Callaghan-Newsham. 
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2009, Official Report, column 1186W, on Ocean View Properties, what
the timetable is for the Financial Services Authority inquiry into the firms connected with Ocean View Properties. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in contributions the UK paid to the (a) World Bank Group, (b) European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and (c) European Investment Bank in each of the last five years. 
The following table sets out the core contributions paid into the (a) World Bank Group, (b) European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in each of the last five years. DFID does not make core contributions to the European Investment Bank.
|World Bank Group( 1)||European Bank for Reconstruction and Development( 1)|
|(1) Includes technical co-operation.|
(2) From 2006-07, contributions to the EBRD have been recorded as bilateral expenditure, following new OECD Development Assistance Committee classifications.
Multilateral expenditure includes core contributions to multilateral organisations and aid supporting internal capacity building and administration costs. It does not include aid where the sector, theme, recipient country/region or specific project the aid will be used to support is known.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an assessment of the merits of providing assistance to investors in the Presbyterian Mutual Society in Northern Ireland. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 20 April 2009]: The Government sympathise with the difficult situation faced by members of the Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS). Organisations such as PMS, which are registered as industrial and provident societies, are exempt from regulation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in accepting deposits. Under Industrial and Provident Society legislation, any one member's shareholding is limited to £20,000. Members' deposits are held in the form of withdrawable share capital and societies should make clear to members that their deposits are therefore risk capital. Being outside of FSA regulation, the society and its members do not contribute to, and are therefore not protected by, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Yvette Cooper: Departmental budgets have been set to financial year 2010-11. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will announce the timing of the spending review process to set budgets from financial year 2011-12 in the normal way in due course.
John Mason: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many complaints the Department has received from (a) hon. and right hon. Members and (b) members of the public as a result of processing delays relating to benefits and tax credits since March 2008; whether the Department has assessed the performance of its individual offices as a result of processing delays; whether it has taken action following such assessments; and whether the Department has assessed the effect of processing delays on individual benefit recipients; 
(2) what the average time taken to (a) process and (b) issue claims for child benefit and tax credits was in each month since March 2008; and what targets the Department has for the processing and payment of child benefit; 
Mr. Timms: Information on the number of complaints received in relation to child benefit and tax credits is published annually in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) departmental report. Separate information on the number of complaints received in the Department as a result of processing delays is not available.
For information about HMRC targets and performance outturn in relation to tax credits, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Northavon (Steve Webb) on 24 February 2009, Official Report , columns 534-36W. Outturn for 2008-09 will be available later in the year.
HMRC introduced new targets in 2008-09 that measured the time taken to pay new child benefit claims. HMRC paid 65 per cent. of new claims in nine working days against a target of 69 per cent. and paid new child benefit claims in an average of 28 calendar days against a target of 20 calendar days.
More complex claims, including those from customers arriving from abroad, often require HMRC to make more detailed inquiries, and so HMRC may be unable to process and pay them within the usual target times. HMRC is continuously working to identify how resources can be most effectively deployed to achieve its revised aims.
Mr. Timms: As announced last December, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plans to close its offices in Galashiels and Hawick so that it can operate more effectively by consolidating work elsewhere. HMRC's aim is to redeploy the staff who currently work in the Galashiels and Hawick offices.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will arrange for a reply to be sent by the director at the tax credit office in Preston to the hon. Member for Walsall North's letters of 12 January and 26 March 2009 on a constituent, ref CSSG22 TM6 2009/01 001605 TIMP DJ. 
Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs have advised me that they called my hon. Friend's constituent on 24 April 2009 and will send my hon. Friend a full reply shortly. The Department apologises for the delay in doing so.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people whose personal data was lost by HM Revenue and Customs in 2007 who have subsequently been affected by identity theft. 
Mr. Timms: HMRC are in regular contact with the banks, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies in order to ensure that any fraudulent activity relating to data loss is identified as soon as possible should it occur. There has been no evidence to suggest any fraudulent activity has occurred as a result of the personal data lost by HM Revenue and Customs in 2007.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has to transfer services from Scotland to other areas of the UK; what locations are being retained by HMRC in Scotland; and what functions these offices will fulfil. 
Mr. Timms: As part of the reorganisation of its business and estate across the whole of the UK, HMRC is retaining offices in the following locations in Scotland: Aberdeen; Bathgate; Cumbernauld; Dundee; East Kilbride; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Glenrothes; Inverness; Irvine; Kirkcaldy; Lerwick; Livingston; Paisley; Ullapool.
HMRC's businesses will consolidate work in these locations in line with their business plans. All HMRC's major business streams, dealing with personal and business taxpayers and tax credit claimants, are represented in Scotland and will continue to be so. There are no plans to transfer work from Scotland to other areas of the UK. However, inquiry centre services, offering a face to face service to HMRC customers, will be retained in all locations where they are currently offered, in Scotland and elsewhere.
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