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Session 2005 - 06
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
3 February 2006



26th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Mrs Geraldine Mitchell and others,

Declares that the Operator's "Master Plan" for Luton Airport must be rejected because:

  • It goes far beyond the options on which the Government consulted, since it involves two runways, not one, and an extra terminal increasing the scale and capacity;

  • The Government's own calculations show it is the least cost effective location;

  • It is the only option without a direct rail link into the airport, so most of the 30 million extra passengers would arrive and depart by car;

  • It is closed by bad weather more than any other London airport;

  • The airspace overhead is more crowded;

  • It is nearest a built up area;

  • It would involve building on a large swathe of green belt land.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to ensure that Luton airport remains a medium haul, medium sized airport and to refuse permission for plans to make it second only in capacity to Heathrow.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.



30th January 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the Isitfair Council Tax protest campaign,

Declares that the year-on-year, inflation-busting increases in Council Tax are causing hardship to many and take no account of ability to pay; further that the proposed property revaluation and re-banding exercise will make an already flawed system even worse.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons votes to replace Council Tax with a fair and equitable tax that, without recourse to any supplementary benefit, takes into account ability to pay from disposable income. Such tax to be based on a system that is free from any geographically or politically motivated discrimination, and that clearly identifies the fiscal and managerial responsibilities of all involved parties.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

The House received a further Petition in these terms on 1st February.


Observations by the Deputy Prime Minister on the Petition [19th December] from users of Broseley Leisure Centre for a multi-purpose leisure facility in Broseley, Shropshire.

    The Deputy Prime Minister understands that a project steering group has been formed following a consultation event organised by Bridgnorth District Council and held on 11th November 2005. The group will submit a bid for funding from Advantage West Midlands (the Regional Development Agency) via the Shropshire Partnership (Local Strategic Partnership) during February 2006.

30th January 2006


Observations by the Deputy Prime Minister on the Petitions [20th December [three petitions] and 17th January] from the Isitfair Council Tax protest campaign for a fair and equitable replacement for council tax.

    Accepts that above inflation increases in Council Tax do cause hardship to those on fixed incomes for whom council tax absorbs significant amounts of disposable income, but supports responsible control of Local Authority Expenditure and reasonable Council Tax increases. The Government reserves the right to cap excessive increases.

    Notes that proposed revaluation of domestic properties in England has subject to Parliament, been postponed, calls on Parliament to support that postponement, and notes that the Government has set up an Independent Inquiry, led by Sir Michael Lyons, to consider the detailed case for changes to the present system of local government funding and to make recommendations on any changes that are necessary and how to implement them. As part of his inquiry, Sir Michael is looking at how best to reform council tax to make it fairer and more sustainable. On 20th September the Government announced that it was extending the remit of Sir Michael's Inquiry so that he could consider local government funding in the context of the wider functions of local government and its future role and, in the light of this, postponing the revaluation of council tax in England. Sir Michael is due to report by the end of 2006.

    Sir Michael is aware of the sort of concerns that the Isitfair campaign and many others have expressed about how the current council tax system affects those on low and fixed incomes and the Government looks forward to receiving his recommendations.

    Requests that proposals for a workable fair local tax be forwarded and rejects the idea that local tax should be levied irrespective of wealth, including home ownership and supports a fair benefit system which takes into account both income and wealth.

30th January 2006


Observations by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs on the Petition [21st July] from residents of Hullbridge in the County of Essex and others for more frequent police patrols and a regular team of officers to protect the area.

    Operational matters such as the day to day deployment of police resources are a matter for the Chief Constable. The Home Office is responsible for allocating funding to police areas as a whole but it is only right that local decisions are made locally. The Police Authority will determine the local policing plan which sets out the priorities for the force area. These are derived partly from national priorities identified by the Government, but also from local priorities which emerge from consultation with the local community. The Chief Officer is responsible for determining staffing requirements and deploying the resources available in accordance with both the local plan and day to day operational demands, in the interests of the local community.

    This Government has greatly increased spending on the police, with a 26 per cent rise in real terms since 1997. There are now record numbers of police officers—over 140,000 (an increase of 13,000 since 1997). Essex Police had 3,190 police officers on the 31st March 2005. This is 229 more than in March 1997. In addition Essex also had 179 Community Support Officers as of 31st March 05. Within these resources, it must remain up to the Chief Officer to decide how he is to meet his agreed policing priorities with the resources at his disposal.

    The Government is working with the police and other partners at national and local level so that by 2008 every area in England and Wales will benefit from dedicated, visible, accessible and responsive neighbourhood policing teams—led by police officers but involving special constables, community support officers, volunteers, wardens and others too. In support of neighbourhood policing the Government is committed to an increase in numbers of Community Support Officers from around 6,000 across England and Wales now to 24,000 by March 2008.

30th January 2006

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