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Phil Hope: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not yet made a decision on the Airfield Support Services Project. The possibility of joint working with the MoD on airfield support fire service training is warmly welcomed by the Fire Service College and is being taken into account in its strategic planning process.
(3) how much funding derived from capital receipts has been transferred by his Department in each of the last five years from debt-free local authorities to Metropolitan local authorities; 
(4) if he will end the transfer of funding derived from capital receipts from debt-free local authorities to Metropolitan local authorities. 
It was formerly our practice to take into account local authorities' capital receipts when issuing the credit approvals which allow them to borrow. That ended in April 2003. No estimates are available of the resources thereby redistributed from debt-free authorities to metropolitan authorities.
The redistribution of resources remains a fundamental principle of the housing finance system. It is currently achieved by the requirement for authorities to set aside for debt redemption part of their housing capital receipts. Debt-free authorities are exempt and have thus enjoyed an advantage unavailable to others, but that anomaly will be corrected from 1 April this year, when set-aside is replaced by pooling, under which all authorities must pay part of their housing capital receipts to the Government. Transitional measures will protect debt-free authorities from the full impact of this new redistribution mechanism for three years. Thereafter they will be treated on the same basis as authorities with debt. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister consider that the recently introduced the new prudential framework for local authority borrowing and authorities who need to borrow and can afford to do so should not be deterred by artificial incentives to remain free of debt.
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(b) at 30 September 2003, the authority had no money outstanding by way of external borrowing other than short-term borrowing or hard to redeem debt, as defined in Regulation 154 of the Local Authorities (Capital Finance) Regulations 1997.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his policy of requiring councils to submit proposals for disposing of their housing stock by July 2005 applies to (a) all councils and (b) only those councils unable to meet decent housing targets; how many councils have so far had applications for disposal of their housing stock accepted; what steps he is taking to ensure that the rest apply; how many proposals have been rejected by tenants' ballots; and how local authorities whose tenants reject proposals in ballots are to be helped to reach the decent housing targets. 
Yvette Cooper: All local authorities must produce a robust stock appraisal by July 2005, which must be signed off by the relevant Government Office of the Region. Where that process identifies that additional investment is required to meet the decent homes target, local authorities can choose from three options singly or in combination: set up a high performing Arms Length Housing Management Organisation (ALMO); pursue a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme; and transfer housing to one or more housing associations.
The option appraisal process is designed to ensure that tenants are involved in the decision making process from the start and that they are fully informed about the scale of the task in delivering decent homes.
Mr. Purchase: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will make a statement on (a) the local government finance settlement, (b) the supported borrowing allocation for capital spend and (c) the Supporting People grant notification for 200405. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 7 January 2004, Official Report, columns 399400W, elected regional assembly for Yorkshire and the Humber, if he will place in the Library the evidence upon which his assertion was based. 
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part of this framework. An elected assembly would clearly bring greater democratic accountability to the region because, for the first time, activities which are currently carried out by central government, its agencies and quangos, would become the responsibility of a democratically elected regional assembly. However it will be a matter of choice for the regional electorate as to whether they wish to have an elected regional assembly.
The White Papers "Your Region, Your Choice" and "Our Fire and Rescue Service" are already available in the Library of the House and fully set out our proposals for the regional responsibilities of elected regional assemblies, including the economic arguments, in favour.
Yvette Cooper: The Supporting People programme which went live on 1 April 2003 provides housing related support services for more than 1 million vulnerable peopleincluding the homeless, women fleeing domestic violence and older peopleto live independently in their accommodation.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on funding for the Supporting People programme in its first year of operation; and what its estimated budget is for the next two years. 
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