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14 Sep 2009 : Column 2133W—continued


14 Sep 2009 : Column 2134W

Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what external legal costs the Valuation Office Agency has incurred on cases relating to the new retrospective business rates being levied on firms in ports; and which legal firms and chambers have been instructed in such cases. [291024]

Mr. Timms: There are no new retrospective business rates being levied on firms in ports. The statutory provisions under which the occupiers of land and buildings in ports are being assessed to non-domestic rates was enacted by Parliament in 1988; and the principle that assessments may be back-dated to the first day of the current list in appropriate circumstances has been a feature of that legislation since its first enactment. The Valuation Office Agency has so far incurred £18,943.71 in external legal costs in cases arising out of the Valuation Office Agency's review of port hereditaments.

These costs are all Counsel's fees, and the Valuation Office Agency has instructed Counsel practising from Landmark Chambers, Wilberforce Chambers and 1 Crown Office Row.

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which QCs have been hired by the Valuation Office Agency in relation to valuation hearings and tribunals relating to the new retrospective business rates being levied on firms in ports. [291025]

Mr. Timms: There are no new retrospective business rates being levied on firms in ports. The statutory provisions under which the occupiers of land and buildings in ports are being assessed to non-domestic rates was enacted by Parliament in 1988; and the principle that assessments may be back-dated to the first day of the current list in appropriate circumstances has been a feature of that legislation since its first enactment. The only Queen's Counsel who has so far been instructed on behalf of the Valuation Office Agency in relation to Valuation Tribunal hearings arising out of the Valuation Office Agency's review of port hereditaments is Jonathan Karas QC.

Valuation Office: Data Protection

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Valuation Office Agency's policy is on whether property attribute data on individual dwellings are treated as personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998. [290969]

Mr. Timms: The Valuation Office Agency treats all domestic property attribute data as personal data.

In doing so it follows the guidance issued by the Information Commissioner which is available at:

Valuation Office: Disclosure of Information

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Valuation Office Agency's freedom of information disclosure log for December 2006, what the Agency's policy is on using information from informers. [290970]


14 Sep 2009 : Column 2135W

Mr. Timms: The Valuation Office Agency's policy on using information from informers is set out in Section 10 of their Customer Services Manual which is available at:

Valuation Office: ICT

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) the Valuation Office Agency and (b) contractors on its behalf have spent (i) in total and (ii) since September 2005 on the automated valuation model. [290968]

Mr. Timms: Expenditure by (a) the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to secure the investment in its automated valuation model (AVM) technology, to support a range of its activities, has amounted to approximately

These figures include payments made to the VOA's IT supplier, Capgemini, a proportion of which covers their expenditure with third party IT suppliers (under separate contracts). As the VOA is not party to these separate contracts, it is not possible to provide the amount spent by (b) contractors working on their behalf.

Valuation Office: Pay

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to page 30 of the Valuation Office Agency's Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09, HC 521, what the reasons were for the level of the increase in the salary including performance pay of the Chief Executive; and what that increase was in percentage terms. [291010]

Mr. Timms: The pay and remuneration for the chief executive is set in the context and the parameters of the overall senior civil service (SCS) pay award for each year and is determined by the pay committee of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) acting in accordance with pay award and HMRC pay policy. The SCS pay award is determined annually by the independent Senior Salaries Review Board. Comparatives of pay and remuneration for all directors of the agency to the previous year are shown in the Financial Statements, available at:

VAT: Lighting

David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the European VAT agreement relating to light emitting diode lightbulbs; and if he will make a statement. [291108]

Mr. Timms: No further discussions have taken place at EU level regarding reduced rates of VAT since the March 2009 ECOFIN.


14 Sep 2009 : Column 2136W

Work and Pensions

Attendance Allowance

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 115W, on disability living allowance, how many applications for disability living allowance in respect of those aged 65 years or more were reprocessed as a claim for attendance allowance in the last 12 months. [291071]

Jonathan Shaw: The information is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Crisis Loans

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people resident in (a) England and Wales, (b) each region in England and (c) each parliamentary constituency in England and Wales (i) applied for and (ii) received a crisis loan in each quarter of 2008-09. [290849]

Helen Goodman [holding answer 9 September 2009]: The available information is in the following tables.

Information is not available for parliamentary constituencies.

Crisis loan applications received in (a) England and Wales and (b) each region in England in 2008-09 by quarter
Thousand
Area Quarter 1 (April 2008 to June 2008) Quarter 2 (July 2008 to September 2008) Quarter 3 (October 2008 to December 2008) Quarter 4 (January 2009 to March 2009)

England and Wales

534.7

586.9

615.7

744.4

East of England

45.2

48.1

51.2

68.7

East Midlands

28.1

28.4

32.9

47.1

London

57.1

61.5

67.5

84.2

North East

48.0

55.4

55.6

56.0

North West

117.2

137.5

144.6

172.6

South East

75.4

73.5

76.0

92.2

South West

29.3

33.7

31.1

37.2

West Midlands

52.6

64.4

67.1

77.4

Yorkshire and the Humber

44.4

45.6

48.5

62.2



14 Sep 2009 : Column 2137W
Crisis loan initial awards made in (a) England and Wales and (b) each region in England in 2008-09 by quarter
Thousand
Area Quarter 1 (April 2008 to June 2008) Quarter 2 (July 2008 to September 2008) Quarter 3 (October 2008 to December 2008) Quarter 4 (January 2009 to March 2009)

England and Wales

356.3

392.9

420.8

524.2

East of England

28.5

30.2

34.7

49.1

East Midlands

17.1

17.5

22.2

34.1

London

38.7

39.9

41.9

54.6

North East

33.8

38.8

38.5

38.4

North West

80.7

98.9

102.6

125.3

South East

53.2

50.7

52.6

63.5

South West

19.7

23.1

22.0

25.7

West Midlands

33.3

41.7

45.9

57.4

Yorkshire and the Humber

26.2

26.2

32.1

42.5

Notes:
1. The information provided is Management Information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official/National Statistics, but in this case, we only have Management Information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official/National statistics and there are some issues with the data, for example, it does not include applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the social fund computer system.
2. Awards are initial awards only and do not include awards made on review.
3. Figures are for applications received, not for the number of people who made an application, and for initial awards made, not the number of people who received an initial award. (Some people made more than one application or received more than one initial award.)
Source:
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.

Employment Schemes: Disabled

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what employment programmes are available for disabled people who are out of work but are (a) not eligible for and (b) not in receipt of (i) jobseeker's allowance and (ii) employment and support allowance. [290933]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 9 September 2009]: Under some circumstances, some disabled people not in work and not in receipt of incapacity benefits, jobseeker's allowance or employment and support allowance, are eligible to access specialist disability provision, which includes Disability Employment Advisers, WORKSTEP, Work Preparation, the Job Introduction Scheme and Residential Training Colleges.

Access to Work is also available to disabled people out of work, regardless of their benefit status, to meet the needs that may arise when attending a job interview. If they are successful in securing this or any job then they become eligible for the full breadth of support the programme can offer, depending on their support needs in relation to their job.

Employment: Learning Disability

John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the 400 employment opportunities to be created for people with learning disabilities by her Department as identified in the report, Valuing Employment Now, will be in (a) each region of England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland. [291184]

Jonathan Shaw: The 400 employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities will be offered in departmental offices, including Jobcentres, Pension, Disability and Carers Centres and Corporate and Shared
14 Sep 2009 : Column 2138W
Services offices across Great Britain. We do not have expected distributions of opportunities by region or country.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not have any offices in Northern Ireland, so none of the 400 employment opportunities will be offered there.


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