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Home Demolition

David Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many public and private sector homes were demolished in England in 2001–02 in each local authority area.[77300]

Mr. McNulty: Private sector dwelling demolitions funded by local authorities and local authority dwelling demolitions totalled 15.2 thousand in 2000–01, the latest year for which a breakdown by local authority area is available. Demolitions of local authority dwellings amounted to 13.9 thousand, and the numbers in each local authority area are available in the Libraries of the House.

Mobile Phone Masts

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) pursuant to the answer to the honourable Member for Tunbridge Wells of 24 June, Official Report, column 672W, on mobile phone masts, what assessment his Department and the Working Group have made of the proposed Deloitte & Touche review of the 10 Commitments voluntary code of practice adopted by the five mobile telephone operators; [77004]

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Mr. McNulty: The review by Deloitte & Touche, commissioned by the Federation of Electronics Industry (FEI), is a thorough assessment of the operators' ten commitments. The review has not yet been completed, but we expect to see the results by the end of 2002.

Commitment 1 by the mobile phone operators is to develop, with other stakeholders clear standards and procedures to deliver significantly improved consultation with local communities. The operators' performance against this will be assessed as part of the review and Deloitte and Touche will be talking to local community groups and local authorities.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library copies of the site share statistics for mobile telecommunications masts. [77616]

Mr. McNulty: The site share statistics for mobile telecommunications masts are gathered on behalf of the telecommunications industry by the Federation of Electronics Industry (FEI).

They are collated quarterly and show: the numbers of mast that are sharable; the numbers that are shared; and the percentage of shared masts to shareable masts. We will place the latest version of the statistics in the Library at the earliest opportunity. Huw

Firemen's Strike

Mr. Burns: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) in the eventuality of a firemen's strike how many (a) green goddesses and (b) armed forces personnel will be stationed in (i) Essex and (ii) Mid Essex to provide fire cover and other services and where they will be stationed; [77138]

Mr. Raynsford: Emergency cover in Essex, as with the rest of the country, will consist of a number of elements including Green Goddess crews, breathing apparatus teams, rescue teams equipped with specialist equipment and the police. The provision of MOD emergency fire cover has been planned in consultation with the Chief Fire Officer to maximise call-out response times and the availability of a range of firefighting capabilities.

Personnel have been trained and equipped to provide basic emergency fire and rescue cover. The level of training is dependent on the skills already held by personnel and the role that they would perform in the event of a strike. Drivers and basic crew only require a short training package because of the simple nature of

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the equipment and because of the basic level of cover given. Fire Rescue Teams fulfil a more difficult role, which utilises technical equipment in dangerous situation. Some Fire Rescue Teams are already trained and experienced in the use of breathing apparatus and other specialist equipment but additional personnel have also been trained in these techniques. Other support training as well as driver training includes first aid training and specialist equipment maintenance training. Basic training lasts up to five weeks, depending on skill levels and role, plus any other necessary follow on training.

The command and operational structure for emergency fire cover has been designed to enable maximum flexibility and use of available resources, whether from within a county or from assets deployed nearby in neighbouring counties. The fire crews will use a number of temporary stations across the country but the deployment of fire fighters will be based on the assessment of how best to respond to an emergency in the quickest time possible.

Retained Firefighters provide a very valuable service to their communities. We anticipate that in the event of industrial action, many retained firefighters will continue to protect the communities in which they live and work.

The MOD's emergency cover will not replicate the fire fighting capabilities of the Fire Service, but will minimise, as far as possible, the danger to human life. Service personnel will provide basic fire and rescue cover. Huw

Sustainable Development

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment his Department has made of the role of a legally binding framework relating to the delivery and auditing of sustainable development by local authorities; [77584]

Christopher Leslie: The Local Government Act 2000 placed a duty on local authorities to prepare community strategies for promoting the economic, social and environmental well being of their communities and contributing to sustainable development in the UK. Our guidance does not stipulate a timetable for the preparation of community strategies but we have introduced a statutory Best Value Performance Indicator to report on the progress of each authority.

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The Local Government White Paper Strong Local Leadership—Quality Public Services introduced a national framework for assessing the performance of authorities which shifts the focus to the delivery of outcomes. The cornerstone of this framework is the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) which will provide local people with clear and concise information about their council's performance. The Government is also committed to giving local authorities greater freedom to deliver by removing unnecessary bureaucracy. In addition to the action taken for all authorities, CPA will be used as the basis for offering extra freedoms to the best performers. We expect that such authorities will use these freedoms to deliver sustainable improvements to the quality of life of their communities. We intend to announce the details shortly.

National Assembly for Wales

Ian Lucas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from the National Assembly for Wales concerning the Richard Commission on the Assembly's powers and electoral arrangements. [77648]

Mr. McNulty: The Welsh Assembly Government intends the Commission to operate independently. How it conducts its work is a matter for the right hon. Lord Richard QC and his colleagues.

Rent Charges

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the ability of local authorities to waive amounts owed by a pensioner who has stayed in hospital beyond the current maximum time limit before benefit claw-back becomes liable. [77843]

Mr. Raynsford: The setting and collection of rents, including decisions on whether or not to waive rent charges for local authority tenants in particular circumstances is a matter for local discretion.

Any such decision may be influenced by the application and interpretation of Housing Benefit rules which are the reponsibility of my right hon. Friend, the Member for Oxford East. Huw

Bed-and-Breakfast Accommodation

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the answer of 15th October, col 296W, how many of the 128 households in West Sussex in bed and breakfast accommodation have been housed in this way for longer than (a) one month, (b) six months, (c) one year and (d) two years. [78193]

Mrs. Roche: Available information as reported by local authorities in West Sussex is presented in the table below.

Average length of stay in bed and breakfast for homeless households in any form of temporary accommodation, as at 31 March 2002

less than 1 week1 week to less than 1 month1 month to less than 3 months3 months to less than 6 months6 months less than 1 year1 year or moreTotal
Mid Sussex2611140033
West Sussex reported totals1149543720153


Includes any households which, although not in B&B on 31 March, had been accommodated in B&B at some time since their application to the local authority. n/r denotes information not reported. B&B includes annexe-style units where some or all facilities are shared with another household.


DTLR/ODPM P1(E) housing activity returns (quarterly)

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