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5 Feb 2003 : Column 341Wcontinued
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken to fast-track young offenders through the courts in Shropshire was in each year since 1997. 
Hilary Benn: The average time taken to fast track persistent young offenders through the magistrates courts in Shropshire since 1997 is as follows:
|Arrest to sentence (days)|
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will place the technical note underlying the Lord Chancellor's Department's Public Service Agreement in the Library; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The technical note will be published shortly, and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Tony Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the Lord Chancellor's Department's service delivery agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: My Department's service delivery agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published shortly
Mr. Laws: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the rate of staff (a) absenteeism and (b) sickness was in the Department and each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each year from 199091 to 200203; what the target set is for the Department; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is as follows:
(b) Departmental sickness absence figures (excluding non-departmental public bodies) are published in the annual report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service" published by the Cabinet Office. The most recent of which (for calendar year 2001) was announced by Ministerial Statement on
5 Feb 2003 : Column 342W
|Year||LCD Headquarters||Court Service||Public Trust Office/Public Guardianship Office|
(35) Sick absence data is not available before 1993
(36) Whole of LCD
|Office of the Information Commissioner|
|The only available figures are:|
|The Legal Services Commission(formerly the Legal aid Board)|
|The only available figures are:|
|October 2000 to September 2001||7.66|
|October 2001 to September 2002||8.64|
|The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)(37)|
|July to December 2001||7.86|
|January to December 2002||10.26|
(37) CAFCASS was established in April 2001
My Department is committed to managing sick absence effectively and in meeting the 2003 target for reducing sickness absence in our Service Delivery Agreement. The 2003 target of 6.5 days is a corporate target that includes the Northern Ireland Court Service, the Public Record Office and HM Land Registry.
Mr. Key: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Commissioners have made of the provisions of the Licensing Bill. 
Mr. Bell: The hon. Gentleman will have been pleased to learn that the Government tabled an amendment to the Bill ensuring that Church buildings will be exempt from the requirement for public entertainment licensing.
I am making available to the hon. Gentleman the Church of England's press release on the issue, which demonstrates how welcome the Government's proposed exemption is to the Church.
5 Feb 2003 : Column 343W
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Government's policy is on the application of planning rules to horticultural polytunnels. 
Mr. McNulty: The application of statutory planning regulations is a matter for local planning authorities in the first instance. In the case of polytunnels, where they are placed temporarily, without any permanent fixings, on agricultural land and used for horticulture, they may be deemed to be a use of land for agriculture and therefore exempt from planning controls under the provisions of section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Where the erection of polytunnels is deemed to constitute 'development' under the provisions of the 1990 Act, 'permitted development rights' under part 6 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 1995 may be available. In certain cases, these permitted development rights cannot be exercised unless an application has been made to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether their prior approval will be required for certain details relating to the siting, design and appearance of the development.
In other cases where the erection of polytunnels is deemed to be 'development' and permitted development rights cannot be exercised, an application for planning permission must be made to the local planning authority. The authority will determine the application in accordance with policies in the development plan, taking account of national planning policies.
The Government's national planning policies on development related to agriculture, including horticulture, are set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 7 (PPG 7), "The Countryside".
Whether the erection of any particular polytunnel is deemed to constitute development will depend on the facts of each case. Ultimately, this is a matter for the courts who are likely to place weight on several factors that may indicate the degree of 'permanence' of the structure. These factors are reflected in the advice given in paragraph C11 of Annex C to PPG7.
Matthew Green: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many affordable homes for (a) rent and (b) low cost home ownership were completed in 200102; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: In England, during 200102, completions of dwellings to rent by Registered Social Landlords and local authorities totalled 14,470. A further 7,400 dwellings were provided in through Registered Social Landlords shared ownership and other low cost schemes.
5 Feb 2003 : Column 344W
David Davis: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will issue a top-up grant of £464,058 to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council for the provision of nursery school places to 381 applicants for this academic year following the migration of these children into the county subsequent to the allocation of the 200203 nursery education grant. 
Maria Eagle: I have been asked to reply.
On 11 December 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills announced that all three-year-olds will be entitled to receive a free part-time early education place from April 2004. This is six months earlier than originally planned. Currently around 70 per cent. of three-year-olds are able to access a free place.
Funding for the provision of free early education places is made available to local education authorities on the basis of financial, rather than academic, years. During the 200203 financial year, we have made £275 million of Nursery Education Grant funding available for the provision of free places for three-year-olds. Funding has been allocated to local education authorities primarily according to their position on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Index of Multiple Deprivation. East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been allocated £1,353,198 to fund 1,111 places. Local education authorities are responsible for devising eligibility criteria for the distribution of free places in their area according to social need and without exceeding their allocation.
At the end of the autumn term, the Department for Education and Skills reallocated Nursery Education Grant funding from authorities who were unable to use their full allocation to authorities who were able to use additional funding. East Riding of Yorkshire received anadditional £283,794 as a result of this exercise.
Also, the audit of Nursery Education Grant in the East Riding of Yorkshire for 200102 showed that there was an underspend of £198,670 which ought to be returned to Department for Education and Skills. In light of the circumstances currently faced by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the Department for Education and Skills has exceptionally allowed them to carry over this amount to 200203. Therefore, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has received a total of £482,464 additional funding for the spring term 2003.
From the 200304 financial year, funding for the provision of free places is being transferred into Education Formula Spending as part of an overall £500 million transfer of DfES grant funding into general funding. A total of £319 million Nursery Education Grant funding is being transferred into the under fives sub-block. The funding for authorities such as East Riding of Yorkshire who have not yet achieved universal provision is being calculated to ensure that they have sufficient funding to provide a free place for 85 per cent. of their three year old population. 85 per cent. is the DfES planning assumption for universal provision for three-year-olds.
5 Feb 2003 : Column 345W
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