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14 Nov 2001 : Column: 738W
are the terms of the brief given to the Finsbury Public Relations firm in relation to his Department's relations with the City; 
(3) what the expected monthly cost is to his Department of the cost of employing Finsbury Public Relations. 
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many council tenants in England have taken advantage of cash incentive scheme payments in order to buy a home in the private sector in 200001; what restrictions there are on the amount of grant that may be made available in (a) Poole and (b) London and the South East; and what the maximum amount of grant allowed is, as a proportion of average house prices in (a) and (b). 
The maximum grant payable in London and the south east is 80 per cent. of the average Right to Buy Discount in the authority in question. The limit on the overall RTB discount in those regions is £38,000. 80 per cent. of the £38,000 is £30,400. This equates to around 20 per cent. of average house prices in London and the south east.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent discussions he has had with the Environment Agency regarding planning policy guidance on building in areas subject to flooding. 
Ms Keeble: The Chairman and Chief Executive of the Environment Agency have had three recent meetings with Ministers in this Department that included discussion of a range of issues, including planning and flooding.
In addition, officials meet and discuss regularly with their colleagues in the Environment Agency the implementation and effectiveness of the planning policy guidance on "Development and flood risk" published in July 2001.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what criteria he uses to determine the calling in of planning applications, with specific reference to development in the flood plains. 
Ms Keeble: My right hon. Friend's policy on calling in planning applications remains as stated by the then Minister for Planning on 16 June 1999, Official Report, column 138W. His policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications. He will, in general, only take this step if planning issues of more than local importance are involved.
14 Nov 2001 : Column: 739W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the reasons for the decision not to call in the planning application of Ebley Wharf in Stroud. 
Ms Keeble: Estimates of the stock of social housing in England in the latest 10 years for which data are available are given in the table. Social dwellings include houses and flats owned by registered social landlords and by council.
|1 April 1991||4,507|
|1 April 1992||4,490|
|1 April 1993||4,474|
|1 April 1994||4,445|
|1 April 1995||4,421|
|1 April 1996||4,412|
|1 April 1997||4,390|
|1 April 1998||4,358|
|1 April 1999||4,340|
|1 April 2000||4,290|
14 Nov 2001 : Column: 740W
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress has been made on the transfer of the functions of the Local Government Commission for England to the Electoral Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: I have today laid a draft of an Order which, subject to parliamentary approval, I intend to make under section 18 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act to provide for the transfer of functions of the Local Government Commission for England, together with the associated functions of the Secretary of State on electoral arrangements, to the Electoral Commission with effect from 1 April 2002. Our aim is to secure a well, planned transfer which avoids any disruption to the current programme of periodic electoral reviews being undertaken by the LGC or to the work programme of the Electoral Commission.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total expenditure was on (a) advertising, (b) polling, (c) focus groups, (d) design consultants, (e) caterers, (f) production of departmental publications and (g) photographs/photographers by his Department for each year since 1995 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms; what was (A) the annual percentage increase in spending on each category and (B) spending on each category as a percentage of the total departmental running costs; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I am therefore unable to provide a substantive answer under the terms of exemption 9 (voluminous and vexatious requests) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
However, a breakdown of the Ministry of Defence's public relations' expenditure is published in the annual Departmental Performance Report, broken down into categories of RN, Army, RAF and civilian recruitment, PR, marketing and business support services, Chief of PR, sales promotion, scholarships and National Employers' Liaison Committee.
The Government are committed to using only whatever channel is judged to be the most cost-effective way to deliver the publicity necessary to support the implementation of policy. Paid advertising is resorted to only after careful consideration of the cost benefits.
14 Nov 2001 : Column: 741W
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1224W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Mr. Wright). A quinquennial review of the Defence Medical Agencies and some other aspects of defence medical arrangements is currently under way. The first phase of the review has been completed and a summary has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ingram: We are currently, as part of our normal routine, undertaking work to develop options on how to provide and deliver an effective and efficient future medical capability required to deploy in support of operations. A report on this work will be produced for internal planning purposes during autumn next year.
Dr. Moonie: The work undertaken, in the wake of the Strategic Defence Review, on a strategy for resolving problems facing the Defence Medical Services, constitutes internal discussion and advice and is withheld from publication under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. A summary of the findings entitled "The Defence Medical ServicesA Strategy for the Future" was placed in the Library of the House in December 1998.
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