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6 Sep 2010 : Column 186Wcontinued
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the Highways Agency switches off lights on motorways after midnight; what assessment of the likely effects on road safety of that practice was made before it was adopted; and what responsibility the Highways Agency has in respect of light pollution. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency currently switches off lights between midnight and 5 am in order to:
reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer of operating the motorway network and reduce the agency's carbon footprint;
reduce roadworks associated with lighting maintenance and thereby reduce roadworker exposure to high speed traffic and inconvenience to road users.
All sites where switch off at midnight takes place were subject to a detailed safety assessment. By selecting sites with a good safety record and where night-time traffic flows are low, the Highways Agency is confident there will be no adverse impact on road safety.
The Highways Agency is required to operate the strategic road network safely and in both a financial and an environmentally responsible way. Light pollution can impact on people living near roads and on the ecology within and adjacent to Highways Agency's land.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will direct (a) local authorities and (b) the Highways Agency to ensure that highway lighting is switched on during the hours of darkness; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: It is the responsibility of the relevant local highway authority to determine whether or not highway lighting should be switched on during the hours of darkness.
The Highways Agency is responsible for maintaining and operating the motorway and trunk road network, including installing lighting. The Highways Agency is currently switching off lights at selected sites between midnight and 5 am, following a detailed impact assessment. These sites are continuously monitored to make sure safety is not adversely affected.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will issue guidance to the Highways Agency on ensuring that road safety objectives are prioritised over steps to reduce light pollution. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency follows standards based on evidence on the link between road lighting and road safety. Measures are being taken to reduce carbon emissions across the Highways Agency's operations and this includes switching off road lighting on carefully selected sections of motorways between midnight and 5am. These sites are being monitored to ensure that safety is not adversely affected.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with (a) the Highways Agency and (b) the Secretary of State for Justice the use of the Community Payback Scheme to collect litter from the verges of motorways and trunk roads in England. 
Mike Penning: My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice and I have discussed the use of the Community Payback Scheme to collect litter from the verges of motorways and trunk roads in England.
The Highways Agency will take part in wider discussions with the Ministry of Justice on the type of work that can be undertaken by offenders on Community Payback including litter clearance on highways.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he has issued to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the use of volunteer coastguards since 12 May 2010. 
Mike Penning: Like all parts of Government, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has been asked to look carefully at its spending, including on the use of its 3,500 volunteers whose work we value highly.
The MCA will continue to focus resources on responding to emergencies and volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers will be used for their specialist skills of search, mud and cliff rescue whenever needed. The MCA will also take appropriate opportunities to spread safety messages, for example at local events or through school visits.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when credit and debit cards will be accepted as a means of payment on the Severn Bridges. 
Norman Baker: Discussions between the Highways Agency and the Concessionaire, Severn River Crossings Plc, to resolve the financial issues regarding the introduction of card payments are ongoing. The work to amend the tolling software to allow for the processing of credit and debit card payments has started and I have asked the Highways Agency to aim to have this in place in time for the Ryder Cup.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many mandatory expanded inspections the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has carried out on ships labelled high risk in the last 12 months. 
Mike Penning: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency carried out 55 mandatory expanded inspections on high risk ships in the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.
Mandatory expanded inspections are only carried out on high risk ships that have not been inspected under the same arrangements in the last 12 months.
Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit Dorset for the purpose of assessing the level of transport provision in that area. 
Norman Baker: The Secretary of State has no plans to visit Dorset in the near future.
It is for Dorset county council, as the local highway authority, to assess and provide transport provision for their area.
James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the safety of remoulded tyres in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has not commissioned or evaluated any specific research on the safety of remoulded (retreaded) tyres in the last three years.
However, commercial vehicle retreaded tyres were tested against international standards between 2007 and 2010 as part of a market surveillance programme. Of the 52 tyres tested, seven failed to meet the full performance requirements of the tests. Follow-up action is under way with the European authorities who were responsible for approving the tyres in accordance with EU procedure.
James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what data his Department hold on the incidence of (a) new and (b) second-hand tyre failure as a factor in road traffic accidents. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport does not hold any data on the level of new or second-hand tyre failure as a factor in road traffic accidents. When a police officer attends the scene of a personal injury road accident they can report 'tyres illegal, defective or under inflated' as a contributory factor to the accident. This was reported as a contributory factor in 860 accidents in 2009 (1% of all reported road accidents).
Contributory factors reflect the police officer's opinion at the time of reporting, and where a factor may have contributed to the cause of an accident it may be
difficult for a police officer attending the scene after the accident to identify this, so factors may be underreported. Not all reported road accidents are included in contributory factor analysis, only those where a police officer attended the scene and at least one contributory factor was reported.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost to the public purse is of the forthcoming Vehicle and Operator Services Agency nine-week campaign of spot checks of vehicle loads. 
