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16 Dec 2002 : Column 624Wcontinued
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Accountability has met in the last year; what allowances from public funds are made available to members of the Panel for Regulatory Accountability; and what the cost was in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Alexander: The panel has been a Cabinet Committee since July 2001. It is established practice under Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information that information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committee business is not disclosed.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many regulatory reform orders have been made since the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 came into force; how many regulatory reform orders are before Parliament; and how many proposed regulatory reform orders were out to public consultation on 1 December. 
Mr. Alexander: Since the Regulatory Reform Act came into force in April 2001 we have made six regulatory reform orders (RROs) . There are a further seven RROs undergoing parliamentary scrutiny. On 1 December there were no proposed RROs out for consultation, but consultation had just ended on four RROs.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate his Department has made of the total savings to business as a result of regulatory reform orders made to date; and what estimate his Department has made of the potential savings to business of (a) regulatory reform orders before Parliament and (b) proposed regulatory reform orders out to public consultation on 1 December. 
Mr. Alexander: The Regulatory Reform Action Plan, which was published in February 2002, listed 268 items, of which 63 were potential Regulatory Reform Orders (RROs), 160 related to business. No total estimate of savings has been made. All Regulatory Reform Orders have to be accompanied by a full Regulatory Impact Assessment, setting out the costs and benefits. Departments have been asked to make these available to the House of Commons Library and on departmental websites.
Air quality in the UK is monitored through the national air quality monitoring networks, which comprise over 1,500 automatic and non-automatic monitoring sites. Many of these monitoring sites are situated in small towns. Historic and current levels of air pollution at all of these sites can be checked via the National Air Quality Information Archive at
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www.airquality.co.uk For some sites, this information is updated on an hourly basis. For others, the information is updated on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the type of site.
In addition to this, local authorities carry out their own reviews and assessments of air quality in their areas, in order to identify any pollution hotspots. Several authorities have identified potentially elevated levels of air pollution in small towns, particularly alongside congested streets. In these cases, authorities are required to designate air quality management areas and to draw up action plans setting out what they intend to do to remedy the situation. Details of all the air quality management areas designated by local authorities to date, together with information on their action plans where available, can be found via the local air quality management section of the National Air Quality Information Archive (www.airquality.co.uk).
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will estimate the cumulative percentage increase in the council tax for a Band D property in each billing local authority in England since 1996. 
Mr. Leslie: A table setting out the cumulative percentage increase in real terms in area council tax for a Band D properly in each billing local authority in England since 1996 has been placed in the Library.
The Deputy Prime Minister: I have visited East Lancashire twice since June 2001. Both visits were related to community cohesion, housing and neighbourhood renewal following the disturbances in June 2001. I plan to return following an invitation from my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike).
Mr. Raynsford: The fire cover review task group agreed the text of its final report at the end of September 2002. The central fire brigades advisory council will consider the report at a future meeting. If the council endorses the report, it will be published.
Mr. James Paice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, (1) pursuant to his answer of 9 December 2002, Official Report, column 130W, if the proposals for retained firefighters' pay as described in the Fire Employers statement of 13 November would enable individual retained firefighters to assess the impact of their proposals on their own annual income; 
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(3) how many hours per annum he estimates (a) a Leading Retained Firefighter and (b) a Retained Firefighter of two years' service would need to work at the hourly rates detailed in the Fire Employers' Statement of 13 November in order to compensate for the combined effects of the alterations to the Annual Retaining Fee, the Turn-out fee and the Attendance fee detailed in the same statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: The local government employers have informed the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister officials that they calculated this figure on the basis that, under the deal outlined in the Fire Brigades Employers Circular of 12 November:
The local government employers have informed the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister officials that under this deal the pay of wholetime firefighters would have risen; and any increases in wholetime rates would have raised retained rates, because they would have been linked.
The local government employers have also informed Office of the Deputy Prime Minister officials that this would have led to the typical increase for retained firefighters being 6.4 per cent. more than that for wholetime firefighters. The Fire Brigades Union rejected this deal.
The information which the local government employers have supplied to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister officials, as described, should allow individual retained firefighters to assess the impact of the proposals on their own annual income. Ultimately, however, it is dependent on the individual retained firefighter's workload.
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Mr. McNulty: Information on the extent of overcrowding in England is available from the Survey of English Housing. As mentioned in the reply given to my hon. Friend on 7 November 2002, Official Report, column 621W, we are considering whether overcrowding is best tackled through a modern set of standardsupdating the present legislative framework or through the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which we hope to introduce as a replacement for the housing fitness standard when parliamentary time allows. Our consideration of options will take account of our understanding of the underlying causes of household overcrowding.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many households in each Government Office region have been shown by the Survey of English Housing 200102 to be two or more bedrooms below the bedroom standard (a) in total and (b) in the private rented sector; 
Mr. McNulty: The number of households three or more bedrooms below the bedroom standard is extremely small which means that any estimate from a sample survey will be subject to a very wide margin of error. The best estimate from Survey of English Housing data, averaged over the last three years (19992000, 200001, 200102) is 4,000 households out of more than 20 million households.
The number of households in each Government Office region two or more bedrooms below the bedroom standard, estimated from Survey of English Housing data and averaged over the last three years, is shown in the table.
|Owner occupied||Social rented||Privately rented||All tenures|
|1 below||Equal or below||Total||2 or more below||1 below||Equal or above||Total||2 or more below||1 below||Equal or above||Total||2 or more below||1 below||Equal or above||Total|
|Government Office region|
|Yorks and Humber||15||1,393||1,411||1||14||471||486||1||8||196||205||4||37||2,060||2,102|
|Yorks and Humber||1.1||98.7||100.0||0.2||2.8||96.9||100.0||0.4||3.8||95.8||100.0||0.2||1.8||98.0||100.0|
(17) Bedroom standard is an indicator of occupation density. A notional number of bedrooms are allocated to each household in accordance with its age/sex/marital status composition and the relationship of the members to each other. This is then compared with the actual number of bedrooms (including bedsitters) available for the sole use of the household.
Survey of England Housing, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
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