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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what mechanisms were used by his Department in determining the level of Local Authorities Business Growth Incentives Scheme grants allocated to (a) East Cheshire Local Authority and Council and (b) West Cheshire Local Authority and Council. 
Barbara Follett: The current methodology for the calculation of the LABGI grants, which has applied in 2009-10 and 2010-11, is set out at paragraphs 16 to 19 of the Government's response to its consultation, published in July 2009, which can be viewed at:
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Government provided in grants to Northampton Borough Council in (a) 1997, (b) 2001, (c) 2005 and (d) the last year for which figures are available. 
|Central Government grant|
| Source: Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn Summary (RS) returns.|
The definition of central Government grant used here is the sum of formula grant (revenue support grant and redistributed non-domestic rates), and specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance (AEF), i.e. revenue grants paid for council's core services. In past years, where applicable the standard spending assessment reduction grant and Central Support Protection Grants have also been included. For 2008-09 it also includes Area Based Grant.
Figures exclude grants outside AEF (i.e. where funding is not for authorities' core services, but is passed to a third party, for example, rent allowances and rebates), capital grants, funding for the local authorities' housing management responsibilities and those grant programmes (such as European funding) where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the (a) percentage and (b) cash change in level of local housing allowance in each area for (i) a
bedsit, (ii) a one-bedroom property, (iii) a two-bedroom property, (iv) a three-bedroom property and (v) a four-bedroom property when the highest rents are excluded from the calculation. 
The Local Housing Allowance was rolled out from 7 April 2008 and is a more transparent way of calculating the rent element of housing benefit for people living in the deregulated private rented sector who make a new claim for housing benefit or for existing customers who change address.
In Budget 2010 the Government announced that the top 1 per cent. of rents nationally would be removed from the market evidence for all bedroom sizes one to five in the calculation of local housing allowance rates, except the shared room rate. This will take effect for new claims from October 2011 and existing customers will be affected when their benefit rate is reviewed, usually at the anniversary point of their claim.
The estimates the Department for Work and Pensions have made on the impact of this measure on local housing allowance rates are based on the latest available list of rents from the Valuation Office Agency which relate to April 2009. Due to substantial changes to broad rental market area boundaries and local housing allowance rates since April 2009, and potential for further changes in the near future, it is not appropriate to break these figures down to identify impacts on specific areas.
According to our estimates, had the policy been introduced in April 2009, the number of customers who would see a decrease in their local housing allowance rate under this measure is around 2 per cent. of the local housing allowance caseload. The average loss for these customers is £24 (at April 2009 prices) although there is large variation on this from area to area and customer to customer. A few customers, such as those in five-bedroom houses in Central London, could see their awards decrease by significant amounts, while others would see their benefit change marginally.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many adults of working age were living in income-deprived households in each (a) local authority area and (b) constituency according to the most recent indices of multiple deprivation data. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The English Indices of Deprivation have, since 2004, been produced at Lower Level Super Output Area (LSOA) level. LSOAs are smaller than constituencies and are designed to remain consistent in size, and over time, to allow more detailed identification of pockets of deprivation. This also overcomes difficulties in producing statistics for electoral wards and parliamentary constituencies which are associated with frequent boundary changes. There are 32,482 LSOAs in England with an average population of 1,500 people.
The income scale measure from the local authority summaries for the 2007 indices represent the number of people within an area experiencing income deprivation. The local authority summaries can be downloaded from the CLG website:
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to reply to the letter of 15 February 2010 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr J. Skelton. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households in each constituency have received financial support under the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme to date. 
John Healey: For management information on Homeowners Mortgage Support I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), on 16 December 2009, Official Report, column 1297W. This information is not monitored at constituency level.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether new requirements on licensed premises will be considered a material change of circumstances by the Valuation Office Agency for the purposes of business rate valuations and revaluations. 
Whether or not any of the new requirements on licensed premises will constitute a material change in circumstances in the context of non-domestic rating valuations is dependent on the matter in question coming within the definition of such circumstances contained in schedule 6 paragraph 2(7) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. Guidance on the interpretation of these provisions, as informed by legal advice and decisions of the courts, is contained within the Valuation Office Agency's Rating Manual in Volume 2-Section 5. This is available online under the publications section of the VOA's website at:
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his estimate is of the amount of retrospective business rate payments (a) owed by newly-assessed port companies, (b) paid in full by such companies to date and (c) paid in first instalments under the scheme for paying rates off over eight years; how many companies have (i) paid in full and (ii) paid a first instalment; and what the estimated cost of the deferral scheme is to the public purse. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 25 March 2010]: As at December 23 2009, the Valuation Office Agency have advised my department that 724 newly assessed, port based properties are liable for backdated Rates to April 1 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:
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. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals for a moratorium on issuing of retrospective business rate demands on newly-assessed port companies. 
The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some within ports. They have 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.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for fast-track reassessment of retrospective business rates the Valuation Office Agency has received to date; and how many weeks the Valuation Office Agency has taken to conduct such reassessment in the case of each (a) completed and (b) uncompleted application to date. 
Barbara Follett: In fairness to all ratepayers, the Valuation Office Agency has applied the fast track arrangements to all rating appeals on properties (hereditaments) within the 55 ports and container terminals in England and Wales, not just those properties that have had a retrospective assessment back to 1 April 2005.
The fast track arrangements were introduced on 24 November 2008. Up to 17 March 2010, 1,026 appeals have been subject to the fast track arrangements, (a) 644 appeals have been resolved and the average time taken to conclude each appeal has been 24 weeks. (b) There are 382 appeals outstanding and the average discussion time for these appeals is 30 weeks.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many business premises in York have rateable values for 2010-11 of (a) less than £6,000 and (b) between £6,000 and £12,000; and how many of each of these categories of premises qualify for small business rate relief. 
Barbara Follett: There are 1,850 hereditaments with a rateable value less than, or equal to, £6,000 and 1,300 hereditaments with a rateable value greater than £6,000 and less than, or equal to, £12,000 in the City of York
The report "Small Business Rate Relief-improving evidence on eligibility and take-up" was published on December 9 2009 and it estimates that of the approximately 1.2 million non-domestic properties in England which fall below the current rateable value (RV) thresholds for SBRR, around 575,000 are occupied by eligible small businesses. This report has been validated by an independent peer review and is available at:
However, new experimental statistics on the number of hereditaments claiming small business rate relief (SBRR) published on the Communities and Local Government website on 25 February 2010, show that 462,000 hereditaments in England were benefiting from SBRR on December 31st 2008.
By applying that figure to the eligibility estimates made for the 2005 rating list it is estimated that around 80 per cent. of eligible hereditaments in England were claiming SBRR in 2008-09 - see table 1 as follows.
Relief granted to small businesses has increased since SBRR was introduced-from £202 million in 2005-06 to £298 million in 2008-09. This represents a real terms rise of 34 per cent. Furthermore, in 2008-09, 92 per cent. of the total relief available was claimed-see table as follows.
|Table 1: Take-up of SBRR-numbers claiming|
|Table 2: Take-up of SBRR 2005-06 to 2008-09-relief|
|(1) For details of how this estimate was made please see the paper "Small business rate relief-improving evidence on eligibility and take-up: Methodology".|
(2) Percentage of total relief, which would be paid if all eligible small businesses claimed it, that was actually paid.
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