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Written Question
Society of Antiquaries: Rents
22 Dec 2020

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in reaching a resolution with the Society of Antiquaries with regard to the rent paid for its premises in Burlington House.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh

The Society of Antiquaries, along with four other Learned Societies, pay rent under the current rent agreement which was formally agreed between the Learned Societies and the Government following a High Court settlement in 2005. The agreement was also approved by the Charities Commission.


Written Question
Bookshops: Non-domestic Rates
17 Jul 2018

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce a business rates relief scheme for bookshops analogous to that provided for public houses.

Answered by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

The Government has introduced a range of business rates reforms and measures to support businesses, including bookshops, worth over £10 billion by 2023. This includes, from April 2017, permanently doubling Small Business Rate Relief and raising the threshold for relief meaning that over 600,000 small businesses now pay no business rates at all, and helping all business by switching the measure of inflation, used for the indexation of rates, from Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index.


Written Question
Housing: Construction
15 Dec 2016

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 24 November (HL Deb, col 2050), on what evidence the statement that "we are building more houses than ever before" was based.

Answered by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

The government’s policies mean that we have delivered nearly 900,000 new homes in England since 2010 and private new build housing starts are at their highest financial year level since 2007/08. Our planning reforms also mean that major planning applications determined on time are at the highest percentage on record. However, we acknowledge that we have not been building enough homes in England for decades and that we have more to do. The Autumn Statement set out £5.3 billion of investment to build more homes. We will set out a further comprehensive package of reform to boost housing supply and halt the decline in housing affordability in a Housing White Paper to be published in January.


Written Question
Local Government
10 Mar 2015

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support and champion England’s traditional counties.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

England’s traditional counties date back over a thousand years of English history, but many of the counties have been sidelined by Whitehall in recent decades, whether by the bland municipal restructuring of Edward Heath’s Government in 1972, or by the imposition of artificial regional structures by the last Labour Government based on the EU’s Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (the appropriately-named “NUTS” Regulations).

Yet the tapestry of England’s counties binds our nation together, and is interwoven with our cultural fabric – from our cricket to our ales. So this Government has taken a series of steps to champion our traditional counties:

• We have amended planning regulations to allow local and county flags to be flown without planning permission, and published a plain English guide to flying flags. Previously, flying a county flag on an existing flag pole required a princely sum of £335 to be paid to the council.

• We have supported the Flag Institute in publishing a new guide for would-be vexillologists to encourage a new wave of county and other local flags to be designed and flown. http://www.flaginstitute.org/wp/british-flags/creating-local-and-community-flags/

• My Department has flown a range of county flags in Whitehall to mark different county days, including Cumberland, Huntingdonshire, Westmorland and Middlesex. We have also flown flags to celebrate other historic localities such as those of the Ridings of Yorkshire and of Wessex – the kingdom which gave birth to the united English nation.

• We are changing highways regulations to allow traditional county names to appear on boundary road signs. The previous rules prevented unitary councils like Blackpool from having a road sign saying ‘Lancashire’, or Poole saying ‘Dorset’ – since they were not considered to be part of the ‘administrative county’.

• We have a new online interactive map of England’s different county boundaries. http://communities.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Compare/storytelling_compare/index.html?appid=7b0e661ef66b4a7aacb5a9acf55108ac

• Ordnance Survey, the Government’s National Mapping Agency, now provides a dataset of current, ceremonial counties (counties retained for the purposes of representing Her Majesty by Lord Lieutenants and High Sheriffs). http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/help-and-support/products/boundary-line.html

• I can also announce to the House today that from May a dataset of the traditional, historic counties based on 19th Century boundaries will be available on the OS OpenData portal. These datasets are compatible with the OS Boundary-Line product which is available to all free of charge. Ordnance Survey is also going to provide a viewing map window on their website showing both the historic and ceremonial County boundaries on top of a base map.

• Later in the year, Ordnance Survey is hoping to publish a paper map of the Historic Counties of England, Scotland and Wales (as defined in the Local Government Act 1888 for England and Wales and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 for Scotland), which will be available to the general public to purchase and proudly display.

We are stronger as a nation when we cherish and champion our local and traditional ties. This Government is proud to wave the flag of St George and Union flag alongside our county flags. Whatever one’s class, colour or creed, we should have pride in our English identity within the United Kingdom’s Union that binds us all together.