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17 Mar 2010 : Column 881W—continued

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons the Valuation Office Agency drew up a rating list in 2005 for port businesses. [322226]

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Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

Valuation officers are required under section 41 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 every five years (starting on 1 April 1990) to compile and then maintain accurate rating lists. New rating lists were therefore required on 1 April 2005 The circumstances leading to the review of the ports were explained in the answer given to him on 2 March 2010, Official Report, column 1153W.

Planning Permission: National Policy Statements

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to publish the guidance to local authorities on National Policy Statements referred to by Baroness Andrews on 18 November 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 1019. [322394]

Mr. Ian Austin: The local authorities guidance will be published in due course.

Preventing Violent Extremism Community Leadership Fund

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what projects and programmes Preventing Violent Extremism funds will be spent in Northamptonshire in 2009-10. [321647]

Mr. Malik: As my hon. Friend will be aware, this Department has, since April 2008, funded local authorities to undertake Prevent work through Area Based Grant, which in line with Government policy is not ring-fenced. This means that local authorities themselves decide how to support and deliver a diverse set of projects and programmes at local level with the Prevent funding provided by this Department. Funding is provided at a unitary or district level. Northampton borough council is receiving a total of £443,122 from 2008-09 to 2010-11, as follows:








The local authority will be able to provide specific information on which projects and programmes are being funded.

Supported Housing: Young People

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of young people under the age of 19 years are living in supported housing schemes; and what the maximum weekly housing benefit payable to such people is. [320880]

Mr. Ian Austin: Figures on the total number of young people living in supported housing schemes are not collected centrally. There is no universal definition of supported housing, the different data sources CLG collects contain information on different types of supported housing (therefore the two following data sets are not comparable).

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Of the 32,813 clients under the age of 19 years who accessed housing related support services funded by the Supporting People programme between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, 15,155 (46 per cent.) entered supported housing.

The Continuous Recording (CORE) of lettings provides information on the number of supported housing lettings in the social housing sector. Between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, CORE estimates that 15,200 new supported housing lettings were provided to households headed by a young person under 19. Of all under-19s receiving new social housing lets, 60 per cent. were provided with supported housing.

Those who live in either social or voluntary sector supported housing will have their housing benefit based on their actual rent, which may be limited to a reasonable amount for the property that they occupy where necessary. In the private sector, single young people aged under 25 have their rent restricted to that of shared accommodation, unless they are severely disabled or aged under 22 and have previously been in care.

Trade Unions

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff of (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the Audit Commission are seconded to trade unions; what facilities are made available to those staff; how many days other staff of each organisation spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to the public purse of union activity by staff of each organisation. [320599]

Barbara Follett: The main Department pays the cost of two full-time staff trade union representatives. In 2008-09 the total cost was approximately £95,000. CLG also pays the cost of a number of part time staff. The total amount allocated for trade union activities for 2008-2009 was £192,000, and the number of days staff in the Department spent on all trade union activities was 1,075.50 days.

Basic office facilities are available to these staff e.g. office space, telephones, desks, chairs, cupboards, personal computers and stationery.

Records for CLG agencies and the Audit Commission are not held centrally.


Business: Government Assistance

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses in Wolverhampton have been visited by representatives of his Department's time to pay initiative during the recent recession. [322261]

Mr. Timms: Since its introduction on 24 November 2008 and up until 7 March 2010, HMRC's Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) has agreed over 303,000 time to pay arrangements with businesses in the UK to spread tax payments of just under £5.2 billion over a period they can afford.

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During the same period, BPSS agreed 990 time to pay arrangements worth £20 million with businesses in Wolverhampton.

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the monetary value of capital allowances to UK industry in the latest year for which figures are available. [322262]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The value to UK industry of capital allowances arises from the tax relief given against profits from specific capital allowances on investment. As set out in the 2009 pre-Budget report, the latest estimate of the value of the relief is £21,100 million for 2009-10:

Revenue and Customs: Data Protection

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of incidents of staff misuse of customer data at HM Revenue and Customs; and by what means he plans to inform the public of such steps; [317294]

(2) what steps are being taken in respect of HM Revenue and Customs staff found to have misused customer data. [317295]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced a strategic objective to reduce incidences of customer data misuse by at least 75 per cent. between 2009 and 2012. The Department's planned actions to achieve this are set out in its annual business plan, with performance against the objective set out in its annual reports, both are available at:

All instances of suspected misuse are thoroughly investigated and are subject to appropriate disciplinary action, with penalties up to and including dismissal and criminal action. All departmental staff must attend mandatory training to reinforce the consequences they face in the event of misusing customer data.

