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Regional Spatial Strategies

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether regional spatial strategies require approval by the (a) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and (b) Government Office for the Region. [205308]

Mr. Raynsford: Under Part 1 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs) set out the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's policies for the development and use of land in the region. The draft is prepared by the Regional Planning Body and submitted to the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister usually decides to hold an examination in public and he consults on any changes he proposes before publishing the RSS in its final form. The Government Offices of the Regions carries out the necessary administrative tasks on his behalf.
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Rent Assessment Panels

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether decisions on appointments to rent assessment panels may be appealed against. [204408]

Keith Hill: There are no independent review procedures that can be applied to appointments to rent assessment panels for which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has responsibility. However, if an applicant considers that a decision not to appoint them was objectionable on grounds, for example, of gender or race, or the appointment process was irrational or procedurally flawed, there are ways in which decisions can be challenged in an Employment Tribunal or through the Courts. In the first instance, anyone with concerns over the appointment process should contact the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister who will check that appropriate procedures were followed.

Repossessions (Pendle)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many houses in Pendle were re-possessed as a result of missed mortgage payments in each year since 1990. [204083]

Mr. Leslie: I have been asked to reply.

Information specific to Pendle is not collected. Pendle falls within the jurisdiction of Blackburn county court. The court records the number of orders for repossession made, but not the specific grounds for the proceedings on which they are based.

The table shows the total number of possession orders made at Blackburn county court, which will include proceedings for properties at Pendle. However, it is not always the case that a possession order will be enforced in every case.
Local authority and other mortgage possession orders made in Blackburn county court

Suspended ordersOrders


Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the criteria used to decide which documents and files should be shredded; and what mechanism exists to ensure that documents and files are not destroyed for other reasons. [202101]

Phil Hope: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister keeps records for as long as they are needed for administrative and business purposes. Records of
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enduring historical value are selected for permanent preservation under the guidance and supervision of The National Archives on the basis of guidelines which are published on The National Archives website at:

Sick Leave

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many days sick leave were taken by civil servants in his Office in each year since 1997; and what the sickness absence rate was in each year. [204519]

Phil Hope: I refer the hon. Member to the figures contained in the annual report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service" published by the Cabinet Office.

Table A of this report gives details of both the average working days absence per staff year and the number of staff years on which that calculation is based. The most recent statistics (for calendar year 2003) were announced by written ministerial statement on 1 November 2004, Official Report, column 1WS and copies placed in the Libraries of the House.

Although the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister did not come into existence until 2002 the reports for the years 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 for all major Civil Service departments are available on the Cabinet Office website at:

I should also like to take this opportunity to reinforce our commitment to managing sickness absence effectively and to putting in place the recommendations of the recently published "Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector".

Social Housing

Tom Cox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the waiting lists for social housing for each local authority in the Greater London area are; and if he will make a statement. [204741]

Keith Hill: Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list (excluding tenants awaiting a transfer) as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix return. Local authorities sometimes maintain a common waiting list with the Housing Association/s in their district. However, information is not held centrally where a Housing Association maintains a separate waiting list to the local authority.

The latest information, for 2004, is tabled as follows for the 33 London boroughs:
Households on the housing waiting list at 1 April 2004

Local authorityNumber of households
Barking and Dagenham3,149
City of London914
Hammersmith and Fulham(47)7,874
Kensington and Chelsea(47)8,326
Kingston upon Thames(47)4,465
Richmond upon Thames(47)4,868
Tower Hamlets(47)14,575
Waltham Forest9,016

(47) Denotes that the local authority has a common waiting list with the Housing Association/s in their area.
ODPM's Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix return.

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Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of the additional £430 million Housing Corporation social housing grant available annually for new affordable housing from 2007–08 would previously have been available as local authority social housing grant. [204927]

Keith Hill: The additional housing funding for 2007–08 agreed in the 2004 Spending Review reflects a balance between the need to increase the provision of affordable housing and for prudent management of public finances. There was no link between with considerations in the Spending Review and the past affordable housing funding programmes.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much his Department spent on taskforces and similar bodies in each year since 1997. [204885]

Phil Hope: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.


Tom Cox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much Government money has been provided to the London borough of Wandsworth in each of the last five years. [204745]

Mr. Raynsford: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Rosindell) on 19 October 2004, Official Report, columns 572–73W.
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