Mike Penning: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency does not have any plans to conduct a nine-week campaign of spot checks of vehicle loads.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department and its predecessors spent on wine in each year since 1997. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport (DFT) holds no stocks of wine. Generally, the Department operates a no alcohol policy.
The Driving Standards Agency's current policy is not to provide alcohol at any events, although alcohol has been provided exceptionally in the past at some external events. The Highways Agency and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency do not purchase alcoholic drinks for any purpose. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Government Car and Despatch Agency and the Vehicle Certification Agency have not spent any money on alcohol.
In the central Department, some limited provision of alcoholic drinks at public expense may be permitted in exceptional cases at the discretion of a senior civil servant; however these data are generally not recorded separately as they are of such low value. Since 12 May, any alcohol purchased for use within the central Department has been paid for by DFT staff, or Ministers.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 20 July 2010, Official Report, columns 59-60WS, on Departmental arm's-length bodies, what the Barnett consequentials for Wales will be. 
Danny Alexander: Any changes to arm's-length bodies will be taken into account in the spending review. The devolved Administrations will receive appropriate Barnett consequentials in the usual way.
Priti Patel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (1) persons received child benefit in respect of children resident in each country other than the UK in each year since 1997; how many children were the subject of such payments in each such year; and how much child benefit was paid in respect of such children in each such year; 
(2) recipients of tax credits are eligible to receive such credits by virtue of children and dependants resident outside the UK; and how much was paid in such credits in each year since 1997. 
Mr Gauke: Child benefit and child tax credit are intended to support families in the United Kingdom (UK). They are therefore generally payable only in respect of children resident in the UK although there are certain exceptions where child benefit and tax credits can be paid to nationals of European Economic Area (EEA) member states under EC Regulations for a child or young person resident in another member state.
Information about the payment of child tax credit to children resident outside the UK is only available at disproportionate cost. The information requested on child benefit awards to EEA nationals in respect of children resident in another member state is not available in the format requested. However, snapshot data which are available are presented in the following table:
|Table: Child benefit statistics relating to EEA nationals with children resident in another member state.|
|Number of awards||Number of children in awards|
|Country||As at October 2009||As at July 2010||As at October 2009||As at July 2010|
The value of the benefit paid is only available at disproportionate costs because under the EC social security co-ordinating regulations not all awards of child benefit in respect of children living in other member states are made at the full UK rate.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the merits of seeking an
exemption from tax rules to ensure that BP is not entitled to tax deductions in respect of any costs associated with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. 
Mr Gauke: The corporation tax rules already limit deductions for costs incurred on overseas operations. In general costs may only be deducted in computing UK profits where those costs relate to a business carried on by a UK tax resident company or branch. No deduction is allowed for fines, penalties and damages incurred in respect of infractions of the law. Specific rules also ensure that tax revenues from UK oil and gas production cannot be reduced by expenses incurred in other activities.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of cash machines which charge customers for transactions. 
Mr Hoban: Statistics from the LINK network, to which all cash machines in the UK are connected, show that at the end of June 2010 there were 40,600 free-to-use cash machines and 22,448 charging cash machines in the UK. According to the same source, 97% of withdrawals in 2009 were made from free-to-use machines.
Barbara Keeley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 15 July 2010, Official Report, column 912W, on child benefit, (1) for what reasons the information provided in the answer does not give the requested figures for the new Worsley and Eccles South constituency; 
(2) what account he took in providing the answer of the guidance in paragraph 7.37 of the Cabinet Office Guide to Parliamentary Work, on referring to websites or other published material. 
Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 27 July 2010, Official Report, column 936W.
Nick Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many child trust funds have been opened since their introduction. 
Mr Hoban: Statistical information about child trust funds is published on HM Revenue and Customs' website at:
This shows that 5.237 million child trust fund accounts had been opened by 15 June 2010.
Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which former (a) buildings and (b) land owned by (i) his Department and (ii) (A) non-departmental public bodies and (B) agencies for which his Department is responsible have been sold since May 2005; what the sale price of each was at the time of sale; and to which body the funds from the sale accrued in each case. 
Justine Greening: Neither the Treasury nor any of its agencies or non-departmental bodies has sold any buildings since 2005.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much office space per employee his Department occupied in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: Government Departments have been gathering property benchmarking data, including the amount of office space used per full-time equivalent employee, under the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) High Performing Property Initiative since 2007. These data have been published annually since 2008 by the OGC in its reports on the State of the Government Estate, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Equivalent information for earlier years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instructions have been issued by the private office of each Minister in his Department on the preparation of briefing, speeches and replies to official correspondence. 
