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Patrick Mercer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the relationship between the change in the number of emergency fire controls and the Government's policy on regional government. 
Mr. Raynsford: There is no relationship. The plan to replace the existing 46 control rooms in England with nine regional control centres is being implemented for reasons of resilience and public safety.
Mr. Raynsford: Government hopes that reform of negotiating machinery for the Fire and Rescue Service can be achieved by agreement between the employers and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). I understand that negotiations about reform were re-opened by the employers late last year. As stated at Committee stage of the Fire and Rescue Services Bill (now Act) 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not want to put an arbitrary time limit on these difficult and complex discussions. Government will seek an up-date on the negotiations later this month.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff in his Department have (a) received official warnings and (b) faced disciplinary procedures following breaches of IT policy in each year since 1997. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much total Government grant per capita has been given to each local authority in England, including fire authorities, in each year since 1997. 
Those who champion the development of services on behalf of older people do so on a voluntary basis and there is no requirement for councils to tell us whether they have an older people's champion or not. However, from our day-to-day contact with local authorities and an informal database set up for those champions who wish to share their experiences, we believe that most councils do have at least one older people's champion.
Keith Hill: In September 2004 I received a letter from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) which included a copy of "Telecommunications DevelopmentA CPRE Briefing". CPRE wrote in similar terms to the Director for Planning and the policy team leader responsible for planning policies for telecommunication developments. The policy team leader also met with CPRE representatives to discuss their concerns.
This work and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's own assessments lead us to conclude that rising numbers of planning applications taken together with some increase in refusal rates have been the main statistical factors behind the increase in the number of planning appeals. There is a strong perception that the reduction in the period for submitting an appeal from six months to three months has led to applicants submitting appeals without first making any attempt to negotiate an amended application with the local planning authority and that this has also contributed to the rise in appeal numbers. I announced on 16 December that it was our intention to extend the period for submitting planning appeals from three to six months, which would have the effect of reversing the change which was introduced in September 2003. The orders giving effect to that change were laid before Parliament on 22 December 2004.
Keith Hill: The consultation responses to draft Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres will be made available in the Library of the House, when the final version of Planning Policy Statement 6 is published.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Department has received a response from the Small Business Service to the draft Planning Policy Statement 6 issued in December 2003; and whether a small firms impact assessment has been undertaken in connection with PPS6. 
Keith Hill: The Small Business Service submitted comments on draft Planning Policy Statement 6 on 3 March 2004. A small firms impact test has been carried out and the results will form part of the final Regulatory Impact Assessment which will published once the final version of Planning Policy Statement 6 has been published.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many civil servants from his Office have (a) faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of allegations of theft, (b) been charged with theft and (c) been dismissed following theft allegations in each year since 1997. 
28. Dr. Pugh: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what effect the introduction of rolling electoral registration has had on voter registration. 
Mr. Leslie: I am not aware that any study has to date been carried out into the effect of rolling registration on voter registration. However, the independent Electoral Commission is currently undertaking research into the extent and nature of non-registration in Great Britain, which I understand includes assessing the impact of rolling registration on levels of voter registration. The Commission expects to publish its findings by summer this year, which the Government will wish to consider carefully.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what research the Department has conducted into the ways in which young people and students register as voters. 
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