|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to help fixed income and low paid households in the south west of England pay increased water charges. 
The report of a cross-Government Review of Water Affordability was published on 2 December. In addition to a number of recommendations of general application, the report also proposed a local scale pilot scheme in the South West Water area to target water affordability assistance to lower income households. The purpose of the pilot study is to assess the combined impacts of benefits entitlement checks, water efficiency measures and metering. Defra will be discussing the details of the pilot with the water company with the aim of a start early in the next financial year.
15 Dec 2004 : Column 1117W
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister on how many occasions his officials have had discussions with the City Treasurer of the City of Newcastle to discuss the revenue financing of the Building Schools for the Future programme; and what was agreed during such discussions. 
Mr. Raynsford: There have been no formal meetings or discussions between officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the City Treasurer of the City of Newcastle to discuss the revenue financing of the Building Schools for the Future programme.
Mr. Raynsford: Borrowing by local authorities to fund investment under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme will be supported in exactly the same way as other supported borrowing. Any Supported Capital Expenditure (Revenue) (SCE(R)) amount for the BSF programme will be included, together with other SCE(R) amounts, in the calculations for the Debt Charges element of the Formula Spending Share. Each element of the Formula Spending Share (FSS) calculations incorporates a scaling factor to ensure that the sum of the relevant element for all authorities is equal to the national total for that element set by central government in the Spending Review.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently consulting on proposals for Revenue Support Grant for 200506. The provisional scaling factor for the Debt Charges FSS element for 200506 is about 1.11. We expect to announce details of our final proposals, following consultation, towards the end of January.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the Government has made of the impact on local election turnout of Electoral Commission Circular EC34/2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: Section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as inserted by section 76 of the Local Government Act 2003, gives local billing authorities the flexibility, if they wish, to grant reductions or exemptions on an individual basis or for a class of council tax payers.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the (a) regional bodies, (b) taskforces and (c) organisations that the Government have established since 1997; and which Departments have (i) established and (ii) expanded regional offices since 1997. 
Phil Hope: The regional bodies, which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister contributes funds to, and that were established since 1997, are the nine regional development agencies (RDAs). The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also recognises the eight voluntary regional chambers, outside London.
Information on task forces attached to central Government Departments and in existence between May 1997 and October 2000 was made available in three reports published in January, July and December 2000 on "Task Forces, Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and Reviews". For the years 200102 and 200303, this information has been included in the publications "Public Bodies 2002" and "Public Bodies 2003" respectively. Copies of these reports are available in the Library of the House.
Since 1997, more responsibilities have been given to the Government offices and they now carry out work on behalf of 10 Departments. Their current responsibilities are set out in the Regional Co-ordination Unit and Government Office Network Corporate Plan 200405. A copy of this has already been made available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 6 December 2004, Official Report, columns 34647W, on Ministry of Defence land, what assessment he has made of (a) the direct benefits for English Partnerships, (b) the implications for the current planning systems and (c) the effects on local communities; what procedures are in place to audit the arrangement; which surplus sites in Hampshire will be affected by the new arrangements; and if he will make a statement. 
Keith Hill: English Partnerships has an important part to play in helping to deliver the objectives of the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan. A key role for English Partnerships is to find and assemble land, particularly brownfield and publicly owned land, for housing development in areas of high demand. The Register of surplus public sector land provides a mechanism within which English Partnerships, or another central Government body, can express an interest in a site which is surplus to operational requirements.
All sites identified through this process will be subject to the current planning system. Planning applications must follow the same procedure as would apply to applications for any other site and applicant. The framework agreement underpins this process and will provide an early opportunity for community engagement about the planning options for any given site.
The working arrangements agreed under the framework agreement will be monitored and reviewed as a part of English Partnerships' normal operations and the operation of the Register of surplus public sector land.
Any surplus sites in Hampshire held by central Government bodies have to be placed on the Register before they can be put on the open market. The framework agreement with Defence Estates covers sites in Hampshire that are or will become surplus to Defence requirements. It will be for English Partnerships to decide if they have an interest in any of these sites.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|