Justine Greening: General guidance for briefing Ministers is provided on the HM Treasury intranet. The guidance includes briefing for meetings, submissions, speeches and correspondence. It is up to individual Ministers to commission or tailor further briefing to meet their specific needs.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of his Department's expenditure on (a) organisation of and (b) attendance at conferences in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: Spending on conferences by the Treasury since 2002-03 is shown in the following table. Information on attendance at conferences is not held centrally and information prior to 2002-03, when a new accounting system was introduced, is not available without incurring disproportionate costs.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on vacant properties in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: HM Treasury did not have any vacant property during this period.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many chairs his Department has purchased in each year since 1997; how much it spent in each such year; and what the five most expensive chairs purchased in each such year were. 
Justine Greening: The Treasury does not keep a central record of chairs purchased and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to ensure the (a) screening for and (b) immediate removal of offensive posts made on his Department's Spending Challenge website; and if he will make a statement. 
Justine Greening: The Government are taking an entirely new approach to the Spending Review by consulting directly with those whose taxes pay for public services. The Spending Challenge public website is a key part of this, and has received over 19,000 ideas and 32,000 comments so far, building on the 65,000 ideas submitted by public sector workers.
The vast majority of comments are constructive and helpful and will feed into the tough decisions that must be made in the Spending Review. We want to encourage open debate but we are clear that offensive ideas and comments are not welcome, under the website's clear and strict moderation policy.
In response to a small number of malicious attacks we have taken action to disable certain interactive features on the website. These measures are designed to prevent malicious use but still allow the public to have their say on the Spending Challenge and we are continuing to encourage people to submit their ideas online. As previously, we will look at as many ideas as possible and the best ones will be considered as part of the Spending Review, which will be concluded on 20 October.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidelines his Department applies to moderation of comments made on its websites. 
Justine Greening: In general, HM Treasury websites do not have the functionality to allow site visitors to make comments.
The Spending Challenge website was built and implemented as a joint exercise between No. 10, Cabinet Office, Directgov, HM Treasury and a private sector partner called Delib. HM Treasury facilitated access to the Spending Challenge website via its own departmental site.
A dedicated team keep a close eye on the content posted and continue to remove the minority of ideas and comments that are not appropriate as soon as possible.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many of his Department's contracts with its suppliers are under review as a result of the recently announced reductions in public expenditure; and what the monetary value is of all such contracts which are under review; 
(2) how many officials in his Department are working on renegotiating contracts for the supply of goods and services to the Department as a result of recently announced reductions in public spending; what savings are expected to accrue to his Department from such renegotiations; how much expenditure his Department will incur on such renegotiations; and when such renegotiations will be completed. 
Justine Greening: The Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office is leading on the review and renegotiation of Government contracts across all Government Departments. The review will identify priority contracts for renegotiation. The Treasury will focus its resources on reviewing the contracts with its top 10 suppliers, representing approximately 60% of total procurement expenditure. Work supporting this initiative has been, and will continue to be undertaken by the Treasury's own officials. At this stage it cannot be determined how many Treasury officials will be working on renegotiating contracts nor what cost savings are expected. At this stage it is not possible to determine when contract renegotiations will be complete.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 26 May 2010, Official Report, columns 2-3WS, on savings (2010-11), under what budgetary headings the £451 million of savings allocated to his Department will be made. 
Justine Greening: The Chancellor's Department's share of the savings announced on 26 May 2010 will be split between HM Revenue and Customs comprising £320 million in annually managed expenditure and £125 million in departmental expenditure limits (DEL), and HM Treasury, where £6 million savings will be found from within DEL.
Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid by his Department in rent for properties in (a) total and (b) each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK in each of the last five years. 
Justine Greening: Details of the amounts paid by the Treasury in rent for properties is shown in the following table.
No other amount was spent by the Treasury in rent for properties in other regions or nations of the United Kingdom.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy that the Consumer Financial Education Body should fund training in financial capability for school-aged children and young people; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hoban: The Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB) is an independent body and, while the CFEB must consult the Treasury when preparing its budget and annual plan, HM Treasury has no power to direct the CFEB to fund any activity, including training in financial capability for school-aged children and young people. The Government welcome the CFEB's decision to fund support for financial education in schools until March 2011 through the 'Learning Money Matters' programme.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make funding available for the second round of the Plugged In Places scheme to support the roll-out of a charging infrastructure for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. 
Mr Philip Hammond: I have been asked to reply.
I confirmed on 28 July that the Plugged-In Places initiative is ongoing and final funding will be decided in the spending review.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value is of the UK's current liabilities to the European Investment Bank. 
Justine Greening: As of 22 July 2010, the outstanding amount of disbursed loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to UK public sector entities is £1,725 million. In addition, loans from the EIB to UK public sector entities amounting to £850 million have been signed but not yet disbursed.
The UK is also a shareholder in the EIB. It has subscribed to 16.17% of the Bank's capital, representing €37,578 million. Of this amount, €1,879 million is paid-up capital. The remainder, €35,699 million, is callable capital.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide financial incentives to businesses in the financial services sector to enable their staff to volunteer in schools to support the provision of financial literacy teaching; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government welcome the important contribution made by volunteers from financial services firms in supporting financial capability teaching in schools and helping to raise levels of financial capability among young people. A wide range of financial services firms
already encourage and support their staff to volunteer in schools, recognising that promoting financial education volunteering brings benefits for the business and for staff.
