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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what travel concessions are available, and how many people are eligible per group, (a) in total, (b) in Teesside and (c) in the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency. 
Ms Keeble: The Transport Act 2000 requires local authorities and PTEs in England and Wales to provide half-price fares on local buses to pensioners and disabled people, with no charge for the pass. In addition, the Transport Act 1985 gives local authorities discretion to provide a more generous scheme (eg less than half-fare or free travel; discounted travel on trains, metros, trams, ferries; or cross-boundary travel). In London, the Freedom Pass scheme is covered by the Greater London Authority Act 1999. Broadly 5.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million disabled people are eligible for these concessions.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much money from the rough sleepers unit has been invested (a) in total and (b) broken down by area since the creation of the unit. 
Ms Keeble: The rough sleepers unit has a programme budget (both capital and revenue) of £200 million over three years. In London, a total of £159 million has been invested over three years drawn from funding streams previously administered by separate Departments. Outside London, where local authorities continue to take the lead in developing local strategies, the unit has invested £39 million under the homelessness action programme. The unit's budget is ring-fenced.
|Yorks and the Humber||2.532|
1. The national figure covers projects like the National Homelessness Advice Service where it is not possible to breakdown by region
2. The London figure includes moneys not directly administered by the RSU (ie SHMG, capital and S.30) but which are part of our overall budget
23 Nov 2001 : Column: 506W
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what plans he has for special purpose vehicles to be created to undertake works in connection with the replacement of the (a) south-west and (b) south and central passenger franchises; and if he will place the plans in the Library; 
(3) if he will list those projects for which special purpose vehicles are being established; 
(4) what role the company which replaced Railtrack will have in the special purpose vehicles set up for rail infrastructure projects; 
(5) if he will publish the (a) framework and (b) timetable for the establishment of special purpose vehicles to undertake rail infrastructure projects; 
(6) what research he has undertaken as to the suitability of using special purpose vehicles for rail infrastructure projects. 
Mr. Byers: The framework for special purpose vehicles for rail investment projects is currently being developed by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and my Department. The SRA strategic plan will identify the investment projects for which an SPV may be appropriate.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent representations he has received on the use of domestic sprinklers to prevent death and damage by fire in domestic homes. 
23 Nov 2001 : Column: 507W
The Government recognise that domestic sprinklers have a role to play in promoting life safety, particularly for the most vulnerable. The Fire Safety Advisory Board will continue to assess their value in the light of emerging standards and improvements in sprinkler technology. We have, therefore, recently commissioned research into the benefits of sprinklers in residential properties, including the preparation of a regulatory impact assessment. The results and conclusions from this work should be available in a little over two years from now.
Additionally, the housing health and safety rating system, which we propose should replace the housing fitness standard, includes guidance in respect of hazards from fire. Although not mandatory for houses in multiple occupation, sprinklers may well be recommended where the risk of fire is high.
Mr. Neil Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what decision he has reached following the consultation exercise on the European Commission's proposal to introduce pedestrian protection features in new cars by means of a negotiated agreement with vehicle manufacturers. 
Mr. Jamieson: We have decided that we should support the negotiated approach in this case. The most significant factor is that it offers the quickest route to introducing worthwhile pedestrian protection into the design of new car models.
The first phase of the agreement offers about 25 per cent. of the fatality reduction and 60 per cent. of the serious injury reduction expected from the European Enhanced Vehicle Safety Committee (EEVC) proposal on pedestrian protection. The full EEVC benefits are to be achieved in the second phase.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will consult on the proposed changes to the council tax discounts on second and long-term empty homes. 
23 Nov 2001 : Column: 508W
The Government's proposals are set out in "Council Tax: a consultation paper on proposed changes for second homes and long-term empty homes". It fulfils the Government's commitment, made in the rural White Paper last year, to consult on this issue.
The Government are also seeking views on how the extra revenue raised should be used: whether it should be retained locally and whether it should be used for specific purposes such as housing. We are also proposing that councils should have the discretion to give council tax discounts for local reasons such as where homes are hit by flooding or in cases of individual hardship.
In some areas, second-home owners bring a much-needed boost to the local economy but, in other areas, a high demand for second homes is pricing local people out of the property market and undermining the viability of local services. Equally, homes left empty for long periods can blight local communities and encourage crime and antisocial behaviour. The proposals we are announcing today could be used to help encourage owners of empty homes to bring them back into use.
More than half a million properties which are no one's main residence currently receive a 50 per cent. council tax discount. Over half of these are long-term empty properties. Potentially, up to £200 million could be raised in England by ending the council tax discounts on second and long-term empty homes.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the latest annual figures for the number of planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 in England and Wales by (a) region, (b) the number of application passed, (c) the number sent to appeal and (d) the number of successful appeals; and if he will provide the same figures for the previous 10 years. [13595R]
|Planning applications(2)||Appeals against refusal(3)||Percentage of|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||34.5||30.8||3.6||0.9||0.7||0.3||37|
|East of England||55.0||48.2||6.8||1.8||1.6||0.5||33|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||33.1||29.8||3.3||0.8||0.7||0.2||34|
|East of England||51.7||45.6||6.1||1.7||1.6||0.5||31|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||32.7||29.2||3.5||0.8||0.8||0.3||37|
|East of England||48.8||42.8||6.0||1.8||1.6||0.6||36|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||32.9||29.7||3.2||0.9||0.8||0.3||36|
|East of England||47.2||41.2||6.0||1.8||1.6||0.5||32|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||32.3||28.9||3.4||0.9||0.8||0.2||31|
|East of England||43.2||37.6||5.6||1.8||1.6||0.5||35|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||33.4||29.6||3.7||1.0||0.8||0.3||30|
|East of England||42.9||37.3||5.6||1.8||1.6||0.5||33|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||35.7||31.6||4.1||1.1||1.0||0.3||31|
|East of England||45.3||39.4||5.9||1.9||1.7||0.6||31|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||35.9||31.7||4.1||1.1||1.0||0.3||27|
|East of England||45.0||39.1||5.9||1.9||1.7||0.5||33|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||35.9||30.9||5.0||1.3||1.2||0.4||31|
|East of England||44.5||37.8||6.7||2.1||1.9||0.6||33|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||40.9||34.4||6.5||1.6||1.4||0.4||30|
|East of England||49.7||40.8||8.9||2.7||2.5||0.8||31|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||42.7||34.9||7.8||1.7||1.5||0.5||32|
|East of England||55.3||43.5||11.8||3.3||2.9||0.9||32|
(2) Section 70 planning applications, ie excludes applications for listed buildings, advertisements and conservation area consents
(3) Figures relate to the number of appeals against section 70 planning applications refused in the year, not the number of appeals received in the year
23 Nov 2001 : Column: 511W
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