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27 Feb 2004 : Column 632Wcontinued
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Yvette Cooper: On 2 February 2004 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Merseyside Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder would receive up to £86 million for the period up to March 2006. We have allocated this funding to the Pathfinder. It is for the Pathfinder's board to decide on how it will meet its strategic aims and in which parts of the Pathfinder area it will spend these resources.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 23 February 2004, Official Report, columns 2728W, on local government finance, what the total gross English local authority expenditure was for each year since 199293, including that sourced from council tax, central grant and any other source, as well as those services funded by other bodies since 199293. 
Gross expenditure here includes spending from the General Fund Revenue Account, the Housing Revenue Account, External Trading Services accounts and the Capital Account. Adjustments have been made to eliminate double counting where possible. The General Fund Revenue Account is financed from formula grant (which includes revenue support grant, redistributed non-domestic rates, police grant), and specific grants within Aggregate External Finance (AEF) as well as specific grants outside AEF, sales, fees and charges and other non-grant income. The answer of 23 February, was restricted to the General Fund Revenue Account and excluded specific grants outside AEF and sales, fees and charges and other non-grant income.
Local Government Financial Statistics England No.5 to No.14
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Mr. Raynsford: The Balance of Funding Review is looking at the options for changing the Local Government Finance system, which include the future of non-domestic rates. The Review will report in the summer.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for how long he has been considering the planning application (SUN/2963/11 or GOSE/103/3/VALE/29) for residential development on the Foxcombe Road site of the old Warnborough College on Boars Hill, near Oxford; and when he plans to make a decision. 
Keith Hill: Planning application SUN/2963/11 was first referred to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister for consideration on 13 December 2000. The application was called in for my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's own determination on 19 February 2001 and, following a public inquiry, was refused on 13 November 2001, against the Inspector's recommendation. The decision was successfully challenged in the High Court but the application was again refused on 12 March 2003. That decision has again been successfully challenged and the application now falls to be re-determined a second time. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister attaches great importance to preserving the openness of the Green Belt, and has asked for any further representations the parties may wish to make by the closing date of 27 February 2004. A decision will be made as soon as possible.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what reasons he submitted to judgment in the High Court the planning application (SUN/2963/11 or GOSE/103/3/VALE/29) for residential development on the Foxcombe Road site of the old Warnborough College on Boars Hill, near Oxford in (a) April 2002 and (b) September 2003. 
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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost of the time (a) his officials and (b) officials of the Government office for the South East spent on dealing with the planning application (SUN/2963/11 or GOSE/103/3/VALE/29) for residential development on the Foxcombe Road site of the old Warnborough College on Boars Hill, near Oxford. 
Keith Hill: This has been a complex and long-running case. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister attaches great importance to the Green Belt policy. No estimate has been made of the cost of the time spent by his officials on dealing with the planning application.
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what targets he has set for the time taken to reconsider planning applications after a decision he has taken is legally challenged successfully. 
Keith Hill: No targets have been set for the time taken to re-determine a planning application following a successful legal challenge, although the aim is to re-determine all cases as soon as possible. However, for the re-determination of called-in applications, we would aim to issue a decision within 13 weeks from the conclusion of the written representations procedure or receipt of the Inspector's report if it has been decided to re-open the inquiry.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the evidential basis was for his estimate that an elected regional assembly would have (a) running costs of £25 million a year and (b) set-up costs of £30 million. 
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Mr. Raynsford: The evidence is drawn from the cost of setting up the Greater London Authority and its first year running costs, reflecting differences between the London arrangements and those proposed for elected regional assemblies. For example, it is not proposed to provide elected assemblies with new, purpose built headquarters.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2004, Official Report, column 743W, on regional funding, whether the recipient organisations were ever under local authority control. 
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