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Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Treasury spent £12,812 in 2007-08 and £12,564 in 2008-09 on the provision, supply and maintenance of potted plants displayed in the common areas of 1 Horse Guards Road, including the external courtyards, the reception of the building and some office spaces.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the relationship between the enforcement of fiscal rules and levels of public debt. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with (a) Equitable Life pensioners, (b) representatives of the company, (c) the Parliamentary Ombudsman and (d) others on Equitable Life . 
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) was required to make payments to Abbey National and ING Direct in order to transfer retail deposits, up to the FSCS deposit compensation limit, from Bradford and Bingley and the UK subsidiaries of certain Icelandic banks. In addition, the FSCS is paying compensation directly to retail
depositors with the UK branch of Landsbanki and the London Scottish Bank in accordance with the scheme rules.
The FSCS is ordinarily financed by levies on the financial services industry collected in accordance with the scheme rules. However, in order for the FSCS to make the above payments the Treasury has provided loans to the FSCS.
Details of the above compensation payments including Treasury's loans to the FSCS are set out in the Budget report published on 22 April 2009. The amount outstanding on the Treasury's loans to the FSCS as at 31 March 2009 will be published in the Treasury's Resource Accounts for 2008-09.
The FSCS also paid additional amounts on behalf of the Government and the Icelandic deposit-guarantee scheme to ensure that retail depositors with the UK branch of Landsbanki and the London Scottish Bank were fully compensated. Funds to meet this expenditure have also been provided to the FSCS, by the Treasury.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: HM Revenue and Customs can only provide the analysis of the proportion of residents in Merseyside and Crosby who have Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) at disproportionate cost. However, regional ISA statistics are published on the HMRC website at:
Mark Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will establish an inquiry into the events leading to and following the failure of Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander (Isle of Man); and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander Isle of Man (KSF IOM) is not a subsidiary of KSF in the UK, but of the Icelandic parent company. Oversight of KSF IOM is the responsibility of the Isle of Mans Financial Supervision Commission and therefore the question of a review would be primarily a matter for the Isle of Man Government.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the conditions necessary for the lowering of borrowing costs; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce the cost of Government borrowing. 
The Governments debt management objective is to minimise, over the long term, the cost of meeting the Governments financing needs, taking into account risk, while ensuring that debt management policy is consistent with the aims of monetary policy.
The Government sets the UK Debt Management Office (DMO) an annual remit to meet its financing requirements consistent with this policy.
John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Child Benefit Office in Washington plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Edinburgh West of 29 April and 10 June 2009 on his constituent Miss Laura Grieve. 
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on small and medium-sized businesses of the ending of transitional relief for business rates from April 2009 under the Non-Domestic Rating (Chargeable Amounts) England Regulations 2004. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 28 October 2008, Official Report, column 888W, on non-domestic rates: valuation, whether (a) micro wind turbines and (b) small-scale solar or photovoltaic cells will be (i) liable, (ii) valued and (iii) taxed for business rates as part of the 2010 revaluation process. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Micro generation plant and machinery, including micro wind turbines and small-scale solar or photovoltaic cells, installed on or before 31 March 2010 are, in principle, liable to be included in the revalued rateable values due to come into force on 1 April 2010.
In practical terms, very basic micro generation plant, particularly small micro wind turbines and small-scale solar or photovoltaic cells, add very little if any to the annual rental value of a property and will therefore have negligible impact on the rateable value even when rateable.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what role the Shareholder Executive has in the Operational Efficiency Programme review of (a) the Met Office and (b) other trading funds; and whether (i) Ministers and (ii) officials (A) have met or (B) plan to meet private sector stakeholders as part of the review. 
Mr. Byrne: The Shareholder Executive acts as adviser to HMT with respect to the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) and leads the review process for individual assets. This is the case with Met Office and other trading funds. Both Ministers and officials have met, and will continue to meet, with private sector stakeholders as part of the OEP process.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what projections for UK pensioner income from funded pensions and savings underlie the projections for pension credit expenditure in Table 4.1 on page 36 of the Long-term Public Finance Report of March 2008; 
Mr. Byrne: A breakdown of the components of the state pension expenditure projections shown in the Long-term Public Finance Report and information on the underlying assumptions is published on the Department for Work and Pensions website at
The Long-term Public Finance Report is based only on the potential impact of demographic change on the public finances over the coming decades, and does not make assumptions on future changes to the levels of savings or pension contributions.
Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2009, Official Report, column 444W, on HM Revenue and Customs: closures, what the cost is of the improvements to HM Revenue and Customs IT systems referred to in the Answer; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: HMRC has a programme of continuous improvement to its IT systems, which includes the improvement referred to in my previous answer. This year, HMRC is investing 6 per cent. of its departmental budget of £4 billion in improving and enhancing its IT systems. The key aspects of the improvement programme are detailed in the 2009-10 HMRC Business Plan published on the HMRC website.
Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response time has been agreed between the District Valuer and HM Revenue and Customs to assess the value of the Seaton Delaval Hall estate for the purpose of offers in lieu. 
Mr. Timms: Under the terms of the Service Level Agreement between Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Valuation Office Agency the target is to report formal inheritance tax cases within an average of 80 working days but complex cases can take longer. The district valuer is giving this particular case urgent attention.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons his Department does not hold information on the number of claims for non-domiciled status for tax purposes which have been (a) granted and (b) refused. 
Mr. Timms: Under the self assessment tax regime, individuals who are not domiciled in the UK can claim the remittance basis of taxation. If they do so, HMRC may accept that return or they may open an inquiry into the domicile issue. As a result of that inquiry the individual and HMRC may agree the domicile was correct or incorrect. There is no central record of the number of these inquiries where domicile was considered.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was collected in amusement machine licence duty in respect of each category of amusement machine in each year since its inception. 
Information on AMLD receipts broken down by machine category is not available. The total annual monthly receipts from amusement machine licence duty can be found in the HM Revenue and Customs Betting and Gaming Statistical Bulletin, which is available from the HMRC website address at:
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the proportion of income tax relief on pension contributions which will accrue to (a) 45 per cent. taxpayers and (b) 40 per cent. taxpayers in 2011-12; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the Exchequer of the income tax exemption of pension contributions as a result of the introduction of the 45 per cent. tax rate from 2011-12 in the first 12 months of operation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The Government announced that the introduction in April 2011 of a 45 per cent. top rate of income tax will be replaced by a 50 per cent. rate applying to income over £150,000 from April 2010. This was accompanied by an announcement that tax relief on pension contributions will be restricted for those with incomes over £150,000. Relief will be tapered away so that for those with incomes of £180,000 and over it is worth 20 per cent. the same as to a basic rate taxpayer.
It is estimated that in 2011-12, around 13 per cent. of tax relief on individual and employee pension contributions will accrue to additional higher rate taxpayers and 49 per cent. will accrue to higher rate taxpayers.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2009, Official Report, columns 982-83W, on taxation: rebates, what the longest time taken by HM Revenue and Customs to process an application for a tax refund was in the last 12 months. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 27 April 2009, Official Report, columns 1049-50W, on the Valuation Office, if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting of (a) the electronic capture of hard copy records project board and (b) the installation of a geographical information system project board. 
However, progress on each of the projects has been published in the VOAs Annual Report and Forward Plan and has been reported in answer to previous questions given to the hon. Member on 5 June 2008, Official Report, column 1086W and to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), on 27 April 2009, Official Report, column 1050W.
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