30 Nov 2004 : Column 19WS

Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 30 November 2004


Government Indemnity Scheme

The Minister for the Arts (Estelle Morris): The provision for the Government indemnity scheme is made by the National Heritage Act 1980. The scheme facilitates public access to loans of works of art and other objects for public display made to museums, galleries and other such institutions by private owners and non-national institutions. It does this by indemnifying lenders against loss or damage to their loan. Loans covered by the scheme must be for public benefit. The scheme also covers loans of such objects for study purposes within borrowing institutions where this would contribute materially to the public's understanding or appreciation of the loan. Examples of this are enhancing interpretation or explanation to the public of objects or bringing into the public domain the conclusions of any study.

In the six month period ended 30 September, the following undertakings to indemnify were given under section 16 by the relevant Departments for objects on loan to national and non-national institutions. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issued 580 undertakings, the Scottish Executive Education Department issued 184 undertakings and the National Assembly for Wales issued 139.

The value of contingent liabilities in respect of undertakings given at any time under section 16 and which remained outstanding as at 30 September for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are £2,462,963,504. The value of section 16 contingent liabilities as at 30 September for the Scottish Executive Education Department are £755,072,231 and £64,366,311 for the National Assembly for Wales.

The value of non-statutory Government indemnities to cover loans handled by the Government art collection and which remained outstanding as at 30 September are £5,100,000.

The value of non-statutory undertakings given to Her Majesty in respect of loans from the royal collection and which remained outstanding as at 30 September are £162,094,556.


Regional Planning Guidance for the South-East (RPG9)

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister is today publishing the revised chapters on "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy" (chapter 10) and "Tourism and Related Sports and Recreation (Chapter 14)—regional planning guidance for the south-east (RPG9)." This follows the examination in public into the draft chapters in May 2003, the panel report in
30 Nov 2004 : Column 20WS
March 2004, and the consultation on the Secretary of State's proposed changes that closed on 3 September 2004.

These chapters form an integral part of regional planning guidance (RPG) for the South East and represent a revision to RPG9, as published in March 2001. Following commencement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill (September 2004) this will now form part of the statutory regional spatial strategy (RSS).

Other recent partial reviews are either completed or in their final stages. The Secretary of State has recently published his proposed changes on the Milton Keynes and south midlands sub regional strategy, we are awaiting the panel's report on the examination in public on waste and minerals and we have already published revised versions of the regional transport strategy (RTS) and the Ashford growth area amendments.

Chapter 10 aims to promote a more sustainable pattern of energy use and generation whilst ensuring that development does not harm the region's environment or the quality of life of its people. Chapter 14 sets out policies on tourism, related sports and recreation and forms an additional chapter to RPG9.

The consultation period for the proposed changes to the draft chapters ended on 3 September 2004 with some 90 responses from individuals and organisations. Respondents were broadly supportive of the proposed changes.

In relation to chapter 10, the most significant changes were to policy INF 8 and supporting text to reflect that landscape character assessment should be used where available. In relation to chapter 14 final changes are concerned with textual amendments and further description in sections.

These chapters are integral and clearly identifiable parts of RPG9. It will be reviewed through the development of the spatial strategy for the south-east, resulting in the publication of the regional spatial strategy for the south-east—"the South-East Plan". This work has already begun and a draft is expected in 2005.

Copies of the relevant documents are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): I have today published a consultation paper on proposed secondary legislation and guidance to implement some of the development control provisions in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. We intend that, after a three month consultation period and consideration of the responses received, the provisions would come into effect in May 2005.

We are preparing to implement the development control provisions in part 4 of the Act in stages. Where the provisions in the Act require secondary legislation we are proposing changes to the general development procedure order. The paper proposes the form and content for economic impact reports for major infrastructure projects. The paper proposes a 21-day period in which statutory consultees must respond to consultation on planning applications. Last year some consultees pointed out the inconsistency between this
30 Nov 2004 : Column 21WS
period and the ability of local planning authorities (LPAS) to determine applications within 14 days. We are now proposing that LPAS should not determine applications until the consultee has responded or after 21 days, whichever is the sooner.

