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Civil Servants

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many civil servants there are in his Department, broken down by pay band; and if he will make a statement. [67454]

Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Central) (ODPM(C)) employs approximately 4,216 staff. This figure is composed of staff working on policy areas and an estimate of 50 per cent. of the support staff who worked for the former Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR). This figure may change when restructuring is complete and final decisions have been taken on whether support staff are allocated to ODPM(C) or Department for Transport (DfT). The table shows these staff split by pay band.

BandOPCM (C)
Band 737
Band 6264
Band 5204
Band 4355
Band 3383
Band 2274
Band 144

The ODPM also includes Government office staff and the following table shows the grade breakdown of these staff.

Band 730
Band 6212
Band 5225
Band 4542
Band 3635
Band 2489
Band 186

Finally ODPM also includes 142 staff who have transferred across from the Cabinet Office. A breakdown by pay band is not yet available for these staff.

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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the adequacy of housing supply for the next 10 to 15 years; and if he will make a statement. [67217]

Mr. McNulty: Annual rates of housing provision to be kept under regular review are established through regional planning guidance and the spatial strategy it sets out. We expect local authorities to provide sufficient housing land to meet this housing provision. A central feature of "plan, monitor and manage" is the process of review and adjustment if indicators show that more or less housing is needed. This should occur as a minimum every five years, and sooner if there are signs of under or over provision.

Ms Walley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will take into account low cost housing in North Staffordshire when assessing the need for affordable housing for key public sector workers in (a) the West Midlands, (b) Cheshire and (c) South Manchester; and if he will make a statement. [69688]

Mr. McNulty: In each region the Government Office and the Housing Corporation produce a Regional Housing Statement working closely with local and regional stakeholders including local authorities and housing associations. This highlights key housing issues and pressures in each region and helps to identify regional priorities. The corporation also produces a Regional Investment Strategy which contains priorities for investment in that region. These priorities are also discussed with local and regional stakeholders.

Multiple Occupation Houses (Deaths)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many deaths there have been in houses of multiple occupation in each of the last five years for which records are available, broken down by the causes of death; and if he will make a statement. [68245]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Priority Development Areas

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the Government's priority development areas. [68357]

Mr. McNulty: Priority areas for development are identified in Regional Planning Guidance issued by the Deputy Prime Minister, in the draft London Plan published by the Mayor and in development plans adopted by local planning authorities.

Overseas Visits

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the overseas trips on departmental business that have been undertaken in each of the last five years by officials in his Department; and what the (a) cost, (b) purpose and (c) result was in each case. [68729]

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Homelessness (Local Authority Powers)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what statutory powers local authorities possess to (a) refuse housing to, (b) refuse services to and (c) return to their place of origin rough sleepers and homeless people. [68663]

Mr. McNulty: Authorities cannot refuse to secure accommodation or provide advice and assistance, as appropriate, to applicants where this is required as a result of a specific duty being owed to them under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. Rough sleepers or homeless people who apply to a housing authority for accommodation or advice and assistance must be treated in the same way as all other applicants.

Authorities do not have a power to return homeless people or rough sleepers to another area, but where an authority decide that an applicant is owed the main homelessness duty and (a) he or she does not have a local connection with the area of the authority and (b) does have one with the area of another authority, the case may be referred to that other authority.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment he has made of the advantages of the system of the area cost adjustments within the local government finance system; [68893]

Mr. Leslie: As we set out in the Green Paper, "Modernising Local Government Finance", we believe that the case for recognising that pay levels vary across the country is clear-cut. There will therefore continue to be an area cost adjustment in the new local government finance system that we intend to introduce in 2003–04.

We do, however, recognise that how the adjustment is calculated is difficult and contentious. That is why the formula grant distribution consultation paper we published on 8 July includes a range of alternative options on which we are inviting comments. We will be carefully considering the views that are put to us during the consultation period before taking final decisions on the best way forward.

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the average SSA per head of population for local services after discounting area cost adjustment is in each (a) metropolitan area, (b) Government office region and (c) local authority; [68897]

Mr. Leslie: The average 2002–03 SSA per head of population, using the mid-2000 population estimates, for each metropolitan area is:


Metropolitan areaSSA per head
Greater Manchester1,061
South Yorkshire1,027
Tyne and Wear869
West Midlands1,114
West Yorkshire1,015

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The area cost adjustment (ACA) factor for each of the metropolitan areas is 1,000, and hence the ACA contribution for each of these areas is zero. The average 2002–03 SSA per head of population, excluding the ACA contribution is, therefore, the same as that in the table.

The average 2002–03 SSA per head of population, both including and excluding the ACA contribution, for each Government office area is:


SSA per head
Government officeIncluding the ACA contributionExcluding the ACA contribution
East Midlands906906
West Midlands989989
Yorkshire and Humberside992992

A table showing the 2002–03 SSA per head, both including and excluding the ACA contribution, for each local authority has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to impose transitional arrangements on the implementation of changes to the local government finance system; and if he will make a statement. [68890]

Mr. Leslie: As we announced in the local government White Paper "Strong Local Leadership—Quality Public Services", we will continue to operate the floors and ceilings scheme to limit changes in grant to councils in any one year. Precise details of our proposals for the scheme for 2003–04 will be announced in the provisional local government finance settlement around the end of November 2002.

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authorities spent (a) at or below SSA levels and (b) above SSA levels in each of the last three years.

Mr. Leslie: In 1998–99, 78 out of 433 authorities incurred a Net Revenue Expenditure at or below SSA. In 1999–2000 there were 52 and in 2001–01 there were 54.

SSA includes Police Grant in the case of police authorities and, in 2000–01, General GLA grant in the case of the Greater London Authority.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to ensure that the new grant formula that will replace SSA will be fairer and simpler and address the needs of all classes of authority. [69985]

Mr. Raynsford: On 8 July, we published a consultation paper setting out a number of options for reforming the distribution system for general revenue grants. One of the aims of the consultation paper is to

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make the system simpler overall, but it must be recognised that the formula will never be completely simple.

Central and local Government have worked together to develop the options contained in the consultation paper to make the system fairer for all local authorities. Decisions on the future funding system will be taken only after all consultation responses have been fully considered.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister on how many occasions a local authority has put into the public domain the confidential draft of the local authority's corporate governance inspection by the Audit Commission prior to publication; and what action he intends to take against such local authorities. [69692]

Mr. Leslie: Of the corporate governance inspections that have been carried out to date four reports have come into the public domain prior to publication. Such premature disclosure does not help authorities to derive full benefit from inspections. The Audit Commission strongly advises local authority officers and members not to reveal the contents of draft reports prior to an agreed release date. Confidential drafts are provided in order to allow full discussion and deliberation of the recommendations within the council; and between the council and the inspectors, and the incorporation of any subsequent changes to the report before publication of a final report. The detailed management of these arrangements is a matter for the Audit Commission and the authority concerned.

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