|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 1 March 2004, Official Report, column 753W, on the non-domestic rate pool, whether (a) the police and (b) other agencies in Gloucestershire were allocated funding from non-domestic rates in 200304. 
Mr. Raynsford: Distributions from the non-domestic rate pool are currently based on population and the services which a local authority is responsible for. The national amount per head for 200304 was £317.1934786, and the relevant population of Gloucestershire for the 200304 Local Government Finance Settlement was 565,000. The resulting total of £179,214,316 from the non-domestic rate pool for the Gloucestershire area was allocated between the Gloucestershire billing and precepting authorities as follows:
|Gloucestershire County Council||151,436,097|
|Gloucestershire Police Authority||8,064,644|
|Cheltenham Borough Council||3,839,576|
|Cotswold District Council||2,804,945|
|Forest of Dean District Council||2,792,873|
|Gloucester City Council||3,836,122|
|Stroud District Council||3,770,422|
|Tewkesbury Borough Council||2,669,637|
The Fire Authorities in shire areas were not precepting authorities in 200304 and so did not receive a share of the non-domestic rate pool in that year. No other agencies in Gloucestershire received a share of the £179,214,316 for the Gloucestershire area.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the value of assets transferred from One North East to the partnership with UK Land Estates was; and what the (a) cost and (b) source of the advice obtained by One North East before the sale was. 
|1. Legal advice||970|
|2. Property Consultant costs||544|
|3. Surveying costs||515|
|4. Accounting, tax and other technical advice||160|
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many contracts his Office had with (a) Barclays, (b) the Royal Bank of Scotland, (c) UBS Warburg, (d) the Bank of Scotland, (e) PriceWaterhouseCoopers, (f) Deloitte and Touche, (g) KPMG and (h) Ernst & Young for advice on private finance initiative and public private partnership contracts in each financial year since 200102; and what fees were paid in each case. 
Mr. Raynsford: Since 200102, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has had two contracts, one with Ernst & Young and the other with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, both in 200304. Ernst & Young was paid £62,734 excluding VAT to review the Fire and Rescue Service private finance initiative programme.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers carried out work on the Housing Private Finance Initiative Procurement Pack. The Housing Procurement Pack was jointly procured with the 4Ps, (Public Private Partnerships Programme) an agency of the Local Government Association set up to provide advice to local authorities on PPP/PFIs. The total fee paid was £57,486 excluding VAT. 50 per cent. of the fees paid by the Office will be recovered from the 4Ps.
Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will require a start on works to activate a time-limited planning approval to represent at least a quarter of the development; and if he will make a statement. 
Under section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, a variety of works is held to constitute the start of development. A material change of use of land may also indicate that development
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1175W
has started, provided the change is related to the development. There are no plans to amend the law in the manner suggested.
Keith Hill: The activities that may indicate that a planning permission has begun to be implemented include: any work of construction; demolition of a building on the site; the digging of a trench to contain foundations; the laying of any underground main or pipe to the foundations; laying out an access road; and any material change in the use of the land. The full list is in section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Keith Hill: Planning policy statement 22 (PPS22) on renewable energy was published on 9 August 2004. Copies of the document are available in the Libraries of the House and have been sent out to all planning authorities in England.
(2) when the Government plan to issue a revised circular on planning obligations. 
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister aims to publish a Good Practice Guide on planning obligations in early 2005, alongside a new circular on planning obligations. A draft of the new circular is to be issued for consultation in the autumn.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also continuing work on developing proposals for an optional planning charge, so that decisions on implementation can be made in the context of the Chancellor's decision on a Planning Gain Supplement at the end of 2005.
Jim Knight: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authorities have conducted needs assessments on sport, recreation and open space facilities as required by Planning Policy Guidance Note 17. 
The collection of regular statistics on the implementation of specific national planning policies could be attained only at disproportionate cost. However, Government offices do scrutinise statutory development plans for compliance with national policies before these plans are adopted.
Under the new planning system local development frameworks must be supported by an evidence base comprising data such as that required by PPG17. Where
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1176W
this evidence falls short of such a requirement, inspectors could rule at public examination that the plan did not meet the test of soundness. Subsequently authorities' annual monitoring reports which will report upon policy performance, will also provide a mechanism by which Government offices can assess whether PPG 17 requirements continue to be met.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how he assessed the (a) support for and (b) problems of all postal voting in (i) the North East, (ii) the North West and (iii) Yorkshire and the Humber. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Government listened to the concerns raised in the Commons debates on 19 and 21 July about whether we should go ahead with referendums in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. In light of these, the Government decided to proceed with the referendum in the North East, subject to the Electoral Commission's report. The Government also decided to reschedule referendums in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber once we had considered the report prepared by the Electoral Commission. This report was published on 27 August.
Mr. Raynsford: The rules for the North East referendum were approved by Parliament in July. The administration of the North East referendum is for the Chief Counting Officer, Ged Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Sunderland city council and for the local counting officers.
"The Commission has therefore considered carefully, in the light of our conclusions in relation to postal voting more generally, whether it is appropriate for the referendum in the North East to continue as planned . . . ..our conclusion is that the referendum should proceed as an all-postal ballot without major changes to the process."
In reaching this conclusion the Electoral Commission highlighted the desirability of avoiding late changes in a process already approved by Parliament, and a number of additional factors specific to the North East referendum, as follows:
The form of all postal-voting defined in law for the regional referendum is a significant improvement over that piloted in June, in part as a result of changes advocated by the Commission earlier in the year. For example there is no requirement for a witness to sign the security statement and more assistance and delivery points are provided for and discretion given to counting officers to provide additional points as they see fit.
There is presently no evidence on which to conclude that an all-postal referendum in the North East would be unsafe in terms of fraud or malpractice. To the Commission's knowledge, no allegations of electoral fraud made in the North East in relation to the June all-postal pilot scheme have led to formal prosecutions.
The public is more positive about all-postal voting, and its future use, in the North East than in any other pilot region; and
The capacity of commercial printers and the Royal Mail to manage an all-postal ballot of the scale required in the North East (with approximately 1.9 million electors) was evidenced in June and their capacity will be further enhanced by the lack of competing pressures from other all-postal ballots taking place simultaneously. Additionally, planning between printers, local authorities and other key suppliers is already well under way.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|