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30 Mar 2010 : Column 1040W—continued

Information relating to fewer than five cases has been withheld where this could lead to the identification of protected personal information.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies spent on (i) alcohol and (ii) entertainment in the last 12 months. [305530]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: In 2008-09, the Treasury spent £91,000 and the Office of Government Commerce £1,000 on official entertainment.

For information on alcohol spending by the Treasury and the Office of Government Commerce, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle) gave on 9 March 2009, Official Report, column 103W, to the hon. Member for Reading, East (Mr. Wilson). The Debt Management Office spent £10,000 on official entertainment in 2008-09, of which £2,000 was spent on alcohol.

All expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Departmental Surveys

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the benchmark results of the Civil Service People Survey for his Department and its agencies. [322563]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Summaries of the results for HM Treasury and Office of Government Commerce have been placed in the Library. The Debt Management Office (DMO) will place a copy of the results of its survey results in the Library after they have been shared with DMO staff.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer from which companies his Department sourced temporary staff in each of the last three years; how many temporary staff his Department employed in each year; and what the monetary value of the contracts with each such company was in each such year. [320012]

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Sarah McCarthy-Fry: HM Treasury has used the following companies to provide temporary staff in 2008-09. Information on the numbers of temporary staff employed is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Year 2008-09
Supplier name £

Brook Street (UK)Ltd.


Huntress Search Ltd.


Kelly Services (UK) Ltd.


Office Angels


OSR Recruitment Services


Reed Employment plc


Reed Personnel Services plc




Details for the years 2006-07 and 2007-08 were contained in the answer provided to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 799W.


Mr. Crabb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent steps he has taken to freeze the assets of financial institutions operating in UK jurisdictions which provide banking facilities to Hamas. [325223]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Hamas (including its military wing, the Izz-al-Din al-Qassem Brigades) is subject to an EU asset freeze under Council Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001. The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 provides enforcement provisions in the UK in respect of this Regulation. Hamas' military wing is also proscribed in the UK.

As such, any financial institutions or other persons that hold or operate accounts for Hamas (including its military wing) are required to freeze those accounts. In addition, the asset freeze prevents financial institutions and others from making funds, economic resources or financial services available to Hamas.

The prohibitions in the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 apply to persons in the UK and British citizens elsewhere, including corporate bodies incorporated or constituted under the law of any part of the UK or a Scottish partnership, including banks, financial institutions, charitable organisations and non-governmental organisations, in the UK or established under UK law.


Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely annual savings to the public purse of the use by Government Departments of the Expotel facility for hotel bookings. [324212]

Ian Pearson: It is for the relevant public sector body to account for their savings through the use of the Expotel contract.

Housing: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 12 October 2009, Official Report,
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column 265W, on valuation, how many new conservatories local authorities have notified to the Valuation Office Agency in the last 12 months. [324169]

Ian Pearson: This information cannot be provided without disproportionate cost.

Islamic National Bank: Palestinians

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his US counterparts on freezing by the US administration of assets of the Islamic National Bank based in Gaza. [325225]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Treasury Ministers have discussions with a variety of individuals and organisations, including international partners, as part of the process of policy development and delivery on counter-terrorist finance. As with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.

Minimum Wage: North West

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) penalty notices and (b) financial penalties have been issued to employers in each local authority area in the North West for paying employees at rates below the national minimum wage in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [325041]

Mr. Timms: Prior to 6 April 2009, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) issued penalty notices to those employers who failed to comply, within 28 days, with an enforcement notice.

From 6 April 2009, the national minimum wage (NMW) enforcement regime includes the issue of an automatic penalty in most cases of minimum wage non-compliance.

The information requested at a regional level is provided in the following table. HMRC does not maintain statistical information by local authority areas. All penalties issued have a financial amount payable.

NMW penalty notices issued by HMRC to employers in the north-west









2009 (to February 2010)

33 notices of underpayment issued with penalties

Money Laundering

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many incidents possibly related to money laundering (a) the Inland Revenue and (b) HM Customs and Excise have reported to the appropriate investigative agencies in each year since 1997; and how many prosecutions resulted from these reports in each year. [314007]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is authorised to investigate money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as was the former HM Customs and Excise (HMCE). HMRC
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officers investigate money laundering with their own resources, and will not generally make disclosures to another agency. However where HMRC (and previously HMCE) detect money laundering that is related to offences which are outside the remit of HMRC, for example people trafficking or robbery, it may refer those to another agency that has primacy in the respective area. Since 2001, 47 money laundering cases have been referred to other agencies.

