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20 Oct 2009 : Column WA62

Housing: Enabling Development

Questions

Asked by Lord Lloyd-Webber

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Updated guidance for local planning authorities on enabling development was published by English Heritage in 2008. This was based on the policies in Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) Note 15 (Planning and the Historic Environment). Criteria for use in determining applications for enabling development have been incorporated in the draft of a new planning policy statement to replace PPG 15, which is currently subject to consultation. The consultation period ends on 30 October.

There is no absolute requirement to offer a listed building for sale before enabling development can be approved. The guidance advises that it would normally be necessary for an applicant to demonstrate that efforts have been made to find a viable use for the building. While this would normally include market testing of the property, whether marketing was appropriate would depend on the particular circumstances of the application.

NHS: IT Strategy

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

Baroness Thornton: In response to a recommendation by the Public Accounts Committee, in its report on the national programme published in January 2009, the department has agreed to consider producing an annual report of the programme's progress against published timetables and expenditure forecasts. Consideration is being given to publication, from 2009-10, of a single document combining the annual report with a restructured statement of the costs and benefits of the programme.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Combining the basic state pension and the second state pension into a single pension payment would not alter entitlement; the total amount in payment would be unchanged. Because both basic state pension and second state pension are treated in the same way for pension credit purposes (both are counted as income in full), projected entitlement to pension credit would remain as under the current system.

Projections of entitlement to pension credit can be found in the Projections of Entitlement to Income Related Benefits to 2050 fact sheet, which is available at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/projections-of-entitlement-to-incomerelatedbenefitsjune2008.pdf. Pension credit is paid at benefit unit level, so projections of entitlement are not available separately for men and women.

Updated projections of entitlement will be published on the Department for Work and Pensions website shortly after Pre-Budget Report.

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Police: Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: That is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the noble Lord, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Specific regulations are in place which provide for the operation of disciplinary procedures by the chief constable. It is not for Government to carry out an assessment of the chief constable's handling of any individual discipline case. However, on conclusion of internal misconduct proceedings, including the chief constable's review, an officer will be notified of his right to appeal to the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The chief constable has advised that these matters remain the subject of ongoing disciplinary proceedings. The chief constable has responsibility for the direction and control of the police and, as such, Government do not intend to review the disciplinary procedures applied to this individual case or to examine the need to compensate the officer for loss of promotion opportunities or stress caused by disciplinary proceedings.

Post Office: Armed Forces

Question

Asked by Earl Attlee



20 Oct 2009 : Column WA65

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The MoD has taken account of the potentially adverse impact associated with the changes to the affected forces post offices and measures are being put in place to ensure that our personnel and their dependants are not significantly disadvantaged. BFPO services will now be retained at a number of NATO headquarters. A basic postal receipt and dispatch facility will be maintained and the BFPO numbers, which are useful for administrative purposes such as banking and internet shopping, will be retained. Further information regarding this is contained in Defence Internal Briefing 37a (DIB 2009/37a), a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Rights of Way: Maps

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Natural England's Stakeholder Working Group on Rights Of Way is still expected to deliver its final report by the end of 2009.

Taxation: Inheritance Tax

Questions

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay



20 Oct 2009 : Column WA66

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The cost of increasing the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million with effect from April 2010 is estimated at £500 million in 2010-11, £1.2 billion in 2011-12, £1.4 billion in 2012-13 and £1.5 billion in 2013-14. Forecasts beyond 2013-14 have not been made.

The latest estimates of numbers of estates for deaths in 2010-11, which would be taxpaying under the current regime, and the amount of tax that would no longer be payable under the increased threshold, are shown in the table below.

Number of estates benefiting from £1 million threshold by estate size (year of death 2010-11)
Estate sizeNumber of estatesTotal tax no longer payable (£ billion)

£0-0.5 million

3,000

0.1

£0.5-1 million

5,000

0 5

Over £1 million

3,000

0.7

Tote: Sale

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Leigh

Lord Davies of Oldham: The arrangements for the sale of the Tote are yet to be determined and discussions are continuing with all the relevant parties. The present intention is that the sale process itself will not start until summer 2010, with a latest completion date of March 2011. We expect to be able to give further details on the process in the next few months.

The Government's position remains that we will honour our commitment to return half of the net proceeds of any market sale to racing subject to the requirements of European state aid and competition rules. I am unable to disclose commercially confidential or sensitive information about the valuation of the Tote or prospective government payments to agents.


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