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(3) what response relating to the local government finance consultation has been received from Somerset County Council relating to education funding; and when it was received. 
Mr Raynsford: Both Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane District Council submitted responses to the Formula Grant Review consultation (including the education options in the case of the county) before it closed on the 30 of September.
However, in addition the Government have received around 55,000 letters as the result of various campaigns relating to the Formula Grant Review. None of these campaigns was solely based around Somerset, but since the county is a member of the F40 group of authorities who campaign on education funding a number of those letters do relate to that council. We do not record the details of the senders of campaign letters as a matter of course. For this reason, and since very many of them are multiple copies of the same letter sent by the same people to different Ministers, a more detailed answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
We are currently taking decisions on the new system to replace SSAs. As we do so we are carefully considering the full range of evidence, pressures and points that have been put to us. We will announce the new system for distributing Formula Grant, including detailed grant allocations for individual authorities, at the time of the provisional local government finance settlement which we expect to be around the start of December. Once the Government have allocated their grant, decisions about budgets and services are primarily for local councils to make. However, we have already guaranteed that we will use grant Xfloors" to ensure that no authority will face a cut in grant next year on a like for like basis, and we hope to do better than that when we announce the actual floors and ceilings scheme as part of the provisional settlement.
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following its publication. However, the number is about 50. The White Paper was preceded by a consultation document, XModernising Local Government Finance: A Green Paper", to which we received over 1,100 responses.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will give a commitment that no local authority will receive less grant money in real terms under any proposals contained in the Local Government Finance White Paper adopted by the Government; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will announce its proposals for the new revenue grant distribution system to replace Standard Spending Assessments, including minimum Xfloors" on grant changes, at the point of the provisional local government finance settlement around the beginning of December. We hope at that point to improve considerably on the interim guarantee already given that no authority will receive less grant next year on a like for like basis.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what research was done by his Department into the impact of dispersal and settlement patterns on the cost of providing rural services in rural areas as part of the local government formula grant review; 
(3) what account he has taken of the cost of providing services in rural areas in the local government formula grant review. 
Mr. Stunell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many representations he has received relating to the consultation on local government finance as it affects Stockport Metropolitan Borough. 
Mr. Raynsford: We have two responses received from Stockport MBC and four letters from MPs. However, in addition Government has received around 55,000 letters as the result of various campaigns relating to the Formula Grant Review, including campaigns connected with the F40 group of authorities who campaign on education funding. A number of these letters do relate to Stockport.
We do not record the details of the senders of campaign letters as a matter of course. For this reason, and since very many of them are multiple copies of the same letter sent by the same people to different Ministers, it is not possible to provide a more detailed analysis except at disproportionate cost.
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Mr. Raynsford: An implementation plan for the White Paper was published last April setting out the planned dates for delivering the major proposals in the White Paper. It is updated monthly, and is available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. There has been substantial progress, including consulting on a draft Local Government Bill that takes forward many of the proposals included in the White Paper.
Mr. Raynsford: We will announce the new system for distributing Formula Grant, including detailed grant allocations for individual authorities, at the time of the provisional local government finance settlement which we expect to be early in December. Once the Government has allocated its grant, decisions about budgets and services are primarily for local councils to make. However, we have already guaranteed that no authority will face a cut in grant next year on a like for like basis, and we hope to do better than that when we announce the actual floors and ceilings scheme as part of the provisional settlement.
The report by Dr. Neil Cherry on XTogether Against Masts" is concerned with an assessment of possible health effects that might arise from exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation from mobile phone base stations (masts). It was to address such concerns that in 1999 the Government asked the chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) to set up an Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP). The group was chaired by Sir William Stewart FRS, FRSE and reported to Government in May 2000.
A particular issue for the group was the exposures that might be received by members of the public from local base stations and the potential for effects on health. This is the issue addressed by Dr. Cherry. The conclusions in the IEGMP report were that:
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undertaken to ensure that all base stations will be designed and sited, so that members of the public will not be exposed in excess of the recommended basic restriction.
The group were aware, however, that if people are unduly concerned about potential exposures then that in itself may affect their well-being. A number of recommendations of the group were, therefore, designed to provide more information to people about local base stations.
The group also made recommendations for further research work. These proposals for research were principally directed as providing more information on exposures from mobile phones but also have relevance to exposures from base stations. It additionally recommended that there should be a further review of relevant research in three years time, or earlier if circumstances demand it.
The Government welcome the report as an authoritative review of the scientific information available. It also accepted the recommendations and these have been taken forward by Government and by other bodies. A research programme funded by Government and industry on a 50:50 basis is taking forward the research recommendations.
In coming to its conclusions, the IEGMP undertook an extensive review of the relevant scientific literature and heard evidence from 28 witnesses during the course of its work. It also organised five open meetings to hear the views of the public. Many of the references cited by Dr. Cherry were reviewed by the expert group. Professor G. J. Hyland, then of the University of Warwick, whose work is referred to by Dr. Cherry gave evidence to the group. The IEGMP also drew upon evidence provided by the NRPB and other organisations on exposures to RF from base stations.
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