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21 July 2009 : Column 1341W—continued

Business: Location

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of companies which relocated their headquarters from the UK to countries outside the United Kingdom in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [287822]

Mr. Timms: The Government are aware of a small number of British companies moving the tax residence
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of their parent company out of the UK over the last 12 months. Activity appears to have slowed since 2008, with only three groups moving in 2009.

The Government have committed to reforming the way in which the UK taxes foreign corporate profits. From the first of this month, a wide ranging dividend exemption was introduced which enhances the UK's competitive position, allowing companies, including UK headquarters, to bring profits back to the UK tax free.

The Government have also committed to reforming the controlled foreign company regime; these rules are often cited as a key reason for groups relocating. In consultation with business we aim to modernise the rules to enhance the UK's competitive position while protecting the UK tax base.

Child Benefit

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many nationals of each A8 country were receiving child benefit for a child or children living in another EEA member state at the end of June 2009; and in respect of how many such children child benefit was being paid on that date. [288616]

Mr. Timms: Around 7.5 million families are currently claiming child benefit for around 13 million children. Out of that total, at the end of June 2009, there were 25,494 ongoing child benefit awards to A8 nationals recorded as receiving child benefit for 41,740 children living in another EEA member state. These awards are made by virtue of EC social security co-ordinating regulations which the UK has administered since it joined the European Economic Community in 1973.

The estimated breakdown by nationality is as follows.

Country Number of awards at 30 June 2009 Number of children included in awards

Czech Republic

158

267

Estonia

16

28

Hungary

69

112

Latvia

252

330

Lithuania

721

1057

Poland

22,805

37,433

Slovakia

1,470

2,508

Slovenia

3

5

Total

25,494

41,740


Child Trust Fund: Yorkshire and the Humber

Jon Trickett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children in (a) Yorkshire and the Humber and (b) Hemsworth constituency had received child trust fund payments by the latest date for which figures are available. [288661]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for City of York (Hugh Bayley) on 13 July 2009, Official Report, column 80W.

Consultants

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2009, Official Report, column 983W, on consultants, for
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which assignments his Department and its agencies have engaged external consultants in the last 12 months; and what the cost to his Department has been of each such assignment. [289099]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the former Exchequer Secretary (Angela Eagle) on 24 April 2009, Official Report, column 983W to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable). The Treasury does not hold a central record of the individual assignments for which external consultants are engaged and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Contracts

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value is of the contracts awarded through OGCbuying. solutions to (a) Drivas Jonas, (b) GVA Grimley and (c) Lambert Smith Hampton for (i) negotiation of rating assessments and (ii) appeals against valuation assessments. [284931]

Ian Pearson: Buying Solutions does not hold the data requested.

Council Tax: Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a privacy impact assessment was undertaken in relation to the Valuation Office Agency's council tax banding support tool. [288978]

Mr. Timms: No. The tool was developed before privacy impact assessment became mandatory and the project posed no risk to the privacy of an individual.

Damian McBride

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date he last met Mr. Damian McBride in the course of his official duties. [287903]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not met Damian McBride since he retired as a special adviser on 11 April 2009.

Departmental Ethnic Minority Staff

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people from ethnic minority backgrounds are employed by his Department. [287946]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Treasury Group reports on staff diversity annually in its departmental report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House and on the Treasury's website.

Departmental Press

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) newspapers and (b) periodicals are delivered to the private office of each Minister in his Department; and at what cost in the latest period for which figures are available. [279427]


21 July 2009 : Column 1344W

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The following list shows the newspapers and periodicals provided for Treasury Ministers in May 2009 at a cost of £923.39.

Departmental Procurement

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes have been made to his Department's (a) office equipment and (b) stationery purchasing policy in the last six months. [285319]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Treasury has made no changes to its purchasing policies for office equipment or stationery in the last six months.

Drinking Water

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much his Department spent on water coolers in each of the last six months; [287956]

(2) how much his Department spent on bottled water in each of the last six months. [287952]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: For information on spending on bottled water, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the former Exchequer Secretary (Kitty Ussher) on 11 June 2009, Official Report, column 979W. The cost of water coolers for the 2008-09 financial year was £2,224, equating to £185 per calendar month.

