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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many applications have been approved for development on green-belt land in each year since June 1997 in each local authority area; and what locations were involved. 
Brian White: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he has taken to review the security of the Department's IT system; and how many digital attacks there were on the Department's system in (a) October and (b) 2002. 
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Mr. Leslie: The security of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's IT system is kept under constant review. Separate figures are not available for the number of Xdigital attacks" (such as computer viruses detected) on the Office's IT system, as the Office shares with the Department for Transport the IT network of their predecessor (the Department for Transport, Local Government, and the Regions). For that IT network, the number of computer viruses detected was (a) 18 in October and (b) 266 in 2002 up to the end of October.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of aggregate standard spending assessments across local authorities in England were financed by aggregate total external support in each year since 199394. 
|(£) million||(£) million||percentage|
Total external support consists of revenue support grant to local authorities, redistributed national non-domestic rates, central support protection grant and SSA reduction grant. For 1995/96 onwards it also includes principal formula police grant including the Metropolitan special payment and police transitional grant. Prior to 1995/96 the Home Office funded 51 per cent.of police expenditure. Total external support excludes the City of London offset and the grant to specified bodies.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to change the number of (a) local authorities and (b) elected representatives in reviewing local government in England following the establishment of elected regional assemblies; and what assessment he has made of the consequential effect of regional government on devolution. 
Mr. Raynsford: Where an elected regional assembly is established, existing two tier local government will be restructured as unitary authorities following recommendations made by the Boundary Committee. The responsibility for electoral arrangements, including the numbers of Councillors, in any new structure will be a matter for the Electoral Commission.
Paragraph 8.9 of the White Paper on Regional Governance said that some elected regional assemblies in England may need to consider the impact of their activities on Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and
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establish appropriate relationships with the devolved administrations and other relevant Scottish or Welsh bodies. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister will have reserve powers to intervene if he or she considers that an assembly's strategies or actions are likely to have a detrimental impact on another region, Scotland, Wales, or the UK as a whole.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Government's policy is on the future number of tiers of local government in England; what assessment he has made of the effect of a review of local government on the stability of local authority finance and administration; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: Policy for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is that where an elected regional assembly is established, following a referendum in the region, there should only be a single tier of local government. The financial and administrative impact of local government reviews will depend on the structure and boundary changes proposed, and it will be for the Boundary Committee to assess this when it makes recommendation for change.
Mr. Watts: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact the creation of the proposed three new towns in the south east will have on public expenditure; what the cost will be of providing (a) transport, (b) schools, (c) housing, (d) health and (e) other infrastructure to the three towns; and what impact public funding for the new towns will have on other regions. 
Mr. McNulty: In his statement to the House in July, the Deputy Prime Minister set out the Government's intentions for tackling the housing shortage in London and the south east. Studies of the potential for growth have been published for the Milton Keynes/South Midlands area and the London-Stansted-Cambridge area, and the Ashford study is due for publication imminently. These studies give some indication of the infrastructure that will be needed to support growth but what is needed will clearly be dependent on the scale of growth and where it is located. Over the coming months the Government, taking account of these studies, will work with regional and local partners in each of the areas to establish where, at what scale, and how quickly growth can be achieved. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister will set out next steps when, early in the New Year, he makes a statement to the House on his comprehensive long-term programme of action for sustainable communities, as promised in his statement on 18 July.
Mr. McNulty: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has indicated publicly that we are concerned about the impact of right to buy sales in areas of housing pressure, and that we will act to address this. We are also concerned about exploitation of the rules of the scheme,
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and announced earlier this year that researchers at Heriot-Watt university have been commissioned to investigate the scale, nature and impact of such exploitation. The results are expected by the end of this year and will be published thereafter.
Mr. McNulty: No. The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The results of the research by Heriot-Watt University into the scale, nature and impact of such exploitation are expected by the end of this year, and will be published thereafter.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions Ministers and officials of his Department have held with the research team at Heriot-Watt University investigating the right to buy scheme; what was discussed at each meeting; who attended; and when each meeting took place. 
Mr. McNulty: This research project is subject to normal project management procedures and disciplines operated by professional and policy officials. It is subject to review by a stakeholder group drawn from housing practitioners and representatives of lending institutions and local government.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what was the percentage increase in (a) SSA, (b) expenditure (revenue and capital) and (c) government grant for Wakefield MDC in the 10 years from May 1992; and what the comparable statistics are for aggregate local government expenditure. 
|1992 to 93 (£) million||2002 to 03 (£) million||percentage increase|
1. Figures between 1992/93 and 2002/03 and between Wakefield and England are not directly comparable for the following reasons.
a) In 1992/93 Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) amounts were paid only to billing authorities. Consequently, the amounts shown for Wakefield cover all services including Police and Fire. From 1993/94 onwards, support for Police and Fire was paid directly to the relevant Police and Fire Authorities. The figures for England do include Police and Fire for both 1992/92 and 2002/03.
b) There have been changes in the responsibilities of local authorities.
c) In 1992/93, only information on RSG, NNDR and Specific Grants inside AEF are available on a consistent basis.
2. The revenue and capital expenditure figures for 2002/03 are budget estimates.
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