Tax Collection

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of recovering a debt in respect of which the due and payable date passed more than 12 months earlier; [317310]

(2) what the (a) age and (b) likelihood of recovery is of the debt owed to HM Revenue and Customs totalling more than £27 billion at 31 March 2009; and how much such debt has been outstanding (i) less than six months, (ii) between six and 12 months, (iii) between 12 months and two years, (iv) between two and three years and (v) for more than three years since the due and payable date; [317311]

(3) what recent assessment he has made of HM Revenue and Customs' performance in the recovery of taxes owed to the Government. [317333]

Mr. Timms: The Public Accounts Committee examined the Department in its 2009-10 report: 'HM Revenue and Customs: Improving the Processing and
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Collection of Tax: Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax and Tax Credits' (HC 97) published on 10 December 2009 and available at:

The Government will publish their responses to the Committee's report in a Treasury minute in due course.

The value and age of unpaid tax debts is shown on page 96 of HM Revenue and Customs' 2008-09 Trust Statement, available at:

Other breakdowns of tax debt by age are available only at disproportionate cost, as HMRC's systems cannot readily produce these.

Taxation: Domicil

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what definition of long-term resident of the UK is used for the purposes of determining a person's tax status; and how many days per year are required to be spent in the UK in order to be eligible for that classification. [321406]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 9 March 2010]: The term 'long-term resident' only occurs in UK tax legislation in the context of defining individuals who are required to pay the £30,000 remittance basis charge introduced in Finance Act 2008 where it refers to those who have been resident in the UK for at least seven out of the last nine years.

An individual's residence status depends upon a number of different factors and is not simply a question of the number of days spent in the UK. Further guidance on residence and domicile issues is available at:

Taxation: Gaming Machines

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of gaming machines in public houses which are not subject to Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD); what representations he has received in respect of the proposal to extend AMLD to include such machines; whether he has (a) sought and (b) received advice from the Gambling Commission on the practical arrangements for regulating such machines; and if he will make a statement. [320949]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not hold information on the nature of the businesses in which gaming machines are located as this information is not necessary for the administration of Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD).

Treasury Ministers meet with, and receive representations from, a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

On 26 February, the Government announced a four-month review of "skills with prizes" machines and the games played on them for the purposes of AMLD. This will be undertaken by HM Treasury and HMRC in consultation with the Gambling Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The review will engage fully with all stakeholders.

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Trade Unions

Mr. Syms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days staff of (a) his Department, (b) HM Revenue and Customs and (c) the Valuation Office Agency spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of such activity. [320616]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: HM Treasury has one member of staff, grade 7, who spends 0.60 (FTE) of time working as a trade union official. As fewer than five staff are employed to work as union officials it is not HM Treasury policy to provide salary information that could be attributed to an individual.

As already released in a Freedom of Information Request of 25 September 2009, staff of HM Revenue and Customs spent 48,902 days on trade union activity during the year 2008-09 at an estimated cost to the Department of £5,918,065.

The total number of days allocated to staff in the Valuation Office Agency for trade union activity in the latest year was 4,861 days. The estimated cost of the Valuation Office Agency trade union activity is £756,193.

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Steve Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many legal proceedings have been instigated for recovery of tax credit overpayments in each quarter since April 2003; what the average overpayment outstanding is for which legal action has been instigated; what the total monetary value is of such overpayments; what estimate he has made of the average cost to the public purse of pursuing such cases through the courts; and how much has been recovered through court action. [317146]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) initiates court action only as a last resort.

The information requested is in the following table.

Tax credit cases entered into Court by HMRC

Number Total Value (£) Average Value (£)

2008-09( 1)

April-June 2008




July-September 2008




October-December 2008




January-March 2009




2009-10( 2)

April-June 2009




July-September 2009




October-December 2009




N otes:
(1 )Includes England and Wales and Scotland
(2) Includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

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