Mr Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value was of foreign direct investment from Israel (a) in total, (b) in each sector and (c) in each industry sector in each of the last five years. 
Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated July 2010:
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply-to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the monetary value was of foreign direct investment from Israel (a) in total, (b) in each sector and (c) in each industry sector in each of the last five years. (10558)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces estimates for UK Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) based on survey data collected by the ONS and Bank of England. Headline figures from the annual surveys are published in a Statistical Bulletin, "Foreign Direct Investment", which is available from the UK National Statistics website. The latest figures available at the level of counterpart country are for the year 2008.
Data on the inward investment flows and positions (levels) from Israel to the UK for 2004 to 2008 are provided in the attached table. Further breakdowns by sector and industry are not available because this could be commercially disclosive.
|Net foreign direct investment in the UK by Israel: United Kingdom, 2004 - 08|
|Investment flows||Investment position( 1) (level)|
|(1 )Position at the end of each tear|
Annual Inward Foreign Direct Investment surveys
James Wharton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what process will be used to decide on the location of the proposed Green Investment Bank; and if he will make a statement. 
Justine Greening: The Government are considering a wide range of options for the scope and structure of the Green Investment Bank and will put forward detailed proposals following the spending review.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish his Department's correspondence with Sir Alan Budd on his appointment as Head of the Office of Budget Responsibility. 
Justine Greening: All correspondence between the Treasury and Sir Alan Budd on his appointment as Chair of the interim Office for Budget Responsibility has been published and is available at:
Mr Tyrie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the oral answer of 20 July 2010, Official Report, columns 175-6, on the Office of Tax Simplification, to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, (1) how many full-time equivalent civil servants of each grade work in the Office of Tax Simplification; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the likely total salary bill for the Office of Tax Simplification in the next year; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the likely number of secondees from the private sector to be employed by the Office of Tax Simplification in the next 12 months. 
Mr Gauke: Michael Jack and John Whiting, who are leading the Office for the first year, will not be paid. They will be supported by a small secretariat to be appointed over the summer.
The secretariat will include three full-time officials from the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs. One of these officials will be a Grade 6 official, the other two will be Higher Executive Officers. It is estimated that the annual salary bill for the secretariat will be around £220,000, consisting of gross salary, employer National Insurance contributions and superannuation costs. These costs will be met from within existing Treasury and HMRC budgets.
It is expected that the secretariat will also include around three externally funded secondees.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the future of the pre-Budget report process. 
Justine Greening: The Government are considering the timing and nature of pre-Budget announcements on taxation. They will report on this in the autumn.
Mr Betts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the oral statement of 17 June 2010, Official Report, columns 1040-1, on public spending, what criteria his Department used to determine which projects were affordable. 
Danny Alexander [holding answer 27 July 2010]: On 17 June I announced the outcome of a review of all Government spending agreed by the previous Government between 1 January and the general election. Projects were assessed in light of spending plans for 2010-11 and the next spending period and were cancelled where they were not affordable, did not represent good value for money, or did not reflect the Government's priorities.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value is of each capital project in Houghton and Sunderland South constituency to which funding had been allocated which is under review. 
Danny Alexander: On 17 June I announced the outcome of a review of 217 projects that had been submitted to the Treasury for re-approval. These projects included both capital and resource expenditure. Twelve projects were cancelled as they did not demonstrate value for money and a further 12 projects were suspended as more detailed work is needed as part of the spending review process. None of these projects were in the constituency of Houghton and Sunderland. A list of the projects cancelled and suspended along with their constituency can be found in the response to the hon. Member for Wigan's (Lisa Nandy) parliamentary question-7 July 2010, Official Report, column 294W. I also laid in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament a full list of projects that were not cancelled or suspended as part of this exercise:
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 27-28WS, on regional government, whether the closure of regional government offices will have a Barnett consequential for Wales. 
Danny Alexander: The Government have announced an intention in principle to abolish the Government Office network. Final decisions will be made at the end of the Spending Review in the autumn. Any resultant consequentials will form part of the Spending Review 2010 settlement for the Devolved Administrations.
Owen Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the changes in the number of public sector jobs in (a) the UK and (b) Wales arising from the measures proposed in the June 2010 Budget. 
Danny Alexander: The Office for Budget Responsibility released further information on its employment forecast on 30 June 2010, which can be found on the following webpage:
The OBR has not published forecasts on a sub-national level.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the economy of (a) the North West and (b) the South East of a reduction in the number of public sector jobs attributable to reductions in public expenditure. 
Danny Alexander: Future public spending allocations will be decided in the forthcoming spending review.
Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of the 50th percentile rent for properties with (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) five bedrooms in East Lothian constituency in 2010-11. 
