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29 Mar 2004 : Column 1267W—continued

Local Government Finance

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 11 March 2004, Official Report, column 1710W, on local government finance (Isle of Wight), what his grant to the Isle of Wight Council was for 2003–04; and what his grant would have been for (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05 had he not accepted the Isle of Wight's argument about the New Earnings Survey sample size. [164435]

Mr. Raynsford: The Isle of Wight Council received £96.318 million in formulae grant in 2003–04.

At the 2003–04 provisional settlement, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister calculated the area cost adjustment (ACA) for the Isle of Wight separately from that of Hampshire. As a result the Isle of Wight had an ACA factor of one. Had the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister continued to calculate the ACA in this way for the 2003–04 and 2004–05 settlements, it is likely that the Island would have continued to receive an ACA factor of one. And correspondingly they would have received less revenue support grant in 2003–04 and 2004–05.

However, precisely quantifying the effect of changing the ACA used in the 2003–04 and 2004–05 settlement can be done only at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require the re-calculation of the 2003–04 and 2004–05 ACA and the 2003–04 and 2004–05 settlements including the floor and ceiling calculations. This is a lengthy process.

Mr. Pound: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made in the balance of funding review of the impact on London local authorities of a local income tax. [164461]

Phil Hope: The Balance of Funding Review Steering Group heard evidence from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy on 4 March on the pros and cons of a local income tax. Their evidence included some assessment of the effect of different models of local income tax on different parts of the country.

Local Government Grants

Matthew Green: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister on how many occasions he has rejected a local authority's application to introduce a houses in multiple occupation control registration scheme which did not comply with the model scheme requirements. [162717]

Keith Hill: Following the 1999 consultation paper on the Government's proposal for licensing of houses in multiple occupation the Department agreed a number of variations that could be made to the model scheme to reflect its proposals for licensing of HMOs. No applications have been received which do not conform to the variations and accordingly no schemes have been refused.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the safety net on losses on benefit subsidy is for Harrogate borough council in financial year 2004–05. [163039]

Mr. Pond: I have been asked to reply.

The information is not available.

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Under the new system it is not possible to predict exactly how much local authorities will receive in housing benefit/council tax benefit subsidy. There are a number of variables that will determine the outcome and these will not be known until the end of 2004–05. However, if a local authority's final housing benefit/council tax benefit subsidy for 2004–05 shows it to be disadvantaged by more than 0.5 per cent. of the amount they would otherwise have received under the previous system, its loss in that year would be limited to 0.5 per cent.

Local Government Pension Scheme

Mr. Todd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 9 March 2004, Official Report, column 144W, on the Local Government Pension Scheme, whether revisions to the Local Government Pension Scheme will facilitate early retirement being used as a mechanism to facilitate reorganisation. [163958]

Phil Hope: The proposed revisions to the Local Government Pension Scheme do not remove the capacity of local authority employers to make their own business decisions about early retirements when reorganisations occur. In doing so, they will need to take into account any resultant pension costs as exemplified by the appropriate pension fund authority, while at the same time ensuring their actions do not discriminate against older workers.

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will issue guidance and advice to local authorities on changes in the rules on part-time employees in the Local Government Pension Scheme. [164279]

Phil Hope: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury on 8 March 2004, Official Report, column 1224W. The Local Government Pensions Committee of the Employers' Organisation for Local Government have now issued the further guidance referred to in that answer. Their Circular 152, dated March 2004, is available on their website at:

Mobile Phone Masts

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what penalties there are for mobile phone companies that fail to consult on the (a) erection and (b) upgrading of mobile phone masts; [163357]

Keith Hill: The statutory requirements on a local planning authority to consult once a planning application or application for prior approval has been submitted are set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 and Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) 1995 respectively.

Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (revised) on Telecommunications together with the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development set out guidance and best practice for consultation on mobile mast development.

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Both documents encourage the operators to undertake consultation and the traffic light model set out in the code is used to help develop a consultation plan for each proposed site. The operators have committed themselves to doing this and to independent monitoring of their implementation of this commitment.

New Deal for Communities

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which consultants have been used by (a) his Department and (b) each New Deal for Communities partnership on the New Deal for Communities in each financial year since 1999–2000; and at what cost. [160345]

Yvette Cooper: A list of consultants 35 New Deal for Communities (NDC) Partnerships have used from the period 1999–2000 to date has been made available in the Library of the House. Unfortunately due to the time restriction we were unable to obtain data for four NDC partnerships, I will write to the hon. Member once the information is collated and wall make a copy of the letter in the Library.

The spreadsheet also contains information on the consultants that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister NDC Programme team have used from the period of

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2002–2003 to date. Due to changes in the departmental accounting computer system the information for years prior to 2002–2003 is not readily available.

Public Bodies (Expenditure)

Matthew Green: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the (a) total budget, (b) departmental funding and (c) administration costs for (i) rent assessment panels, (ii) The Ordnance Survey, (iii) The Standards Board for England, (iv) The Housing Corporation, (v) Housing Action Trust, (vi) The Boundary Commission for England, (vii) The Boundary Commission for Wales, (viii) The Property Advisory Group, (ix) The Audit Commission, (x) English Partnerships, (xi) The Rent Service, (xii) The Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate, (xiii) Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, (xiv) The Fire Service College, (xv) The Planning Inspectorate, (xvi) The Advisory Panel on Beacon Councils, (xvii) The Building Regulations Advisory Committee, (xviii) The Community Forum, (xix) The Residential Property Advisory Group and (xx) Valuation Tribunal for this financial year. [150099]

Yvette Cooper: For 2003–04, figures are tabled as follows:


(a) Total budget(b) Departmental funding(c) Administration costs
(i) Rent Assessment Panels9,720,0009,720,000(62)7,288,000
(ii) Ordnance Survey111,100,000NilNot defined within total budget
(iii) Standards Board for England8,944,0008,944,0007,891,000
(iv) Housing Corporation1,898,900,0001,897,800,00038,200,000
(v) Housing Action Trusts101,398,34576,268,00012,021,217
(vi) Boundary Commission for England2,086,0002,086,0001,208,000
(vii) Boundary Commission for Wales314,000314,000192,000
(x) English Partnerships136,108,000(63)235,000,00029,100,000
(xi) The Rent Services(64)46,100,00046,100,00046,100,000
(xiii) Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre8,060,000NilNot defined within total budget
(xiv) Fire Service College20,000,0007,634,000Not defined within total budget
(xv) Planning Inspectorate(65)51,737,00041,759,00048,976,000
(xx) Valuation Tribunals10,793,00010,793,00010,793,000

(62) Includes elements for travel and subsistence paid to tribunal members and cost of hire of hearing rooms.

(63) English Partnerships' total budget figure is the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) which applies to accrued net expenditure for the year. Under resource accounting policy, site acquisitions do not score against DEL when purchased but at the time of disposal. Departmental funding by way of grant-in-aid provides EP with the funds to acquire land which is held on the balance sheet but will not score in DEL until the time of disposal.

(64)All figures for TRS include £5.510 million capital

(65) All figures for PINS include £4.119 million capital.

On (ix), the Audit Commission, the Controller of Audit will write to you separately. The remaining bodies are all classified as advisory NDPBs: (viii) the Property Advisory Group, (xii) the Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate, (xvi) the Advisory Panel on Beacon Councils, (xvii) the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, (xviii) the Community Forum, and (xix) the Residential Property Advisory Group do not receive Government funding other than the internal costs to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of sponsoring these bodies.

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