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10 Mar 2010 : Column 331W—continued

Rolling Stock

Mr. Leech: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what plans he has to provide additional diesel trains for rail services in the North of England. [321083]

Chris Mole: The Department for Transport has agreed with Northern Rail that 10 diesel vehicles formerly deployed on the Oldham Loop will be used to lengthen certain train services. Discussions with Northern and East Midlands Trains are in progress with a view to providing further additional diesel vehicles on trains serving northern cities.

Thameslink Railway Line

Patrick Hall: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the overall increase in capacity which will result from implementation of the Thameslink Programme. [321210]

Chris Mole: The Department for Transport's current forecasts indicate that, on completion, the Thameslink Programme will increase the capacity of train services into the central London section of the Thameslink route by over 30,000 seats in each peak period.

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Banks: Loans

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information (a) Royal Bank of Scotland and (b) Halifax Bank of Scotland provided to his Department on 6 to 7 October 2008 on the extent of their holdings of sub-prime assets. [321044]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: In October 2008 HM Treasury announced comprehensive measures to ensure the stability of the financial system including capital investments in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) and Lloyds TSB totaling £37 billion.

Ahead of this announcement the Tripartite Authorities (HM Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England) collected relevant information in line with their memorandum of understanding.

Detailed information on assets is a matter for each company's management to disclose in their audited annual report and accounts, in accordance with market disclosure requirements.

Civil Servants: Relocation

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on the implementation of recommendations made by Sir Michael Lyons in his review of public sector relocation. [321241]

Mr. Byrne: Ministers held conversations during the initial implementation of Sir Michael Lyons' recommendations resulting in departmental relocation targets being established. Departments have made good progress towards these targets and PBR 2009 announced that nearly 21,000 civil service posts had been relocated out of London and the south east.

Treasury Ministers regularly meet ministerial colleagues at other Departments to discuss many topics, including the implementation of Sir Michael Lyons' recommendations.

Departmental Paper

Martin Horwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) suppliers and (b) brands of (i) paper and (ii) paper products his Department uses; and what his Department's policy is on the procurement of those materials. [320023]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Treasury's policy is to purchase paper and paper products that meet or exceed the Buy Sustainable-Quick Wins standards. In 2008-09 the Treasury bought copier paper from the following suppliers:

From Office Depot

From Banner Business Supplies

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Paper for publications was sourced via the print supplier. The specification was evolution satin 250gsm and 130gsm, 75 per cent. recycled. Paper hygiene products are supplied by the Treasury's Facilities Management Contractors (Exchequer Partnership and Mitie Managed Services).


Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2009, Official Report, column 1145W, on Government departments: hotels, if he will place in the Library a copy of the summary data on bookings made under the Expotel facility in respect of his Department in 2009. [318310]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The information requested has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Public Sector Relocation Independent Review

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 772W, on the Public Sector Relocation Independent Review, what the (a) title and (b) scope was of each dataset provided to the Review; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each dataset, redacting personally identifiable information. [319642]

Ian Pearson: The datasets were supplied to the Lyons Inquiry team by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) when preparations were being made for the Council Tax Revaluation 2007 in England, which was postponed in 2005. This Inquiry team was separate from, and unconnected to, the Public Sector Relocation Review team, also led by Sir Michael Lyons. The datasets included the following information for each dwelling:

As was stated in my answer on 11 January 2010, the datasets contained property attribute and sales data at individual property level. This is information which, for the protection of individual taxpayers, cannot be released into the public domain by virtue of s18(1) of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 and the Data Protection Act 1988.

Disclosure of estimates of value and confidence scores is also prevented by the above legislation. Any redaction of personal information would leave just property address and council tax band information at the time the data were supplied. Current council tax band information is available on the VOA's website.

Social Security Benefits: Uprating

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the contribution of the Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society of 10 December 2009, Official Report, column 523, on benefits uprating, if he
10 Mar 2010 : Column 334W
will introduce an immediate increase in the additional pension in line with January's retail price inflation figures; and if he will make a statement. [318632]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 1 March 2010]: I have been asked to reply.

