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5 Jan 2010 : Column 211W—continued

Communities and Local Government

Allotments

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has issued guidance to local authorities on the sale by allotment holders in municipal allotments of their surplus produce. [308331]

Barbara Follett: The latest version of "Growing in the Community", the good practice guide for local authority allotment officers, was published by the Local Government Association in March 2008 and includes advice on the sale of produce.

Caravan Sites: Travelling People

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden, of 30 June 2009, Official Report, column 203W, on stop notices: travelling people, if he will change the stop notices rules to allow such notices to be levied against dwellings erected by travellers which are used as dwelling houses. [307008]

Mr. Malik: We have no plans to introduce such a change.

Common Land

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria are used to determine the designation of designated green space or common recreational area as a village green; and what information his Department holds on the number of areas registered as village greens. [307828]

Huw Irranca-Davies: I have been asked to reply.

For land to be registered as town or village green under section 15(1) of the Commons Act 2006, the applicant must broadly demonstrate that the land in question was used by a significant number of the local inhabitants 'as of right' for lawful sports and pastimes for no less than 20 years. Where use 'as of right' has ceased, the application must be brought within a specified period. 'As of right' is an established legal principle which means without permission, force or secrecy.


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Registers of town or village greens are held by local authorities. Research in the late 1980s reported 4,332 registered greens in England, and further research in 2005 suggested an increase of about 115 in the number of registered greens between 1993 and 2005. We therefore estimate the present total number of registered greens to be around 4,500.

Community Relations: Finance

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has allocated to each group in receipt of funding under the Prevent Partnership area-based grant in each local area since 2008. [307749]

Mr. Malik: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening) on 19 June 2009, Official Report, column 509W.

Council Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the monetary value of council tax receipts was in each Government office region in each year since 2006-07. [307880]

Barbara Follett: Details of the council tax collected in each Government Office region (in £ million) in England in each year since 2006-07 are given in the following table.

£ million
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

North East

828

872

902

North West

2,349

2,475

2,570

Yorkshire and the Humber

1,668

1,755

1,835

East Midlands

1,575

1,653

1,738

West Midlands

1,813

1,918

1,996

East of England

2,345

2,484

2,613

London

2,888

3,051

3,171

South East

3,691

3,892

4,098

South West

2,158

2,274

2,395

England

19,315

20,374

21,319


The data are taken from the Quarterly Return of Council Tax and Non-domestic Rates (QRC4) returns completed annually by all billing authorities in England.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the (a) changing of council tax banding multipliers and (b) creation of new council tax bands would require (i) primary and (ii) secondary legislation. [307881]

Barbara Follett: Both the relative proportions between council tax valuation bands, and the number of bands, may be altered by order of the Secretary of State. Such an order must be laid before and approved by resolution of the House of Commons. The relevant provisions are sections 5(4) and 5 (4 A) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether re-banding of properties for the purpose of levying council tax would require a partial or full council tax revaluation. [307882]


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Barbara Follett: The valuation bandings to which individual properties are assigned are, when necessary, changed by the Valuation Office Agency as part of its statutory duty to maintain accurate valuation lists. The allocation of properties to bands differing from those for which section 5 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 provides would not be practicable without a general revaluation.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department and its predecessor made of the merits of transferring responsibility for council tax collection to county councils in two-tier areas in the last 10 years. [308257]

Barbara Follett: No assessment has been made.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to amend the Local Government Act 2003 to allow (a) county councils and (b) waste disposal authorities to operate local council tax discounts. [308263]

Barbara Follett: The Government have no plans to allow county councils or waste disposal authorities to operate local council tax discounts.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what local council tax discounts are in operation under the Local Government Act 2003. [308264]

Barbara Follett: Details of the types of local council tax discount that were being awarded by billing authorities under the Local Government Act 2003 as at 8 October 2009, the latest date for which figures are available, are listed as follows. Authorities reported they were making local council tax discounts to either individuals or a particular class of taxpayer. The discounts shown may have been awarded by one or more authority.

Particular classes of taxpayer or property

Other discretionary discounts based on individual cases

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department provides to local authorities on the maximum period of time after the issuing of a bill for council tax during which they may pursue payment of that bill. [308330]


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Barbara Follett: Communities and Local Government provides occasional advice through its council tax information letters, which are published on the Department's website. CTIL 1 dated 25 March 2004 provided advice on this issue and is available at the following link.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department issues to local authorities on the number of instalments in which council tax may be collected. [308332]

Barbara Follett: Communities and Local Government provides occasional advice through its council tax information letters, which are published on the Department's website. CTIL 10 dated 10 January 1997 provided advice on instalments and is available at the following link.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 20 October 2009, Official Report, column 1389W, on council housing: finance, if he will place in the Library a copy of the data relating to the gross council tax receipts collected by each local authority in England in cash and real terms for 1997-98. [308384]

Barbara Follett: I have today placed in the Library of the House a table containing details of the gross council tax receipts collected by each local authority in England in 1997-98 in both cash and real terms.

The data are taken from the Quarterly Return of Council Tax and Non-domestic rates returns completed annually by all billing authorities in England and the real terms data are given at 2008-09 prices.

The data for 1997-98 contain information for a number of authorities that are no longer in existence and therefore the data are not strictly comparable with those for subsequent years.

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities may levy credit card (a) fees and (b) surcharges on (i) council tax bills and (ii) parking fines paid by credit card. [308719]

Barbara Follett: The Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2009 prescribes what information is required on, and with, the council tax demand notice (the bill). This does not include credit card (a) fees or (b) surcharges.

The Department for Transport's operational guidance, 'Operational Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy and Enforcement', to local authorities in England on parking policy and enforcement was published in March 2008. The guidance is available to download at

Council Tax: Second Homes

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received on proposals to levy a higher rate of council tax on second homes under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. [307840]


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Barbara Follett: The Department has not received any formal representations on levying higher rates of council tax under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 ('the Act'). The Local Government Association, as selector, is considering proposals submitted under the Act and has received a proposal on this subject from Lewes district council and a proposal from Torridge district council. The Government are co-operating with the selector as it draws up a short-list for the Secretary of State to consider.

Council Tax: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of dwellings have been assigned a (a) dwellinghouse code and (b) value significant code by the Valuation Office Agency. [307832]

Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 142W.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 2 November 2009, Official Report, column 759W, on council tax: valuation, whether the addition of a greenhouse is considered by the Valuation Office Agency to be (a) a material increase and (b) value significant for the purpose of council tax valuation and revaluation. [308393]

Barbara Follett: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to Lord Bates on 6 November 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, column 96W.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what new files on council tax revaluation have been created by his Department since September 2007. [308998]

Barbara Follett: No new files on council tax revaluation have been created since September 2007.


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