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Dr. Whitehead: An authority's SSA for flood defence is based on expenditure, including levies, from past years. This is subject to scaling back to match the agreed national SSA total for flood defence.
The Government have announced that although we review local government finance, we will not be making any changes to the SSA methodology until 200304. We will, however, be consulting soon on options arising from the separate DEFRA-led review of financial and administrative arrangements for flood defence, which may affect SSAs from that date.
Ms Keeble: Under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996), local housing authorities must ensure that suitable accommodation becomes available for all applicants who are eligible for assistance,
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unintentionally homeless and who fall within a priority need group. The priority need groups include a person who is vulnerable as a result of old age or with whom such a person resides or might reasonably be expected to reside.
The Housing Corporation, through the approved development programme, currently funds registered social landlords to provide accommodation for elderly people who are homeless. A continued commitment to this client group is recognised in the Housing Corporation's National Investment Strategy for 200304.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if consultation draft PPG25 will apply planning applications originally submitted before its introduction. 
Ms Keeble: The draft of PPG25 ("Development and Flood Risk") was superseded by the final version when it was published in July 2001. All planning policy guidance notes are material considerations, to be taken into account by local authorities where relevant to their decisions on planning applications during the period they are in force.
Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the Government's proposed action to deliver a low-carbon transport system. 
Mr. Jamieson: I have today, together with the Minister of State Department for Trade and Industry, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister of State Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, published a draft Government strategy on "Powering Future Vehicles", for consultation. This draft strategy sets out how Government propose to lead, encourage and facilitate the shift to a low-carbon transport system. This marks the start of a consultation, which will last three months. In the spring the Government will publish a final Powering Future Vehicles strategy. I have placed copies of this document in the Library.
Mr. Caborn: The Government are fully committed to providing a wide range of opportunities for sporting activities in all areas of the country, including rural areas. A number of initiatives including School Sports Co-ordinators, Spaces for Sport and the Arts, and the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) PE and School Sport Programme, will help to improve provision in rural areas.
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17. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make available digital set top boxes free of charge to (a) pensioners and (b) others on low incomes. 
Dr. Howells: My Department has no plans to make available digital set top boxes free of charge. However, the Government are committed to ensuring that terrestrial analogue broadcasting signals are maintained until switching to digital is an affordable option for the vast majority of people. As a target indicator of affordability, 95 per cent. of consumers should have access to digital equipment.
Mr. Caborn: Supporters Direct was established to assist groups of supporters wishing to get involved in the responsible running of football clubs. It provides legal and other advice, and limited financial help with administrative costs, to groups wishing to form club-based supporters' trusts.
19. Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the plans for a new swimming pool at Central park, Harold Hill, Upminster, sponsored by Sport England. 
Mr. Caborn: Sport England provided a lottery grant of £4.2 million towards the costs of developing the new swimming facilities in Central park, Harold Hill, Upminster in December 1999 which included a six lane, 25m pool. The total project costs at the time of the award were estimated to be approximately £8.3 million.
Tessa Jowell: The Government have encouraged better planning, accountability and performance in public library services through the introduction of Annual Library Plans (ALPs) in 1998 and standards of service on 1 April this year. The authority's performance against the Library Standards will be monitored, by the Department, through ALPs. Additionally, to help libraries provide a better service, £170 million of lottery money is being made available to libraries through the People's Network programme to upgrade their ICT infrastructure, create innovative digital content and train library staff in the use of ICT.
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22. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement about the cost of running the New Millennium Experience Company since 1 January and its future plans. 
Tessa Jowell: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has incurred wind-down costs of £8.81 million in the period 1 January to 31 October 2001. NMEC is engaged in a wide range of tasks necessary to prepare the company for solvent liquidation including closing out and finalising all aspects of the company's financial affairs. It is intended that a liquidator will be appointed around the end of this year.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) evidence and (b) advice the Gambling Review Body considered before including Recommendation 70 in its recent report. 
Mr. Caborn: The Government are committed to the development of sport and increasing opportunities for participation throughout the country. The strategy for sportA Sporting Future for Alland the Government's Plan for Sport set out an action plan on how we intend to achieve those objectives. Responsibility for developing grass roots sport at the regional level rests with a number of organisations including Sport England, local authorities, local education authorities, schools, sports governing bodies, sports clubs, volunteers, and in order to ensure the best use of resources it is essential that all these interests work in partnership.
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All of the programmes for providing better sports facilities and improving sports provision are being implemented in the Region including Lottery funding, where over £130 million has been committed to the region, the School Sport Co-ordinators programme and specialist sports colleges while the Spaces for Sport and Arts, NOF Round three and NOF Green Spaces programmes will all be injecting significant new resources into facilities which will be available to schools and the wider community.
For the future I have made it clear that I wish to see a strengthened regional structure for the delivery of sport in the regions which involves local decision making and strong partnerships with all the key local interests. I will be discussing these issues with the Sport England Council and its new Chief Executive when he is in post.
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