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10 Mar 2003 : Column 109W—continued

High Hedges Bill

Mr. Chope: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will produce (a) a regulatory impact assessment and (b) an assessment of the burden on local government in respect of the proposals in the High Hedges Bill (Lords). [102132]

Mr. McNulty: When the High Hedges (No. 2) Bill is printed, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will publish a full regulatory impact assessment. This includes an assessment of the burden on local government in respect of the proposals in the Bill. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website.

Inspection Officers (Local Authorities)

Mr. Norman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) health and safety officers, (b) trading standards officers, (c) environmental health officers, (d) road safety officers, (e) housing inspectors and (f) planning officers have been employed by local authorities in each year since 1997. [100157]

Mr. Leslie: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I understand that the Employers Organisation hold some data and I will write to the hon. Member with further details. I will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Local Authority Delegations

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list those local authority delegations which met

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him or his Department's Ministers between May 2002 and January 2003; which hon. Member accompanied each such delegation; and what subjects were discussed. [98863]

Mr. Leslie: The information has been placed in the Library.

Local Government Bill

Mr. Flook: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many clauses were (a) fully, (b) partially and (c) not debated during the Committee Stage of the Local Government Bill. [101871]

Mr. Raynsford: In the course of its 14 sittings, the Standing Committee of the Local Government Bill:

(a) fully debated 106 clauses (including 15 new clauses) and two schedules;

(b) partially debated one clause; and

(c) did not debate 21 (including four new) clauses and five schedules.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Standard Spending Assessment was for each year between 1996–97 and 2002–03 and the Formula Standard Spend for 2002–03 and 2003–04 and the percentage change in each year from the previous year, for the Isle of Wight (a) in total and (b) broken down by major funding blocks; and what the aggregate external finance was for each year. [101556]

Mr. Raynsford: Over the period requested there have been many changes in the functions and funding of services to local government. To enable a like-for-like comparison between years, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister calculates adjusted Standard Spending Assessment (SSAs) and grants. The percentage change figures have been calculated on the basis of these like-for-like comparisons.

Until the introduction of Central Support Protection Grant in 1999–2000, there was no need to calculate grant on a like-for-like basis, and for this reason grant comparisons in the years 1996–97 to 1998–99 are not available. There were no changes in funding and function between 1998–99 and 1999–2000 that needed reflecting in adjusted SSAs or grants for 1998–99 to allow a like-for-like comparison; the actual 1998–99 values have therefore been used in this case.

Standard spending assessments/formula spending sharesEducationPSSFireHighway MaintenanceEPCSCapitalTotalFormula Grant (ie RSG plus NNDR)
Adjusted 1995–9643.62117.4562.9713.74217.6357.87493.298N/a
Percentage change3.5-0.82.4-
Adjusted 1996–9744.22918.6053.0433.62417.9407.98695.428N/a
Percentage change4.71.02.5-0.5-1.0-5.41.8N/a
Adjusted 1997–9847.22519.6753.1183.60418.9636.34498.929N/a
Percentage change7.65.48.9-2.1-1.0-11.24.0N/a
Percentage change4.
Adjusted 1999–200053.18921.5893.5863.60119.7716.000107.73677.616
Percentage change7.
Adjusted 2000–0157.50222.7633.7843.74020.4216.656114.86783.016
Percentage change6.
Adjusted 2001–0255.43723.7663.9684.02621.5627.748116.50782.658
Percentage change6.
2002–03 FSS61.84027.4184.6764.05027.4928.571134.04891.394
Comparitors 2003–04 FSSs64.83429.4715.3733.81830.61210.114144.22196.318
Percentage change4.87.514.9-5.711.318.07.65.4

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Ordnance Survey Maps

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent guidance has been issued by his Department on the symbols and markings included on Ordnance Survey maps; what assessment he has made of the Ordnance Survey's decision to omit the traditional symbols and markings indicating (a) civil and parish boundaries, (b) national park boundaries and (c) churches from future editions of its maps; and if he will make a statement. [101719]

Mr. McNulty: Ordnance Survey, before making decisions about what is depicted on its maps, takes full account of the needs of its customers and other stakeholders. To this end, it consults widely before implementing any change.

Following Parliament's decision to widen public access to the English and Welsh countryside under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW), Ordnance Survey has concluded that this access land should be shown on the 1:25 000 Explorer series, which is designed specifically for use during outdoor activities.

The way the access land is shown will be crucial in helping the Open Access initiative to be implemented successfully. Clarity will be vital in minimising any misunderstanding between users of the countryside and landowners. There is much additional information to be added to the mapping. Therefore, to avoid clutter and ensure clarity, it will be necessary to take off some existing information.

Consultation and research among users indicates that the removal of the national park, civil and parish boundaries while adding the access land, significantly improves clarity and helps avoid confusion on the ground. National Park boundaries will remain on the cover diagram of each Explorer and on the printed and data versions of the OS Landranger series. They are also freely available as part of the Get-a-Map service on the Ordnance Survey website.

Ordnance Survey has also consulted users on the proposed changes to symbols for places of worship on both Explorer and the 1:50 000 OS Landranger Map series. In this regard, the primary consideration has been the navigational importance of buildings with towers, spires, domes or minarets. These will continue to be marked with the familiar symbols. Other buildings that are places of worship will continue to appear on the

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maps, but without reference to their religious or cultural significance. Final decisions about the proposed changes will be made within the next few weeks and Ordnance Survey will take into account all points of view.


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether all planning considerations of individual small-scale applications will be removed from local councils under his plans for regional assemblies. [101663]

Mr. McNulty: Local councils will continue to retain all existing powers of development control and none will be transferred to regional bodies now or in the future.

Poll Tax

Norman Lamb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much uncollected poll tax revenue remains outstanding in the UK, broken down by local authority. [101512]

Mr. Leslie: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not currently collect information on the level of community charge (or poll tax) arrears owed to English billing authorities. It is estimated that the arrears in England totalled £185 million at 1 April 2001. This estimate is based on information supplied to the Chartered Institute of Public Accountancy on its revenue collection statistics return and on information on amounts of community charge received, which is collected from billing authorities on the QRC4 return.

After discussions with local government, The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will, however, be collecting information from English billing authorities on the level of community charge arrears as at 31 March 2003 on the QRC4 return for 2002–03.

Figures for Wales and Scotland are a matter for the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Parliament respectively. The community charge never existed in Northern Ireland.

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