Mr Gauke: This is a matter for the devolved Administration.
Mr Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who the members were of the Inland Revenue Advisory Group established in May 1995 to examine the work, staffing and organisation of the tax districts responsible for that Department's largest and most complex cases; how many reports the Group produced; on what dates; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each such report. 
Mr Gauke: The members of the Advisory Group which examined the work of the of the Inland Revenue tax districts responsible for the Department's largest and most complex cases were:
The group produced a draft report in September 1995, which was made final in November 1995. A copy of the report has been placed in the House of Commons Library. A few passages have been redacted to remove references to particular taxpayers, in accordance with HM Revenue & Customs' statutory duty of confidentiality.
A smaller Advisory Group was appointed to be the project board for implementing the changes that flowed from the report. Its members were:
Steve Matheson (Chair)
Tom Cawdron (until December 1995)
Hazel Colclough (from December 1995)
No copies of this group's further recommendations have been retained.
Mr Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date the Bristol Large Business Office (BLBO) of the Inland Revenue was created; on what date the offices of tax districts which came to comprise it were co-located; and on what date the BLBO joined the National Large Business Office. 
Mr Gauke: The Bristol Large Business Office was formed around June 1996. It was formed from four tax districts which had been co-located in Bristol since 1987, when three were moved from the West End of London.
Bristol Large Business Office joined the National Large Business Office on 1 August 1997.
Mr Barron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the figures published by HM Revenue and Customs on revenue earned from tobacco duty include value added tax. 
Justine Greening: The figures published by HM Revenue and Customs on revenue earned from tobacco duty do not include value added tax receipts. They refer to the specific and ad valorem tobacco duties only.
Mr Barron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what methodology his Department uses to estimate lost excise duty revenue on smuggled tobacco products; 
(2) what methodology his Department uses to estimate lost excise duty revenue on illicit tobacco products. 
Justine Greening: HM Revenue and Customs' methodology used to estimate lost excise duty revenue for smuggled and illicit tobacco products was published in 'Measuring Tax Gaps-2009' in November 2009 which is available in the House of Commons Library and at:
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Budget Red Book, page 40, Table 2.1, line 22, how many (a) households, (b) men and (c) women are in receipt of each of the (i) benefits, (ii) tax credits and (iii) public service pensions to be uprated in line with the consumer price index. 
Mr Gauke: The tabulation tool on the DWP website provides the latest available case loads in Great Britain for all the main social security benefits administered by DWP, and also provides an analysis by gender.
The latest available statistics on tax credit and child benefit recipients and beneficiaries are available on the HMRC website. The gender split of children supported through child benefit and child tax credit can be assumed using the Office for National Statistics' published population estimates.
Statistics on the number of members of public service pension schemes are available from each scheme's published resource accounts. A detailed gender breakdown for
each scheme is not readily available, and therefore the Treasury has assumed a similar breakdown to the wider public service population.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Budget Red Book, page 40, Table 2.1, line 22, which (a) benefits, (b) tax credits and (c) public service pensions are to be uprated in line with the consumer price index. 
Mr Gauke: This measure will cover all benefits and tax credits that were previously uprated by either the retail price index or Rossi index. This change will also apply to public service pensions through the statutory link to the indexation of the state second pension.
Mr Love: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the net effect on the public purse of the changes to spending on social security benefits and tax credits referred to in table C14 of the June 2010 Budget Red Book was of revisions to economic forecasts made for that Budget by the Office for Budget Responsibility; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the net effect on the public purse of changes to spending on social security benefits and tax credits in table C14 of the June 2010 Budget Red Book attributable to (a) the direct effect of policy decisions taken before the Budget and (b) the overall measures in the Budget; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the proportion of the changes to current receipts in each year of the forecast period in table C12 of the June 2010 Budget Red Book were due to (a) the direct effect of policy decisions adopted before the Budget and (b) the overall measures in the Budget; 
(4) what estimate he has made of the effect on the public purse of changes resulting from revisions to economic forecasts made by the Office for Budget Responsibility to current receipts in each year of the forecast period in table C12 of the June 2010 Budget Red Book. 
Mr Gauke: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Budget Responsibility Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility, which has been asked to reply.
Letter from Graham Parker, dated 20 August 2010:
As a member of the Budget Responsibility Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), I have been asked to reply to your recent questions-PQs 12580, 12581, 12582 and 12583.
Following your requests for supplementary information on its forecasts, the Office for Budget Responsibility released the information concerning changes to tax receipts, social security and tax credits forecasts between the pre-Budget forecast and the Budget on its website
on 19 August 2010. This is consistent with the interim OBR's release policy
Copies of the published material have also been placed in the Library of the House.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of offering tax breaks to companies who employ former offenders. 
Mr Gauke: The Government's emergency Budget contained measures which will give businesses the confidence to invest, whilst reducing the burden of tax and regulation. These will encourage firms to create new jobs, enabling those out of work, for whatever reason, back into the labour market.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of tax evasion by individuals involved in serious and organised crime. 