The consultation includes updated guidance on some of the provisions in the Act for which secondary legislation is not required. The guidance refers to the right of appeal for non-determination of a similar repeat application. We will not be introducing the power to decline to determine overlapping application (twin-tracking) until the performance of local authorities in handling planning applications improves.

There is revised draft guidance on the duration of permission and consent. The Act reduces the default period for the commencement of a detailed permission from five to three years. The Government have acknowledged that periods longer than three years might be appropriate in some cases. For most major developments, such as complex regeneration projects, outline rather than detailed applications are likely to be the route to permission. The period for approval of reserved matters after outline permission has been granted will normally remain as three years. The guidance makes clear the need for flexibility on the part of local authorities in their dealings with applicants on the duration of permissions and consents.

There is also draft guidance on consultation with regional planning bodies (RPBs) on certain applications where development would be of major importance for the implementation of the regional spatial strategy or for other types of development on which RPBs specify that they wish to be consulted.


Schools' Capital

The Minister for School Standards (Mr. David Miliband): I am today announcing details of the allocation of schools capital over the spending review period for 2006–07 to 2007–08. Investment in schools is at record levels, and every maintained school and every education authority and diocese in England will benefit from our capital programmes. As well as continued substantial investment in primary schools, we will now drive forward significantly the modernisation of the secondary school estate, further to my statement of 12 February announcing the first wave of authorities to benefit from the Building Schools for the Future programme.

My announcement will support the five-year strategy for educational improvement which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in July, and continues and increases the largest sustained programme of capital investment in schools which this country has ever seen. From an inadequate base of under £700 million in 1996–97, government support for capital investment in schools has risen to £4.9 billion this year, will be £5.5 billion next year, £5.8 billion in 2006–07 and will reach £6.3 billion by 2007–08. This is a nine-fold increase since this Government came to power. The table at the end of this statement give details of our funding proposals.
30 Nov 2004 : Column 22WS

Since this Government came to office, we have provided substantial investment for schools—£20 billion up to this year—so that the vast backlog of neglect and repairs which made many schools virtually uninhabitable has been addressed. We have revised and improved our design and environmental guidelines for schools to reflect the standards-driven needs of twenty-first century teaching and learning, and to capture the benefits of ICT development. We have increased expectations on environmental quality, diversity and inclusion. We are placing schools at the centre of their communities, offering extended facilities and regaining the position that they held in earlier years, but lost as their buildings decayed.

We have made very substantial progress in recent years. But much remains to do, to bring all schools up to the standards that we expect for our children. All schools and authorities will benefit from this capital programme, which provides over a further £17 billion investment over the next three years.

Importantly, all schools will continue to get their own direct capital to improve their buildings. This will rise from £800 million in 2005–06 to over £1 billion in 2007–08, when the typical primary school will get over £34,000 and a typical secondary £113,000. This programme will, from 2006–07, include schools' direct funding for improving their ICT equipment, part of the £1.1 billion of ICT investment in 2006–07 and 2007–08.

We will also continue to provide authorities with needs-related funding for their local priorities, £2.2 billion will be allocated by formulae to authorities across 2006–07 and 2007–08 from the modernisation, basic need and schools access Initiative programmes. From this announcement, authorities will have three year certainty on the bulk of their capital funding, and it will as usual be delivered through the single capital pot to enable authorities to plan flexibly to meet their schools' needs.

To ensure that there is flexibility within the overall programme, we aim to increase the funding available to the targeted capital fund, to £500 million a year by 2007–08. This will ensure that we can support authorities which have exceptional capital needs, including exceptional pupil growth through the basic need safety valve.

An equitable share of the capital settlement of over £900 million will also be provided for the needs of schools in the voluntary aided sector in these years.