No. Additional pension is up-rated annually in April by reference to the September retail prices index. Any changes in prices in the year to September 2010 will be taken into account in the 2011 up-rating.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information related as directly as possible to Stroud constituency, the effects on that constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2000. [321477]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Neighbourhood Statistics Service provides a wide range of statistical information at parliamentary constituency level, taken from the 2001 census and other sources. This service is available on the National Statistics website at

The Government have put in place a broad programme of reform since 1997. Over the decade to 2007, the economic performance of all parts of the UK has improved considerably.

The global recession has had a negative impact on economic activity in all parts of the UK. However, the economy was starting from a position of strength and is actively supported by policies implemented by the Government, including the fiscal stimulus and a significant package of support for those out of work.

In Stroud people are benefiting from this investment. Over the second half of 2009, nearly 430 people moved off of the claimant count each month on average. The claimant count fell for three consecutive months from September and now stands at nearly 5 per cent. below its August level. Long-term unemployment at the beginning of 2010 is nearly 65 per cent. lower than in 2000.

Tax Allowances: Charities

Mr. Baron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the effect on tax exemptions for charities of EU state aid rules. [321239]

Ian Pearson: HM Treasury receives representations on a wide range of charity issues. Treasury officials continue to have regular discussions with the charity sector that cover a wide range of issues including European law.

Taxation: National Lottery

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much lottery duty has been paid by the national lottery in each of the last three years. [321055]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Information about lottery duty revenue collected by HMRC is available at:-

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The following table shows figures for revenue collected from lottery duty in each of the last three years for which final data are available.

Lottery duty
Calendar year £000







Valuation Office Agency

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 781W, on the Valuation Office, if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting of the (a) electronic capture of hard copy records project board and (b) installation of a geographical information system project board, redacting the commercially sensitive elements. [319650]

Ian Pearson: The minutes, suitably redacted, will be placed in the Library of the House by 31 March 2010.


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment HM Revenue and Customs has made of the merits of making submission of value added tax returns online voluntary instead of compulsory from April 2010. [321093]

Mr. Timms: Lord Carter of Coles' Review of HMRC Online Services recommended the universal electronic delivery of business tax returns; available at:

The Government accepted Lord Carter's recommendations.

Filing value added tax returns online from April 2010 is compulsory for those businesses with a turnover above £100,000 or newly registering businesses. Businesses already registered for VAT as at 1 April 2010 with a turnover of less than £100,000 (excluding VAT) may file their VAT return on paper or online.

Compulsory online filing of business tax returns will save businesses time and money, and allow HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to deliver better customer service alongside efficiency savings.

HMRC has consulted widely in preparation of moving the filing of business tax returns online, including a three month public consultation on the equality impact assessment; available at:

An impact assessment was published in March 2009, available at:

A summary of responses to the consultation was published in November 2009, and is available at:

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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of interpreters working for his Department in Afghanistan (a) have been recruited from the local population and (b) are British nationals; and if he will make a statement. [321154]

Bill Rammell: The proportion of interpreters working for the Ministry of Defence in Afghanistan can be split into three distinct groupings. As at 5 March 2010, 91 per cent. are locally employed civilians, 4 per cent. are UK nationals (a mix of civilian contracted and UK military linguists) and the remaining 5 per cent. are civilian contracted third party nationals. The proportions stated are subject to change.

Armed Forces: Discharges

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been discharged from each of the armed forces for alcohol abuse since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [320771]

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been administratively discharged from each of the armed forces for alcohol abuse in each year since 2000. [321284]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 5 March 2010]: Between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2008 there were 28 Army personnel and 15 RAF personnel medically discharged from service with a principal condition of 'mental and behavioural disorder due to the use of alcohol'. There were no naval service personnel medically discharged with this principal condition during this period. Statistical data in respect of medical discharges for 2009 are currently being compiled.

With regard to administrative discharge, this information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

All three services run robust programmes designed to raise awareness and promote the message of sensible drinking. These programmes address all serving personnel; there are also additional measures in place to assist commanding officers in countering the potential danger to their people. The sale of alcohol and individual consumption limits are regulated particularly, but not only, when personnel are serving operationally. These controls are supported by disciplinary measures where necessary. Individuals identified as being at risk receive counselling and welfare support. This can include attendance on preventative early intervention programmes designed to alert them to the harm that alcohol can cause to themselves and others. More serious cases are treated through specialist medical and psychological treatment and rehabilitation, including where appropriate as inpatients.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people were discharged from each of the armed forces on grounds of mental illness under each international classification of diseases code in each year since 2001. [320774]

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