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Retail Premises

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will take steps to give local authorities the power to fine the landlords of retail premises that consistently fail to ensure that their shop-fronts are regularly cleaned and properly maintained. [61917]

Mr. Raynsford: The issue of local authorities' ability to intervene where shop-fronts are poorly maintained and unkempt is being considered by a cross-Government review of the powers and responsibilities that govern all aspects of public spaces and local environments. The review will publish its findings, with recommendations for specific reforms, as a consultation document in the autumn.

Furthermore, the draft Local Government Bill, on which we are currently consulting, contains provisions to allow local authorities and business rate payers to work together to put in place local improvements, such as to the street environment.

Local Government Employees (Code of Conduct)

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to produce a code of conduct for local government employees; and if he will make a statement. [61990]

Mr. Raynsford: Following discussions with the Local Government Association, the Employers Organisation and public sector unions, we are now drawing up a draft code on which we intend to consult during the summer.

Cornish Language

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with his colleagues in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the case for the specifying of the Cornish language in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. [62594]

Mr. Raynsford: I have had no discussions with colleagues in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on this issue but, as the lead Department for the Charter, they are aware of the position on the Government's assessment of the case for specifying the Cornish language.

17 Jun 2002 : Column 125W

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answers of 20 November 2001, Official Report, column 216W, and 19 March 2002, Official Report, column 227W, on the Cornish language, when his Department will complete its assessment of the case for specifying the Cornish language within the provision of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. [62611]

Mr. Raynsford: I appreciate and share fully the hon. Member's interest in reaching a timely conclusion on this issue. Unfortunately, completion of the Government office for the south west's report was delayed but I expect finally to receive it before the end of this month. I can assure the hon. Member the report will receive urgent attention.

Second Homes

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he received on his Department's consultation document on second homes and council tax since January. [62588]

Mr. Raynsford: We received 443 responses to our consultation.

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the response to his Department's consultation document on council tax and second homes this year. [62589]

Mr. Raynsford: We are considering the way forward in the light of these responses. An analysis of the responses has been placed on our website at www.local.odpm.gov.uk

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what timetable he has set for the implementation of a removal of the right of second home owners to council tax discounts; [62587]

Mr. Raynsford: Our consultation paper "Council Tax: Proposed changes for second homes and long term empty homes" was published in November last year. The consultation period closed on 15 February. We are considering the way forward and hope to announce final decisions shortly.

Social Housing

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what financial and other incentives the Government have provided to social housing providers developing new accommodation units provided on a shared equity basis in each of the last five years for which records are available. [62591]

Mr. McNulty: Funding is provided through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme (ADP) and Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LASHG) to assist registered social landlords in developing units for sale on shared ownership terms. The table shows the funding provided in each of the last five years.

17 Jun 2002 : Column 126W

£ million

ADPLASHGTotal
Outturn
1998–9983.748.5292.26
1999–200072.9213.7186.63
2000–0195.4820.19115.67
2001–0285.7230.95116.67
Allocation
2002–03149.05(36)149.05

(36) Not available


Architects

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to abolish the protection of the title of architect, as recommended by the 1993 Warne report; and if he will make a statement. [61881]

Mr. McNulty: The Government currently has no proposals to abolish the protection of the title, architect, as recommended by the 1993 Warne report. This would require amendment of the Architects Act 1997, and any future proposal to make such an amendment would require extensive public consultation.

Regional Government Finance

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance his Department has given the North East Assembly on spending Government funds given to it under the Strengthening Regional Accountability Initiative. [62550]

Mr. Raynsford: The Department has awarded the North East Assembly £1.7 million under the regional chambers fund for strengthening regional accountability: £500,000 in 2001–02 and £600,00 in each of 2002–03 and 2003–04. In July 2001, the then Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions issued guidance to the North East Assembly on the operation of the fund. The guidance was updated and re-issued in February 2002; a copy is in the Library. The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has also issued funding agreements to Northumberland county council, the North East Assembly's accountable body, in respect of 2001–02 and 2002–03 and 2003–04 combined.

TREASURY

State Aid Approvals

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if funding for which state aid approval is granted is automatically included in the public sector accounts; [61271]

Mr. Boateng: Public sector accounts include the income and expenditure of all organisations classified to the public sector by the Office for National Statistics.

State aid approval does not affect how expenditure is recorded in public sector accounts.

17 Jun 2002 : Column 127W

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what has been the (a) cost and (b) saving from the pursuit of the Department's Public Service Agreement targets in each year since they were introduced; [61042]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury's Public Service Agreement set out the key outcomes it is committed to deliver with the resources provided, and its Service Delivery Agreement set out the key steps towards delivery of those targets Each year the Treasury publishes performance against its targets—including on value for money—and the resources it has used, in its departmental report.

Staff Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff were employed by his Department on (a) 2 May 1997 and (b) 31 May 2002. [60928]

Ruth Kelly: Data on staffing levels are not available for the dates requested as they are collected twice a year only, as at 1 April and 1 October. We are currently in the process of collecting the data for 1 April 2002.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 13 June.

Public Expenditure

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of total public expenditure per head excluding defence was in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales for each of the last five years. [61858]

Mr. Boateng: Total identifiable public expenditure per head in England, Scotland and Wales is shown in table 8.1 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2002–03 (Cm 5401). Identifiable spending excludes defence and some other spending that is deemed to be for the benefit of the United Kingdom as a whole and not identifiable as for the benefit of a particular country.


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