I am announcing today allocations from the targeted capital fund for 2005–06, of £233 million for a total of 51 local authority projects and 20 projects in voluntary aided schools. These cover a wide range of projects, including accommodation for pupils with special needs, sports facilities, extended schools facilities, modernisation of teaching accommodation, replacement of primary school buildings, and two new voluntary aided schools—one Jewish and one Islamic. I am providing a further £12 million of additional basic need funding where there is exceptional growth in pupil numbers in Haringey, Cambridge, Thurrock, and Milton Keynes.

I am also announcing today the 20 new authorities which will be included in the second and third waves of building schools for the future (BSF), which aims to renew every secondary school in the country. The geographical areas, including 230 schools in total, have been prioritised according to relative educational and
30 Nov 2004 : Column 23WS
social need, as measured by pupils' GCSE attainment and eligibility for free school meals; and the planning and financial requirements of the programme. These allocations bring the total number of authorities included in the programme by 2007–08 to 39 over a quarter of all authorities.

As we made clear in the five year strategy for children and learners published in July, BSF plans will be assessed according to rigorous school improvement criteria and funding will not be released until the Government and local people are satisfied that they meet the full potential for transforming standards. This includes considering academies and other options for new schools in their plans. As we said in the five year strategy, the Government will not stand by and allow local authorities to sustain failure by refusing to engage with Academies where they can meet parental demand for good school places. This policy is already being applied to wave one authorities, where most BSF plans are yet to be approved, and will be applied to all the further waves being announced today.

Further, I am announcing our ambition that, by 2011, all local authorities will either have a major secondary rebuilding project under way through BSF, with at least three of their secondary schools included, or else have the resources to rebuild at least one of their secondary schools in greatest need through the academies programme and the targeted capital fund. By 2016, major rebuilding and remodelling will have started in every local authority in line with BSF plans developed by them. Final allocations for waves four onwards of BSF are of course subject to future public spending decisions and will be confirmed in future spending reviews.

I am allocating over £830 million funding in 2006–07 and 2007–08 to support the development of additional academies to work to our target of having 200 open or in procurement by 2010. I am also providing a further £70 million to reach our target of universal specialism in secondary schools by the end of the period.

My officials will give all authorities an indication of when they may expect to start in the BSF programme so that they can plan confidently and use their other funding efficiently before they get this major investment. We will work with every authority to see how these commitments and their own financial flexibilities through delegated funding and prudential borrowing can be combined to deliver maximum early progress on BSF.

We have decided to allocate schools capital to a new joined-up budget for 16 to 19 provision in schools and colleges. The Learning and Skills Council will also contribute to the combined pot, which it will administer, worth in total £120 million in 2006–07 and £180 million in 2007–08.

Schools which have robust sustainable travel plans put in place will be able to access a further £40 million of devolved formula capital over the period.

I am providing all hon. Members with detailed information on all of today's allocations which affect the local authorities in their constituencies.
30 Nov 2004 : Column 24WS

Table: Schools Capital Funding from 2005–06 until 2007–08

Figures in £ million2005–062006–072007–08
Schools Devolved Funding8051,0001,050
LEA Delegated funding
Modernisation602602602Note 1
Basic Need590400400Note 2
Schools Access Initiative848484Note 3
BSF Programme2,1182,1772,240Note 4
Other ICT459249284Note 5
VA Schools352444473
Specialist Schools563535
LSC 16–19 Budget contribution070100
Targeted Capital Fund200300500
Sustainable Transport202020
Other Programmes22910

1. Modernisation is allocated on pupil numbers and relative building need from survey data.
2. Basic Need is allocated on pupil numbers and projected pupil number growth.
3. Schools Access Initiative is allocated on pupil numbers.
4. Includes £1.2/1.25/1.3 billion of PFI credits.
5. 2006–07 and 2007–08 figures exclude ICT capital delivered directly to schools as devolved funding.

Next Section Index Home Page