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25 Nov 2002 : Column 120Wcontinued
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of spending by (a) Buckinghamshire county council, (b) South Buckinghamshire district council and (c) Wycombe district council has been financed by council tax payers in each year since January 1996; and what proportion is to be financed by council tax payers in 200203. 
Mr. Leslie: The proportions of revenue expenditure financed from the council tax for Buckinghamshire county council, South Buckinghamshire district council and Wycombe district council in the financial years 199596 to 200203 are set out in the table:
|Year||Buckinghamshire county council(18)||South Buckinghamshire district council||Wycombe district council|
(18) For 199798 onwards this excludes the area of Milton Keynes borough council, which became unitary from 1 April 1997.
(19) 200102 and 200203 are budgeted figures; 199596 to 200001 are outturn figures.
199596 to 200001 Revenue Summary Returns. 200102 and 200203 Budget Estimate Returns
John Mann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the timescale is for agreement between English Partnerships and the East Midlands Regional Development Agency on the infrastructure works and marketing of the former Manton pit site; 
Mr. McNulty: English Partnerships and the East Midlands Regional Development Agency have already agreed on much of the infrastructure works and marketing of the former Manton Pit site. In addition, reclamation and the agreed level of infrastructure work has been delivered through an agreement with English Partnerships and the East Midlands Regional Development Agency, which is currently on the market. However, both organisations continue to work towards establishing the needs for further works, and may seek approval for further expenditure depending on the outcome of an economic appraisal which they hope to bring to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister early in 2003.
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To date, £4.3 million has been approved for investment in Manton Colliery in order to reclaim, service, manage and market the site as well as undertake further feasibility work to consider additional investment.
Mrs. Roche: The Learning Curve, published on 21 October, is the Government's strategy to promote better skills and knowledge for everyone working in neighbourhood renewal. It sets out 23 measures, including face to face advice, regional networks, and an innovative website, renewal.net, to ensure that everyone, including local authority staff working in our most deprived areas can acquire the skills and knowledge they need to deliver real, lasting change. Some measures are already in place, others will be developed with a range of organisations, including the Local Government Association and local authorities, over the coming months.
Mr. McNulty: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister welcomes the publication of the report on the Economics of the Park Homes Industry, which makes an important contribution to addressing issues of concern to park home residents. It highlights the importance of site owners taking a professional approach to financial management of the park, and the need for those who are buying a park home to be aware of their current position under the law and of the costs and risks involved.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will publish his Department's research into the effectiveness of implementation of PPG3 and on the progress made by local authorities in carrying out urban capacity studies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The intention of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is to publish the research by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners on assessing the implementation of PPG3 as soon as possible, however the timing is dependent on satisfactory completion of the report. 90 per cent. of unitary authorities and district councils responding to the questionnaire survey forming part of this research had, by spring 2002, completed an urban housing capacity study or had one in preparation.
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Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment he has made of (a) partnership working between counties in cross-border policy making on PPG3 issues and (b) the effectiveness of regional planning bodies in facilitating this; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what consultations his Department is having as part of its research into the effectiveness of implementation of PPG3; and whether these consultations include contacts with (a) English Heritage and (b) the DCMS with regard to the impact of urban infill on the historic environment and heritage of cities. 
(ii) found that protection of the historic environment has been the basis for refusals of planning permission for residential development.
(iii) included a postal survey of local planning authorities, housing departments, house builders and regional development agencies. This survey has been supplemented by in-depth interviews with a number of organisations across the English regions with first-hand experience in planning for housing. The research team has not discussed the impact of urban infill on the historic environment and heritage of cities with either English Heritage or the DCMS but this matter has been raised by others.
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 around the start of December. Once the Government have 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.
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Mrs. Roche: Local authorities are responsible for homelessness in their areas and as such also take responsibility for the co-ordination and timing of street counts. It is the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister policy that areas where more than ten people are sleeping rough conduct a count at least every twelve months. This would apply to any local authority areas in West Sussex or London.
Mrs. Roche: Guidance was first published in 1996 on counting methodology developed in partnership with charities and voluntary organisations helping people sleeping rough. Independent evaluation has confirmed that the methodology remains the most robust method for measuring relative levels of rough sleeping and of change over time.
Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the counts are undertaken and that the methodology is followed. The snapshot counts should take place on a single night, between 12 am and 6 am. The definition of people who should be included in rough sleeper counts is clearly set out in the guidance. It is: people sleeping, or bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, or in doorways, parks or bus shelters); people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations or bashes).
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