Mr Gauke: Protecting Tax Revenues 2009 provides an overview of HMRC's approach to combating criminal attacks on the tax system:
Examples of success in the last year include the disruption of a major criminal organisation behind a concerted attempt to make false Income Tax Self Assessment repayment claims and the introduction of new legislation to stop a form of VAT Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud in connection with trading of emissions allowances (often called 'carbon credits').
As result of HMRC's work, losses to organised crime have been reduced in relation to cigarettes fraud by over £1.2 billion since 2000 and spirits and diesel fraud by £150 million and £650 million since 2003-04 respectively. Attempted VAT MTIC fraud has also fallen by up to £3 billion since 2005-06.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Serious Organised Crime Agency on the prosecution of individuals involved in serious and organised crime for tax evasion. 
Mr Gauke: HMRC works closely with all other UK law enforcement agencies both to tackle organised crime attacks against the Exchequer and also to help with the wider efforts to disrupt serious organised crime. The focus of this activity is the Organised Crime Partnership Board (OCPB), which meets monthly, and is made up of HMRC, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the UK Border Agency and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
HMRC also has a memorandum of understanding with SOCA setting out how they will work together and they also engage bilaterally regularly at the strategic, policy and operational levels to co-ordinate and maximise joint capabilities.
The Crown Prosecution Service is responsible for deciding whether to prosecute and for carrying out all prosecutions originating from HMRC criminal investigations.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of revenue lost to the Exchequer due to tax evasion arising from serious and organised crime in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Gauke: In "Protecting Tax Revenues 2009"
published alongside the 2009 pre-Budget report, HMRC estimated that criminal attacks accounted for 12.5% of the total tax gap of £40 billion in 2007-08.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the contribution of the British amusements industry to (a) Exchequer receipts from tax and duty and (b) the economy in each of the last three years. 
Justine Greening: The amusement industry in the UK is subject to various tax regimes including amusement machine licence duty (AMLD) and VAT.
The following table shows HMRC revenue figures from AMLD for the last three years, which are available at:
|Financial year||£ million|
VAT revenue figures are not split down sufficiently to provide information for the amusement industry explicitly.
The Office for National Statistics measures the industry's contribution to the economy as gross value added (GVA). Although GVA figures are not available for the amusement industry, a breakdown is available for gambling and betting activities, as well as for fair and amusement park activities, as follows:
|Approximate GVA at basic prices|
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the contribution of the British pub industry to (a) Exchequer receipts and (b) the economy in each of the last 10 years. 
Justine Greening: The contribution of the British pub industry to exchequer receipts has not been estimated. Figures from alcohol duty receipts in the UK are published monthly by HMRC in the alcohol duty bulletin, available at:
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) provide estimates of the contribution of pubs and bars to the UK economy, measured as the approximate gross value added (GVA) at basic prices. Figures for the latest 10 years for which data are available are given in the following table.
|GVA (£ million)|
Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what definition of (a) a regressive and (b) a progressive tax he uses. 
Mr Gauke: A progressive tax is one where the impact on lower income or expenditure households or individuals is smaller than the impact on higher income or expenditure households or individuals. Annex A in Budget 2010 shows the combined impact of tax and benefit changes on households relative to their overall income or expenditure.
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his review of aviation tax will include (a) a consideration of change in the rate of air passenger duty and (b) introduction of a per-flight duty; and if he will make a statement. 
Justine Greening: The Budget announced that the Government will explore changes to the aviation tax system, including switching from a per-passenger to a per-plane duty. Major changes will be subject to consultation.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what factors he took into account in setting the rate of gross profits tax levied on (a) bingo clubs and (b) bookmakers. 
Justine Greening: The rates of general betting duty and bingo duty were set by the previous Government. The previous Government reduced the rate of bingo duty from 22% to 20% at the March 2010 Budget. The June 2010 Budget left rates unchanged. All taxes, including gambling taxes, are kept under review.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on taxi fares in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: Spend on taxis for 2002-03 to 2009-10 is shown in the following table:
As a result of the introduction of a new accounting system in 2002-03, provision of information prior to that date could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Priti Patel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department has paid to trade unions in each year since 1997; and what estimate he has made of the monetary value of facilities provided by his Department for use by trade unions in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: Payments to trade unions since 2002-03 are shown in the following table. Information on prior years is not available due to the introduction of a new accounting system in 2002-03.
Inline with the ACAS Code of Practice "Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities" the Treasury allocates facilities in the form of office space and access to computer and telephone equipment for use by the department's trades union representative. At current prices the value of the facilities is approximately £22,000 per annum. Figures for earlier years are not available without incurring disproportionate costs.
Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the average proportion of gross income which the poorest 20% of households composed of retired people will pay in value added tax in each year from 2010-11 to 2014-15; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the effects of the planned increase in the standard rate of value added tax on the average (a) household composed of retired people and (b) retired individual in each year from 2010-11 to 2014-15. 
Mr Gauke: The Government are committed to reducing the Budget deficit while supporting the most vulnerable. The Emergency Budget demonstrated this commitment by confirming that the Government will uprate the basic state pension by a triple guarantee of earnings, prices and 2%-whichever is highest-from April 2011, benefiting over 11 million pensioners. The Government will increase the basic state pension in April 2011 by at least the equivalent of RPI.
Using gross rather than net income to assess the proportionate impact of tax and benefit changes takes no account of the impact of support to pensioners, such as the above-indexation increase in April 2011 to the standard minimum income guarantee in pension credit, which helps households achieve higher levels of consumption. Looking at this higher consumption without the support that helped enable it may provide a misleading picture of the overall impacts.
As such the analysis in Annex A of the Budget has been based on net incomes. No estimate has been made of the average proportion of gross income which the poorest 20% of households composed of retired people will pay in value added tax in each year from 2010-11 to 2014-15.
Mr David: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that all goods and services specifically for children attract the same rate of value added tax as children's books. 
Mr Gauke: Most books, including children's picture books and painting books, are currently zero-rated for VAT. However, agreements with our EU partners prevent us from extending the scope of existing zero rates, or introducing new ones. We could not therefore extend the zero rate to all goods and services specifically for children.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the future level of value added tax; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gauke: The Treasury receives representations on a wide range of issues. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.
A full range of views on the future rate of VAT was aired during the recent passage of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2010 in July this year.
Karen Lumley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what rate of value added tax is applicable to membership fees of gymnasiums and health clubs in (a) public and (b) private ownership. 
Mr Gauke: Under EU VAT agreements, sporting services are exempt when supplied by certain non-profit making organisations, such as sports and leisure trusts and when supplied by members' clubs to their members. However, these services are taxable at the standard rate of VAT when supplied by local authorities and commercial organisations, and by members' clubs to persons who are not members.
Membership fees therefore also follow this VAT treatment when they are payment for sporting services. 'Social' memberships, which do not confer any rights to participate in sporting activities, are always taxable at the standard rate of VAT.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will undertake an impact assessment in respect of the effect on Scotland of the increase in value added tax. 
Mr Gauke: The VAT increase should be considered in the context of the Budget, which sets out a plan for dealing decisively with the deficit, which will be to the benefit of everyone across the United Kingdom. The Budget documentation, notably annexes A and C of the June 2010 Budget Book, describe the impact of the Budget and of the increase in the rate of VAT.
Mr Evennett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were asked in error to repay tax credits in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (b) the London borough of Bexley and (c) Greater London in each of the last five years. 
Mr Gauke: This information is not available, as HMRC's systems do not provide information on disputes related to tax credits by geographical area other than the UK as a whole.
Mr Evennett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (b) the London borough of Bexley and (c) Greater London have been asked to repay tax credits in each year since their creation; and what the monetary value was of those requested repayments in each of those years. 
Mr Gauke: The number of tax credits awards, and the amounts, that were overpaid by each parliamentary constituency, are available in the HMRC publication "Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Supplement on Payments. Geographical Analysis". The figures are available for 2003-09, and can be found at:
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on wine in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: Wine or other forms of alcoholic refreshments are not separately recorded within the Treasury's accounting system and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to question 7850, tabled on 7 July 2010, on the Office for Budget Responsibility. 
Justine Greening: A reply was given to the hon. Member today.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he plans to answer question 7901, on equality impact assessment of the June 2010 Budget, tabled on 7 July by the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford; 
(2) when he plans to answer question 7212, on the effect of the June 2010 Budget on men and women, tabled on 6 July 2010 by the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford. 
Justine Greening: A reply was given to the right hon. Member on 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 520-21W.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which of his Department's staff formerly based at the British Embassy in Bogota were subsequently serving at the British Embassy in Kabul in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The method used to record internal appointments in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office means that we cannot provide this information without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much aid his Department has allocated to Afghanistan in each year since 2002. 
Alistair Burt: All UK civilian funding in Afghanistan is aligned to strategic priorities and subject to a robust planning regime. A programme office, based in Kabul, oversees governance processes that monitor expenditure and reports progress. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's funding is made up of three categories: the Strategic Programme Fund, which supports the Government's most important international goals; the Bilateral Programme Budget, which is used to enhance bilateral relations between two countries; and the Conflict Pool, a tri-departmental pool created to enhance the effectiveness of the UK's contribution towards conflict prevention and management. The following tables give their total allocation figures for each year since 2002. This includes the total amount of the Conflict Pool available to the Ministry of Defence, the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the pool is not divided into three parts but allocated on a project-by-project basis throughout the year to the three departments.
