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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason the Spring Supplementary Estimates were revised; and if he will list the differences between the original and revised Spring Supplementary Estimates. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Spring Supplementary Estimates were revised in order to allow provision for short-term financial support of up to £30 million to the National Air Traffic Services, as referred to in my right hon. Friend's answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound) on 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 807W.
As a consequence the revised Spring Supplementary Estimates differ from the Spring Supplementary Estimates as follows: the introduction includes a new sub-paragraph xlvi; the ambit of RfR2 has been revised; the total capital expenditure figure at Part II has been increased; column 7 of RfR2 section C has been increased with consequent changes to the totals in the revised subhead detail section, the resource to cash reconciliation table and the forecast cash flow statement; and a note has been added recording that the expenditure rests on the sole authority of the Appropriation Act.
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much has been given to local authorities in Government ring-fenced grants, broken down by local authority and service area, since 199798; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government have made clear in the Local Government White Paper "Strong Local LeadershipQuality Public Services" that it will restrict ring-fencing to cases which are genuine high priorities for Government and where we cannot achieve our policy goal by securing output or outcome targets. We will be keeping all ring-fencing under review with the aim of removing it as soon as possible to do so.
19 Mar 2002 : Column 223W
Ms Keeble: I am announcing today the names of 24 authorities in England which, on a voluntary basis and subject to the approval of their tenants, should be able to proceed with proposals to carry out 26 transfers of all or part of their stock to registered social landlords. I have today placed 15 proposals on the transfer programme while holding a place open for a further 11 transfers. Together the programme could involve over 180,000 dwellings in large scale voluntary transfers over two years.
Authorities on the 2002 Programme have decided, with their tenants, to pursue housing stock transfer as their vehicle for reaching by 2010 the Government's Decent Homes Target. They will have made this decision after considering the various options for reaching the target. Housing transfer enables the new landlords to obtain increased investment from private sources to carry out any backlog of repairs and subsequent improvements more quickly than if the properties had remained in local authority ownership. Housing transfer can also bring about higher levels of tenant involvement, ensuring housing services meet tenants' needs and preferences. It can also provide a significant boost to the wide-scale regeneration of the surrounding area. Over time, tenants' rents will be similar to what they would pay to their local authority, due to the Government's policy of bringing greater fairness and coherence to the structure of social rents.
Housing transfers are voluntary and may only take place if tenants are in favour. The consent of the Secretary of State is also required before a transfer can proceed and that will only be granted if it appears that a majority of tenants wish the transfer to proceed.
Proposals submitted for the 2002 Programme have been of high quality. However some are not as advanced as we would wish to secure a place immediately. Therefore Copeland, Teignbridge, Middlesbrough and the London boroughs of Hackney (Kings Crescent) and Islington (Tollington Estates) have been asked to develop their transfer proposals further. I am also holding open places on the programme for Cannock Chase, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Sheffield, Southwark (Tabard Gardens Estate), Solihull, and Worcester pending the agreement of valuations with them.
19 Mar 2002 : Column 224W
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what procedure can be adopted in cases where a complaint against a parish councillor for non-declaration of interest is made, when neither the parish council nor the borough council have either a code of practice or a monitoring officer. 
Dr. Whitehead: Parish councillors are currently expected to observe a National Code of Local Government Conduct, issued in 1990. The code is for guidance, although Section 94 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides that if a person should fail to declare a pecuniary interest they may be liable to prosecution and, if convicted, fined up to £200 for each offence.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to improve post offices in deprived urban areas with special reference to how the money allocated in the Comprehensive Spending Review 2000 will be spent; and what definition he uses to identify a deprived urban area. 
19 Mar 2002 : Column 225W
Ms Keeble: The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit is developing a fund to help sustain and improve post offices in deprived urban areas. £15 million was allocated for this Fund in Spending Review 2000, and this sum remains committed for this purpose. The development of this fund has taken longer than we hoped, as there are some complex legal issues that we must resolve in order to launch the fund on a firm footing.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many meetings with outside bodies he has held to consider the recommendations of his Department's commissioned study on the Cornish language in respect of the case for introduction via the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Government Office for the South West acting on behalf of the Department commissioned an independent academic study to establish the position on the use and currency of the Cornish language historically and today. The purpose of the study was to provide a sound factual basis for informing the Government's assessment of its position on Cornish in relation to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The study report made no recommendations on this issue and I have, therefore, had no meetings with outside bodies to consider any.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when his Department expects to complete its assessment of the case for specifying the Cornish language within the provision of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 
Dr. Whitehead: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Ms Keeble) on 20 November 2001, Official Report, column 216W. The report of the Government Office for the South West to Ministers is expected imminently.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for how long his Department has been assessing the case for specifying the Cornish language under the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Department has been responsible for coordinating advice on the Government's policy on Cornish in relation to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages since 31 March 1999 through the Government Office for the South West (GOSW).
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