14 Oct 2009 : Column 29WS

14 Oct 2009 : Column 29WS

Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Cabinet Office

Ministerial Responsibilities

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and for the Olympics, and Paymaster General (Tessa Jowell): I have today published a revised edition of the "List of Ministerial Responsibilities" (October 2009). Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and the Vote Office.

The list can also be accessed at: http:// www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/ministerial_responsibilites/


Corporate Taxation

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Stephen Timms): I am today announcing the Government's intention to present to Parliament in the next Finance Bill a change to the rules on how groups of companies are taxed when they buy back their issued debt at a discount to the amount borrowed.

At present where a debtor company is released from its debt liability for less than the amount borrowed it is taxed on the difference between the amount it has borrowed and the amount it pays to be released from its liability. In order to prevent avoidance of the charge the same rules apply where a company connected to the debtor-for instance a fellow group member-instead buys the debt from the creditor. However, in order to help genuine company rescues, there is an exception to this anti-avoidance rule in certain circumstances.

The circumstances are:

In the present financial conditions many banks and other businesses have issued debt that is trading at a discount to the amount borrowed.

Many, for good commercial reasons, are seeking to buy their debt back from the market. However some are taking advantage of the rules set up to help company rescues in order to avoid being taxed on the profit they make when their debt is cancelled for less than the amount they borrowed. They do this by setting up a new company to buy the debt.

The Government therefore propose to change the rules, which will apply in relation to any debt buybacks that take place from today to ensure that only those debt buybacks that are undertaken as part of genuine corporate rescues will benefit from the buyback profits not being subject to tax.

14 Oct 2009 : Column 30WS

The changes proposed are that the conditions requiring the purchasing company not to be connected with the debtor during a prescribed period will be replaced by the following three conditions:

Even if these conditions are met such that the debtor is not taxed on the discount at the time of the buyback, any future cancellation of the debt by the new creditor will result in the debtor being taxed on the previously untaxed discount.

Communities and Local Government

Ordnance Survey (Performance Targets 2009-10)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. Ian Austin): The following performance targets have been set for Ordnance Survey in 2009-10:

Ordnance Survey will report externally against a set of agency performance monitors as required of all executive agencies in Government:

These targets reflect Ordnance Survey's new business strategy as announced at Budget 2009.

Connecting Communities

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. John Denham): I can today inform Parliament about a plan to reinvigorate and connect with those communities that are feeling the pressure from recession most acutely and ensure they are well placed to share fully in future prosperity and emerge stronger and more cohesive.

In recent years substantial investment has transformed large parts of the country. But this investment has taken place against a background of wider changes which has left some communities feeling under pressure.

Around 100 areas of the country have been identified as the focus of a targeted programme of work that will focus on alleviating those pressures and making sure that real help is available.

Practical actions delivered on estates and streets will focus on developing a real insight into what is happening in those communities and introduce changes that will
14 Oct 2009 : Column 31WS
address local people's concerns, reconnect them with jobs and tackle the real and perceived sense of unfairness some people are feeling.

I can today name the first 27 neighbourhoods across 21 local authorities that will be involved in the initial phase of this £12 million programme of local intensive engagement that will connect communities.

Each area will draw up specific plans to address local challenges. While the responses will vary from place to place they are likely to focus on three key areas:

14 Oct 2009 : Column 32WS
Connecting Communities Areas
GO RegionLAILE Area



Bury Green Ward

King's Lynn

North Lynn

East Midlands


New Parks


Abbey Ward




Barking & Dagenham






Cray Valley & Mottingham


Colyers & North End

North East




Castle, Redhill & Southwick

North West

Blackburn with Darwen

Little Harwood

Cheshire West and


Ellesmere Port


Cleator Moor



West Midlands


Kingstanding, Stockland Green &



Druids Heath, Brandwood Ward


Bartley Green & Weoley




Burslem & Shelton


Milton Keynes

Tinkers Bridge, Woughton Ward

South West

North Somerset

Western-Super-Mare Central Ward


Bourne Valley, Rossmore


Park Ward, Walcot East

Yorkshire & Humber

N Lincolnshire

Caistor Road Estate, Barton Ward


Park Ward, Walcot East

Yorkshire & Humber

N Lincolnshire

Caistor Road Estate, Barton Ward

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn): The Minister with responsibility for marine and the natural environment, my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Huw Irranca-Davies) and the Minister with responsibility for food, farming and environment, my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar and Canning Town (Jim Fitzpatrick) will represent the United Kingdom at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on 19 and 20 October.

There are a number of items on the agenda relating to agriculture and fisheries which are of significant interest to the United Kingdom. Discussions will take place on the following:

There are currently two items under any other business-renewal of fishing fleet under the European fisheries fund regulation from Lithuania; and a state aid request from Poland for the purchasing of agricultural land.

Also scheduled is a ministerial lunch on 19 October to discuss 'Policy Coherence for Development, and in particular those aspects relating to food security and FAO reform'.

    Index Home Page