These programme funds do not, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not, directly administer aid to Afghanistan. Rather, these are funds available for development-related programmes and projects on or in Afghanistan.
|Financial year||SPF||BPB||Conflict Pool|
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 
Alistair Burt: There is no one single piece of legislation covering the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540, but a wide range of national UK legislation is compatible with our obligations under the Resolution. The Biological Weapons Act, Chemicals Weapons Act, the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, the Export Control Act, are examples of some of the UK legislation in place that meet UNSCR 1540 requirements. Regulations are also in place covering the storage and transport of materials to ensure the UK is in compliance with international guidelines. In addition to this the UK has recently ratified both the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The UK is working with other international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and through the G8 to promote UNSCR 1540 implementation and bi-laterally to assist countries with adherence.
A full list of UK legislation is available at:
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the government of Brazil on the ecological effect of the proposed construction of dams in the Amazon. 
Mr Jeremy Browne:
Our embassy in Brasilia is closely following the proposed construction of dams in the Brazilian Amazon. As a rapidly developing economy,
Brazil has many difficult decisions to make about how it can ensure that its development is as sustainable as possible, and not at the expense of Brazil's rainforests and the cultures and livelihoods of the indigenous peoples that live within them.
The Brazilian Environment Agency, IBAMA, is tasked with ensuring that construction processes comply with the environmental criteria set out in construction licences. These aim to minimise the impact of the construction and operation of the dams on the environment and on local communities.
The United Kingdom regularly makes clear to the Brazilian Government, both bilaterally and with our European partners, the importance we attach to these issues. We will continue to do so.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on defence collaboration between China and Burma, with particular reference to the purchase by Burma of the K-8 aircraft from China. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We are aware of media reports alleging that the Burmese military regime purchased K-8 aircraft from China.
The EU has had a comprehensive arms embargo in place against Burma for a number of years. Moreover, the Government are committed to the view that no one should be selling arms to a military regime with an appalling human rights record.
The Chinese Government are well aware of our concerns over arms sales to a country where the military is involved in violent suppression of its citizens.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent reports that Burma is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We are aware of recent media reporting suggesting that Burma may be seeking to develop military nuclear capability. We take such issues very seriously, and remind all states to adhere to their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
We continue to urge Burma to act strictly in accordance with its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to abide by the terms and conditions of its International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement and to declare all nuclear material in its possession.
Our ambassador to Rangoon has lobbied the Burmese regime on their obligations under UN sanctions and raised proliferation concerns with senior members of the military regime. Burma cannot afford to risk the grave consequences of breaching the measures that have been adopted to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent reports of violence in the north of the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: We are concerned about recent reports of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), due to conflict between rebel groups and the CAR authorities.
We encourage all parties to fully engage with the government of CAR in its Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation (DDR) process, to make progress towards reconciliation, and to provide the necessary stability for elections early next year. The UK also supports the efforts of the UN Peace Building Office (BINUCA) which is working to encourage the DDR process as well as reform of the security sector. We also support the UN peacekeeping operation MINURCAT's work to protect civilians and promote human rights and regional peace until its mandate ends in December 2010.
While we do not have direct representation in CAR, we continue to engage with non-governmental organisations and international stakeholders on the political, humanitarian and security situation in the country.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the Government is providing to the MINURCAT mission. 
Mr Bellingham: As a Permanent Member of the Security Council, we provide financial support for MINURCAT through our obligatory financial contributions to UN peacekeeping. So far this financial year (2010-11), we have provided £9.7 million to the mission. As MINURCAT is due to withdraw in December 2010, our total contribution will be confirmed after negotiations on MINURCAT's final budget have been concluded in the General Assembly later this year.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on (a) reimbursement of staff expenses and (b) the 10 largest staff expense reimbursement claims in each year since 1997. 
Alistair Burt: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which former (a) buildings and (b) land owned by (i) his Department and (ii) (A) non-departmental public bodies and (B) agencies for which his Department is responsible have been sold since May 2005; what the sale price of each was at the time of sale; and to which body the funds from the sale accrued in each case. 
Alistair Burt: Sales of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) properties from April 2006 to date are set out in the following table listing the type of property, location, date of sale and approximate sterling receipt (gross). Details of earlier FCO sales, and property sales by agencies and non-departmental public bodies, are not held centrally and to provide such further detail would incur disproportionate cost.
It was agreed in the 1997 comprehensive spending review settlement that the FCO should retain 100% of the proceeds from property sales for re-investment, up to an agreed ceiling for each spending review period, which has not been exceeded. Funds generated from the sale of FCO estate assets have been recycled into the Department's capital budget for reinvestment in the estate. The FCO always ensures best value for money in all asset sales.
|FCO property sales( 1)|
|Sale date||Location||Property type||Gross proceeds (£)|
|(1) No data available centrally pre-April 2006|
(2) Asuncion: 55% of balance received, remainder due later in financial year
Data compiled from Quarterly Management letters
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