Powers to allow the former Inland Revenue to pass disclosures relating to incidents of suspected money laundering to other investigatory agencies came into force with other provisions of the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 on 14 December 2001. Prior to the merger of HMCE and Inland Revenue in April 2005, the Inland Revenue made 16 disclosures to the appropriate agencies.

HMRC, under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, is the supervisory authority regulator of High Value Dealers, Money Service Businesses, Trust or Company Service Providers, and Accountancy Service Providers. In relation to these areas, if HMRC knows or suspects that a person is, or has, engaged in money laundering or terrorist financing, it has an obligation to inform the Serious Organised Crime Agency. HMRC has made 15 referrals to SOCA since the 2007 regulations came into force.

Disclosures to other agencies by HMRC relating to money laundering can be used by other law enforcement agencies in a variety of ways to detect crime and trace the proceeds of criminal activity. For example, such information may contribute to an ongoing investigation, trigger a new investigation or be held on the relevant intelligence database for future cases.

HMRC does not know the outcome of all referrals and given the variety of ways in which information is used, it is not possible to link particular disclosures with particular prosecutions and convictions in the majority of cases.

Non-domestic Rates: Ports

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to page 6 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010, what assessment has been made of the effect in ports on corporation tax revenues of the new regime of retrospective business rates; and what methodology is used to assess the effect of (a) lower and (b) higher business rates on corporation tax revenues. [323179]

Ian Pearson: As regards the backdating of non-domestic property rateable values in English and Welsh ports, the payment scheme introduced to allow affected business to spread their liabilities over eight years was judged to have a negligible impact on corporation tax revenues.

In the case of the extension of temporary rate relief for empty business properties (Explanatory Memorandum to the Non-Domestic Rating Amendment Regulations-2010 No. 408) the methodology underlying the corporation tax implications, referred to on page 6 of the impact assessment, was covered in paragraphs 18 and 19 of the accompanying 'Evidence Base'.

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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) monetary value of retrospective business rate demands for port businesses, excluding the sum payable in respect of the current period; and how many newly-assessed businesses have (i) paid in respect of the new assessment and (ii) paid or made a contribution under his extended payment proposals. [323596]

Barbara Follett [holding answer 25 March 2010]: I have been asked to reply.

As at 23 December 2009, the Valuation Office Agency have advised my Department that 724 newly assessed, port based properties are liable for backdated rates to 1 April 2005.

An estimate of the monetary value of the backdated liabilities was made in respect of all ratepayers (not just port based properties) and was published in the impact assessment alongside the Explanatory Memorandum for the Non Domestic Rating (collection and Enforcement) (local Lists) (England) (Amendment) regulations 2009

This states that the estimated backdated liability, before the application of any reliefs, is forecast to be approximately £131 million and the cost of the scheme to be approximately £33 million.

The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some situated in ports. It has legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5 per cent.

As at 8 October 2009, local authorities have reported that ratepayers occupying 221 properties within ports had fully discharged their backdated liability and ratepayers occupying a further 200 business properties within ports had been granted a schedule of payments. The Government do not have information on how many payments, or of what amount, the 200 properties with schedule of payments agreements have made.


Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has undertaken costings of the policies of (a) the Conservative Party and (b) the Liberal Democrat Party at the request of Ministers or special advisers in the last 36 months. [324403]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Details of opposition policy costings undertaken by the Department are contained in two FOI releases published in February on the Department's website. They can be found at the following addresses:

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PAYE: Belfast

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people with a BT postcode paying income tax as part of the Pay As You Earn system in 2009 had more than one income stream. [323591]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 23 March 2010]: From the Survey of Personal Incomes, HM Revenue and Customs estimates that 629,000 taxpayers in Northern Ireland had employment income for 2007-08, the latest year available. The survey does not count the number of separate income sources.


Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of the measures to promote employment as the best route out of poverty, referred to in Chapter 2 of Ending Child Poverty: Mapping the Route to 2020 apply to (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [325072]

Helen Goodman: I have been asked to reply

The purpose of the strategic direction paper-"Ending Child Poverty: Mapping the route to 2020" is to set out the Government's strategic direction and key priorities for ending child poverty by 2020 and beyond and paves the way for the National Strategy which will be published next year.

It is not for the strategic direction paper to set out the detailed policies and implementation plan needed to achieve the targets set out in the Bill-this will be the task for the National Strategy. The listed employment measures in chapter two of "Ending Child Poverty: Mapping the route to 2020" are suggested policy areas for the next strategy to take into account rather than policies to be implemented across the UK.

Alongside the full UK strategy, the devolved Administrations will each produce strategies to cover non-reserved areas. The UK Government will continue to work closely with all three devolved Administrations to promote consistency in the policies that are being delivered for children across the UK and so the respective child poverty strategies compliment each other.

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