Equality

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent steps his Department has taken to increase levels of equality for employees in his Department. [287957]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Treasury's Diversity Strategy 2009-11 was launched in the Department on 3 July 2009 and sets out what recent steps have been taken to increase equality, particularly in recruitment, performance management and talent management.


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In addition to this work, the Treasury's current equality schemes, available on the Treasury's website, detail how the Department promotes equality of opportunity for all.

Equitable Life Assurance Society: Compensation

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2009, Official Report, column 420W, on Equitable Life, and the Oral Statement of 15 January 2009, Official Report, columns 377-80, if he will publish the estimate his Department made of the length of time it would take to make compensation payments as recommended by the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement. [288635]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are committed to delivering justice to the policyholders of Equitable Life and to delivering an ex-gratia payments scheme that corrects the injustices which have been accepted by Government. They accept that speed is of the essence for establishing a payments scheme.

Sir John Chadwick has been commissioned by Government to provide advice on matters arising from its response to the ombudsman's report and findings of maladministration resulting from injustice that the Government have accepted. The Government would of course consider Sir John's advice once it is published and make ex-gratia payments to policyholders as it decides appropriate.

It is important that Sir John progresses with urgency, but that he also provides the right advice, especially in light of the enormous amount of information Sir John must go through.

I have today issued a written ministerial statement updating the House on the progress of Sir John's work. Both the Government and Sir John have committed to providing regular updates on progress.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 858W, on Equitable Life: compensation, when he expects the ex-gratia payment scheme for older people who have lost money with Equitable Life to commence; and if he will make a statement. [288640]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are committed to delivering justice to the policyholders of Equitable Life and to delivering an ex-gratia payments scheme that corrects the injustices which have been accepted by Government.

They have commissioned Sir John Chadwick to review available information and consider a number of issues in relation to determining relative losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders, and their impact. Sir John's work will inform the establishment of an ex-gratia payments scheme.

Sir John is very aware of the need to reach a conclusion on this matter. It is important that he progresses his work with urgency, but that he also provides the right advice, especially in light of the enormous amounts of information that he must go through.

I have today issued a written ministerial statement updating the House on the progress of Sir John's work. Both the Government and Sir John have committed to providing regular updates on progress.


21 July 2009 : Column 1346W

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's long-term plans are for the compensation of those identified by the Parliamentary Ombudsman as having lost money with Equitable Life as a result of failure of the regulatory process. [288814]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are committed to delivering justice to the policyholders of Equitable Life and to delivering an ex-gratia payments scheme that corrects the injustices which have been accepted by Government.

They have commissioned Sir John Chadwick to provide advice on matters arising from its response to the ombudsman's report and findings of maladministration resulting from injustice which the Government have accepted. The Government would make careful consideration of Sir John's advice once it is published and make ex-gratia payments to policyholders as it decides appropriate.

Equitable Life Assurance Society: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) financial and (b) other assistance his Department is providing to pensioners in Coventry who have lost money with Equitable Life. [288816]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are committed to delivering justice to the policyholders of Equitable Life and to delivering an ex-gratia payments scheme that corrects the injustices which have been accepted by Government.

They have commissioned Sir John Chadwick to review available information and consider a number of issues in relation to determining relative losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders, and their impact. His work will inform the establishment of an ex-gratia payments scheme.

Both Sir John and the Government are very aware of the need to reach a conclusion on this matter and work is being progressed with expediency, but at this stage it is not possible to identify the nature of specific assistance that will be provided to specific groups of policyholders.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken in respect of those resident in Coventry who have lost money with Equitable Life. [288817]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are committed to delivering justice to the policyholders of Equitable Life and to delivering an ex-gratia payments scheme that corrects the injustices which have been accepted by Government.

They have commissioned Sir John Chadwick to review available information and consider a number of issues in relation to determining relative losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders, and their impact. His work will inform the establishment of an ex-gratia payments scheme.

Both Sir John and the Government are very aware of the need to reach a conclusion on this matter and work is being progressed with expediency, but at this stage it is not possible to identify the nature of specific assistance that will be provided to specific groups of policyholders.


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