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It is the Government's intention that the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo is used to provide increased capacity for domestic passengers. The Department for Transport is in discussion with Network Rail and Stagecoach South West Trains to establish what would be the most cost-effective way to integrate Waterloo International terminal into the domestic station that maximises benefits for the short, medium and long term. This includes the issue of the station's ownership and operation.

Retail: Contracts

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): In England, contracts are the free expression of the choice of the parties, which are then given effect by law. However, there are exceptions to this general rule-for example, provisions in the Race Relations Act 1976, Sale of Goods Act 1979, Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.

Contracts with overseas companies would be drawn up under the appropriate national laws of contract and any business regulations that apply, and determining which country's legal/regulatory framework would take

15 Dec 2009 : Column WA218

primacy would be a matter for the parties to the contract. The Government note that such legislation could be in conflict with the free movement principles of the European Union.

On UK retailers' contracts with domestic suppliers, the Competition Commission recently put in place a new Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which comes into effect in February 2010. This is part of the Competition Commission's recommended remedies to address problems identified in the UK groceries market concerning large grocery retailers passing on excessive risks and unexpected costs to suppliers. The GSCOP, which applies to large UK grocery retailers, requires that retailers keep better records of contracts with suppliers and incorporate the code into supply agreements which will be made available in writing to their suppliers. The code aims to prevent retrospective changes to agreed terms of supply and will extend to agreements between retailers and those who deal with them direct.

Revenue and Customs: Website

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is not aware of any major service disruptions or other significant problems that would have impacted large numbers of customers or affected their ability to pay their Income Tax or VAT liabilities.

Information about issues affecting HMRC's online services are available from the following links on the home page of the web site.

Service Availability

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWeb App/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true &_pageLabel=pageOnlineServices_ShowContent &propertyType=document&id=HMCE_MIG_ 009921

Service Issues

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWeb App/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true &_paqeLabel=paqeOnlineServices_ShowContent &propertyType=document&id=HMCE_PROD1 _028772

HMRC can confirm that all technical help-line numbers have been in full working operation and that the facility to make complaints about any aspect of HMRC business has been available.



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA219

Maintenance of the HMRC website is controlled by the HMRC Customer Contact Directorate Online and HMRC Information Management Services in partnership with their IT suppliers.

As HMRC is unaware of any significant problems with the operation of its website no estimates of lost or delayed revenue have been made.

HMRC is not aware of any problems with the website that have led to any taxpayers names being changed or altered in any way.

Royal Mail: Bicycles

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The department does not hold the information requested. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to respond directly to my noble friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Lord Young of Norwood Green: The department does not hold the information requested. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to respond directly to my noble friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.

Schools: Kitchens

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Department for Children, Schools and Families does not collect this information. However, the report of the School Food Trust's fourth annual survey of take up of school meals in England includes information on catering facilities at national and regional level; although not at local authority level. In response to the trust's 2009 survey, local authorities reported that, across England, 75 per cent of primary schools and 94 per cent of secondary schools had a full production kitchen.



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA220

Sport and Recreation: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The expenditure on recreation and sport by local authorities in England since 1997 is tabled below.

£ million
RevenueCapitalTotal

1997-98

536.5

204.6

741.1

1998-99

561.6

234.9

796.5

1999-00

562.8

240.9

803.7

2000-01

592.8

290.8

883.6

2001-02

624.4

314.5

938.9

2002-03

626.9

307.5

934.4

2003-04

667.7

263.5

931.2

2004-05

710.5

305.7

1,016.1

2005-06

730.0

423.7

1,153.7

2006-07

765.0

414.8

1,179.8

2007-08

809.6

445.8

1,255.5

2008-09

824.2

496.3

1,320.5

Information for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is a matter for the Scottish Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Revenue expenditure from 2003-04 onwards has been collected on a Financial Reporting Standard 17 (FRS 17) basis. Under FRS 17 most of the pension schemes covering local government employees are classed as defined benefit schemes. The main implication of defined benefit status is that retirement benefits are accounted for on the basis of the retirement benefit entitlement to which employment in the year gives rise, rather than the cash amounts of employer's contribution or pension due for the year. As a result comparisons between FRS 17 data and data on a non-FRS 17 basis may not be valid.

Comparisons across years may also not be valid owing to changing local authority responsibilities.

Sport and Recreation: Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Planning guidance for sport and recreational activity is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (PPG 17). Good practice guidance is set out in Assessing Needs and Opportunities: A Companion Guide to PPG17.

Earlier this year my department also issued, jointly with Sport England, Making a planning application-A guide for sports clubs, which provides practical advice to help clubs across the country who want to improve their facilities.

Sufi Muslim Council

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Funding to the Sufi Muslim Council in 2007-08 and 2008-09 was allocated under the Preventing Violent Extremism Community Leadership Fund. Funding in 2006-07 was made as part of central support for National Prevent Projects.

Taxation: VAT

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): VAT is a broad-based tax upon consumption, which operates within a framework of rules, which are agreed by unanimity within the European Union. This framework does not permit reduced rates of VAT to be charged for the repair or construction of all types of buildings.

At the March 2009 Ecofin EU Finance Ministers agreed that all Member States should be allowed the choice to introduce a reduced VAT rate for the,

However, equalising the VAT rate for all domestic new build work would require us to permanently give up the current zero rates and the Government have no plans to do so.

The Government continue to keep the impact of VAT on all building work under review.



15 Dec 2009 : Column WA222

Unemployment

Question

Asked by Lord Chadlington

Baroness Crawley: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, National Statistician, to Lord Chadlington, dated December 2009.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what percentage of people under the age of 25 are unemployed. (HL 502)

Estimates for unemployment are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). For the period July-September 2009 it was estimated that 12.8 percent of all persons under the age of 25 were unemployed. The rate of unemployment for people under the age of 25 as published in the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin is 19.8 percent. This estimate is based on the number of people who are unemployed divided by the number of people who are economically active, i.e. in employment or unemployed, in accordance with the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention.

People aged 16 and over are classed as unemployed by the LFS if they are: without a job, want a job, and have actively sought work in the last four weeks; or, out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next two weeks.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

Asked by Lord Chadlington

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): Typically, new graduates take time to move into employment in the months after graduating, with more graduates out of work in the first few months after graduation.


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