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6 May 2009 : Column 176W—continued

On 12 January the Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise announced a package of measures to address the cash flow, credit and capital needs of businesses. This is an important element of wider Real Help for Business that provides targeted Government support to businesses. Further specific support was announced on 27 January aimed at freeing up lending of more than £2 billion for the automotive industry. Information about these measures is available through Business Link at

BERR is engaging with SME business representative bodies and UK banks about the issues affecting business during current economic difficulties, specifically through regular meetings of Small Business and Small Business Finance Forum.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much stamp duty was paid on average by purchasers of (a) a Right to Buy purchase council house, (b) a Right to Acquire purchase, (c) a Social HomeBuy purchase of the full equity and (d) a First Time Buyer Initiative purchase in the most recent period for which figures are available. [272418]

Ian Pearson: Information on the average amount of stamp duty land tax paid by purchases under these schemes is not available.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate has been made of the number of first-time homebuyers who paid stamp duty land tax in each year since 1997. [273348]

Ian Pearson: The information is not available.


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Tax Yields

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much taxation was raised in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [272490]

Yvette Cooper: The latest estimates of current receipts for the UK are published in table C6 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report (HC 407). We do not hold information on the aggregate amount of taxation raised in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Taxation

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds on the top rates of (a) income tax and (b) social taxes in OECD economies. [273103]

Angela Eagle: The main source of information for international comparisons of income tax and social security contributions in OECD economies are publications produced annually by the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA) of the OECD in particular the ‘OECD Tax Database’ and the ‘OECD Taxing Wages’.

The OECD Tax Database is available on the OECD website at:

The OECD Taxing Wages publication is available at:

Taxation: Construction

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the average time taken by HM Revenue and Customs to (a) register small and medium-sized enterprises in the construction industry and (b) issue a unique taxpayer reference number. [272314]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs currently register the vast majority of Construction Industry scheme applications for individuals within six to seven working days. The unique taxpayer reference number is then dispatched to individuals via an automated process within the next seven working days.

Trade Unions

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Castle Point of 23 June 2009, Official Report, column 129W, on trade unions, what office facilities are provided for the exclusive use of each of the recognised trade union in (a) his Department, (b) the Crown Estate, (c) HM Revenue and Customs and (d) the Valuation Office Agency; and what the notional monetary value of such provision is. [272392]

Angela Eagle: The information requested is in the following table:


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Department HM Treasury Facilities

HM Treasury

Office provided exclusively for the use of recognised trade union staff

HMRC

No central record of exclusive office use held

VOA

No exclusive use of office facilities provided


No information is available on notional annual value.

The Crown Estate is not an Agency of the Treasury.

Valuation Office: Conferences

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1629W, on the Valuation Office: overseas visits, if he will place in the Library a copy of the presentation and handouts presented by the representative of the Valuation Office Agency at the Australian Valuer General, Registrar General and Surveyor General's Conference in Adelaide. [272387]

Mr. Timms: A copy of the presentation, made by a representative of the Valuation Office Agency, is available to view online at the Government of Australia Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure website at

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1629W, on the Valuation Office: overseas visits, if he will place in the Library a copy of the presentation and handouts presented by the representative of the Valuation Office Agency at the Mass Appraisal Valuation Symposium in Toronto. [272388]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) on 12 November 2008, Official Report, column 1261W.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the presentation and handouts on (a) practical problems in the valuation of non-residential properties and (b) steps for a successful revaluation presented by the representative of the Valuation Office Agency at the International Property Tax Institute in Pretoria in March 2009. [272389]

Mr. Timms: A copy of the presentation will be placed in the Library.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1629W, on the Valuation Office: overseas visits, what seminars officials of the Valuation Office Agency attended during the visit to the Gartner's Symposium/IT(xpo) in Cannes. [272472]


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Angela Eagle: One person visited Cannes to attend the Gartner's Symposium/IT (xpo). Attendance at Symposiums and conferences provides benefit to both the Agency and the individual, particularly in terms of keeping them abreast of developments and innovation in IT.

The seminars attended were:

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the presentation and handouts presented by the representative of the Valuation Office Agency at the European Valuation Standards 2009 conference held in Warsaw on 1 April 2009. [272493]

Mr. Timms: A copy of the presentation and handouts will be placed in the Library.

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street: Air Conditioning

Grant Shapps: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether 10 Downing Street is equipped with an air conditioning system with an output greater than 250kW; and whether the air conditioning system in 10 Downing Street has been inspected under the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007; [272115]

(2) how much has been spent on carrying out inspections of air conditioning systems within 10 Downing Street in accordance with the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 since the Regulations came into force. [272119]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Kevin Brennan) on 30 April 2009, Official Report, column 1462W.


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10 Downing Street: Official Hospitality

Mr. Hands: To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions political events have been hosted at 10 Downing Street in each year since 1997; which organisation hosted each such event; and how much each such organisation was charged for each such event. [272042]

The Prime Minister: As was the practice under previous Administrations and in accordance with the ministerial code, I have hosted a number of political events at Downing street. The costs for these events are met by the Labour party. Information on official and charity receptions held at 10 Downing street is published by means of an annual list as soon as it is ready at the end of the financial year.

Cricket

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Prime Minister if he will hold a reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the victory of the England women’s cricket team in the women’s cricket World Cup tournament in Australia. [268947]

The Prime Minister: Yes. My Office has contacted the England and Wales Cricket Board to arrange an appropriate date.

Damian McBride

Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister to whom Damian McBride reported in the post he occupied before his recent resignation; what performance reporting procedures applied to him; what his job description was; what (a) pay band and (b) pay range he was in; and if he will make a statement. [269835]

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the (a) job title, (b) main responsibilities and (c) annual salary of Damian McBride was at the time of his resignation; [270877]

(2) whether the post formerly occupied by Damian McBride was advertised externally prior to Mr. McBride’s appointment to it; [270878]

(3) whether there are plans to make an appointment to fill the post left vacant by the resignation of Damian McBride. [270880]

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Prime Minister on what date Damian McBride was appointed as a special adviser; what criteria were used in the selection procedures to fill the post; what reasons Mr. McBride provided for his resignation; and if he will make a statement. [270769]

The Prime Minister: Special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. Updated information will be published in the usual way.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister when he was first informed of the activities of Damian McBride that led to his departure from his office; whether he requested
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Mr. McBride's resignation; whether Mr. McBride will be subject to disciplinary proceedings; whether Mr. McBride will receive financial compensation; what discussions he has had with (a) the Cabinet Secretary, (b) Cabinet colleagues and (c) others about the departure of Mr. McBride; and if he will make a statement. [269836]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the press briefing given my spokesman on 14 April. A transcript of this is available on the No. 10 website at:

Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of each letter he wrote to hon. Members about the activities of Damian McBride; and if he will make a statement. [269837]

The Prime Minister: The letters referred to were sent on a private and personal basis to the individuals concerned.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Prime Minister how many emails to (a) governmental and (b) non-governmental recipients were sent by Damian McBride from his Government email account between 1 September 2008 and 11 April 2009. [270847]

The Prime Minister: Civil servants, including special advisers are required to abide by their respective codes of conduct and guidance on the use of official resources.

Departmental Email

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will install Pretty Good Privacy encryption software and an associated email address to enable members of the public to correspond with Downing Street securely; [270293]

(2) for what reason the redesigned Downing Street website does not have a functioning contact email address or contact form; [269893]

(3) for how long the email Number 10 facility on the Downing Street website has been unavailable. [269909]

The Prime Minister: Enhancements have been made to the No. 10 email facility and an updated version is now available. The systems comply with the Government security requirements.


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