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Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which categories of carer will be credited into the state second pension; and for each of those categories, who will be (a) credited automatically and (b) need to make a claim. 
Maria Eagle: Carers will qualify for state second pension for each complete tax year they do not work at all, or earn less than the annual national insurance lower earnings limit and they are looking after:
an ill or disabled person and are entitled to invalid care allowance or qualify for home responsibilities protection, which they may have to claim.
|Republic of Ireland||86,525|
(9) All other countries with individual case load less than 5,000.
1. Figures may not sum to overall total due to rounding.
2. Figures are for GB pensioners excludes NI pensioners.
Matching, Intelligence and Data Analysis Service. May 2001.
8 May 2002 : Column 209W
|Numbers contributing to a personal pension||4.08|
|Numbers receiving income from a personal pension||0.80|
|Total number of people with a personal pension||4.88|
1. Information is drawn from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) for the year 200001 and covers Great Britain only.
2. Due to the size of the FRS sample and the fact that the survey relies on self-reporting of pension income the information may be subject to a margin of error.
Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that the new grant formula that will replace SSA will (a) be improved and (b) address the needs of all classes of authority; 
Mr. Raynsford: We are working to develop options for fairer and more intelligible grant distribution formulae. We will consult on options over the summer and will consider the responses when we come to take decisions.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the financial impact on parish councils of the 1996 Accounts and Audit Regulations; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: I am aware of the impact that accounting and audit requirements can have on parish councils as a consequence of complying with the Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996. For this reason, last year we increased the income threshold, below which local councils are subject to the least onerous accounting regime, from £5,000 to £50,000. In addition, the Audit Commission has introduced a new 'lighter touch' audit framework for local councils, with the aim of making the audit process simpler and therefore cheaper. The new regime should result in lower audit costs for most small councils.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he plans to introduce an internal audit requirement for parish councils; and if he will make a statement. 
8 May 2002 : Column 210W
system of internal audit. We plan to consult later this year on proposals aimed at strengthening this requirement by providing for all authorities to follow best practice in carrying out their internal audit role.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will set out his definition of the amenity grounds on which local authorities may refuse planning applications for mobile phone masts. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 7 May 2002]: Planning decisions are based upon the land-use merits of each proposal; an assessment must be made of the impact of the proposed development on amenity. Each planning case is likely to have a unique set of relevant facts, and the courts are final arbiters of what is material. The Department's advice on materiality is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 1 (PPG1), "General Policy and Principles".
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what research his Department has commissioned into planning guidance on the siting of mobile phone masts in other member states in the European Union. 
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action has been taken to carry out the Stewart report recommendation to appoint an ombudsman to examine decisions on the siting of base stations where there is disagreement at the local level. 
Ms Keeble: The Stewart Group's report on mobile phones and health suggested that the appointment of an ombudsman would help with planning decisions on siting of base stations, for example, where agreement could not be reached locally. The Government's response to the report made clear that while the Government are sympathetic to the objectives of the proposal, it feels there are better ways of achieving them, bearing in mind that there is no comparable arrangement in relation to other kinds of development. The role of an ombudsman would not sit comfortably with the existing appeal process within the planning system.
As regards siting, the Government's view is that the objectives are met by the planning process. When considering applications for new development, local planning authorities consult local people and take their views into account in making decisions. Where an authority refuses an application the developer can appeal to the Secretary of State. Pre-applications discussions with authorities and with local people also have an important part to play, providing opportunities to explore alternative approaches to the siting and appearance of masts.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 172W, on rural housing, what representations he has received on the (a) proposals for a tariff in rural areas and (b) level of such a tariff. 
8 May 2002 : Column 211W
Ms Keeble: We have received over 500 responses to our consultation on reforming planning obligations. In the consultation we have proposed that planning obligations should take the form of a standardised tariff, set through the local plan process, and to include a contribution towards affordable housing. This could apply in rural as well as urban areas. The consultation document proposes that tariffs would be set by local authorities, subject to safeguards
8 May 2002 : Column 212W
Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list, by project, the total investment in housing capital improvements in the London borough of Redbridge, (a) in each of the past five years and (b) expected for 200203. 
|Housing investment programme(10)||2.335||1.421||1.729||5.930||3.260||3.753|
|Capital receipts initiative||0.889||2.275||2.081|||||||
|Cash incentive scheme||0.171||0.158|||||||||
|Major repairs allowance||||||||||4.483||4.036|
|Disabled facilities grant||0.488||0.851||0.663||0.663||0.747||0.750|
|Approved development plan(12)||3.749||4.761||3.699||3.612||4.876||19.285|
(10) Basic Housing ACG
(11) Expenditure relates to a single estate action project on the Triptree Estate in Barkingside, which received a total of £4.748m in Estate Action funding from 199394 to 19992000.
(12) Allocated by the Housing Corporation to registered social landlords.
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