Previous Section Index Home Page

4 Mar 2003 : Column 920W—continued

Work Placements

Mr. Allen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many university students her Department and associated agencies have supported or sponsored with a work placement in the last year; what her policy is on work placements; what plans she has to develop such schemes; and what her policy is on paying their university fees. [98536]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In 2002 we offered 19 under graduates paid work experience broadly at executive officer level. This consisted of the following schemes that are run each year.

We have given 10 students work experience through the departmental summer placement scheme advertised via the Cabinet Office. The scheme aims to encourage students to consider the department or civil service overall as a career option.

In addition, seven students were placed on the Cabinet Office summer development programme. The purpose of the programme is to encourage ethnic minority students to join the civil service through the fast stream programme.

4 Mar 2003 : Column 921W

We support the Windsor Fellowship scheme and offer two fellows work experience each year. This is a structured outreach training and development programme for ethnic minority students.

It is our intention to offer placements under all of these schemes during summer 2003 and thereafter.

The Department does not have a policy to pay university fees, but has provisions to fund degrees for staff.


Audit Commission (Inspectors)

Mr. Norman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many inspection staff have been employed by the Audit Commission responsible for inspecting local authorities in each year since 1997. [100509]

Mr. Leslie: The number of staff employed in the Audit Commission's inspection directorate, including inspectors and direct support staff, by Audit Commission financial year (1 November—31 October), is as follows:

Number of staff employed
2002–2003400 (budget)

Community Empowerment Fund

Mr. Battle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much funding Leeds city Council has received from the Community Empowerment Fund; which organisations manage the fund; what projects have been developed; and which communities benefit. [96962]

Mrs. Roche: Leeds city council receives no Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) money. CEF is always provided directly to a community or voluntary sector organisation in each of the 88 most deprived local authority areas in England (which receive Neighbourhood Renewal Fund) to build the local community's capacity to engage effectively on Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs).

CEF does not fund 'projects' as such. It is used to develop and support a fully inclusive Community Empowerment Network (CEN) and helping to facilitate community and voluntary sector involvement in the LSP, especially the most deprived neighbourhoods and hard-to-reach groups.

Leeds Voice is the organisation administering CEF in Leeds. It is also the CEN. The grant allocation for Leeds is £501,898 over three years (2001–04). 2002–03 is the second year of the programme.

Leeds Voice Community Link teams work to engage 'hard to reach' and disadvantaged groups. Their Forum team facilitates 'forums of interest'—e.g. community

4 Mar 2003 : Column 922W

groups addressing issues of learning, health, environment, faith and Connexions—and 'area based forums' for the community and voluntary sector—e.g. in South Leeds and Chapeltown/University.

External Finance/Council Tax (Increases)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list for each local authority the percentage increase in (a) aggregate external finance and (b) council tax from (i) 1997–98 to 2002–03 and (ii) 2002–03 to 2003–04. [100573]

Mr. Raynsford: (a) Aggregate external finance (AEF) can be defined either on a gross or net basis. The net definition comprises revenue support grant and redistributed national non-domestic rates; the gross definition additionally includes police grant and special and specific grants.

(i) Figures for AEF for each local authority on a like-for-like basis for years between 1997–98 and 2002–03 are not held centrally on either gross or net bases, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. For England as a whole, the comparable increase in gross AEF in that period is £11.6 million or 30 per cent. and the increase in net AEF is £6.6 million or 20 per cent.

(ii) Figures for gross AEF for 2003–04 are not yet available for each local authority. Figures for the percentage increase in net AEF between 2002–03 and 2003–04 are, however, available and have been placed in the Library of the House. For England as a whole, the comparable increase in gross AEF is £3.8 million or 8 per cent. and the increase in net AEF is £2.2 million or 5.8 per cent.

(b)(i) Figures for the percentage increase in council tax for each local authority between 1997–98 and 2002–03 have been placed in the Library of the House.

(ii) Council taxes for 2003–04 are still being set, and figures are therefore still being collected by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. They will not be available until validated information has been received from each local authority.

Fire Services

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what figure for the percentage increase in fire service productivity over the past 10 years was submitted to the Bain Inquiry by the Fire Service employers. [99632]

Mr. Raynsford: The evidence given by the fire brigades' national employers to the independent review of the fire service is a matter for the employers. Their evidence to the review is available on their website (

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which Fire Brigades have introduced an integrated personal development system with the agreement of the FBU (a) as a pilot scheme and (b) in full. [99655]

Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is not aware of any Brigades which have introduced an integrated personal development system

4 Mar 2003 : Column 923W

either as a pilot scheme or in full. The eight components which support the Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS) are still under development.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost would be to the fire service employers of the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Bain review. [100122]

Mr. Raynsford: The Independent Review of the Fire Service have said that the costs and savings of their proposals will balance over the next three years, the period of the Spending Review 2002. Chapter 12 of the Independent Review's report sets out in detail the costs and benefits of the reforms they propose. The Independent Review's final report is available on their website at, and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what overtime hours were worked by firefighters, in each fire brigade area, in the last period for which figures are available. [100124]

Mr. Raynsford: There is a Fire Brigades Union ban on pre-arranged overtime which has been called into question by the independent review of the fire service. However, unplanned overtime is worked e.g. when firefighters are in attendance at an incident at the end of their shift. Details of this overtime are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

GLA (Elections)

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to reduce the numbers of spoilt ballot papers at the 2004 elections for the Greater London Authority. [100034]

Mr. McNulty: The Greater London Authority (GLA)—through the Greater London Returning Officer—is working with the Electoral Commission to develop a publicity and information strategy which will help voters understand what they are voting for and how to exercise their votes at the 2004 GLA elections.

At the same time, the Government is consulting on "Changes To The Rules For London Mayoral And Assembly Elections". After the consultation closes on 10 March, all consultation responses will be considered before any amendments to the rules are put before Parliament.

New Deal

Matthew Green: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many employees of New Deal for Communities projects (a) have been made redundant and (b) had a contract terminated early in each of the last five years. [99399]

Mrs. Roche: During the last five financial years 17 employees of New Deal Communities Partnerships have had their contracts terminated and two have been made redundant.

Sustainable Communities

Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the funding for Housing—London, East and South East and Housing—other regions in 2003–04

4 Mar 2003 : Column 924W

identified in the table on page 66 of Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future, includes (a) local authority social housing grant, (b) the housing investment programme and (c) the major repairs allowance. [98514]

Mr. McNulty: (a) The table does not include local authority social housing grant. This is being abolished from April 2003. However, provision has been made in the housing transitional arrangements line of the table to safeguard LASHG schemes in progress or committed.

(b) The table does include the Housing Investment Programme (HIP). This is £842 million for 2003–04. From 2004–05 resources provided to local authorities for HIP, and resources provided to the Housing Corporation will be put into a single regional housing pot. Final decisions on the allocation of resources will be made based on advice from the new Regional Housing Boards.

(c) The major repairs allowance is not included in the table. This totals over £4 billion for the next three years.

Next Section Index Home Page