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40. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the cost is of storing the paintings and works of art held by the House. 
Sir Archy Kirkwood: Items from the House collection not on display are kept in two basement storerooms, at no additional cash cost to the House. When works are displaced during the summer works programme, larger paintings are occasionally stored with specialist companies for which the House pays a fee.
41. Dr. Whitehead: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans he has to support the expansion of the Parliamentary Education Unit to cope with demand for educational visits. 
Sir Archy Kirkwood: The Commission agreed in November to fund an additional staff post within the Education Unit to focus on outreach to young people, with a principal focus of the job being on building links with local education authorities, as recommended by the Modernisation Committee. The Commission looks forward to considering well founded proposals for the expansion of the Unit's work. It has also asked for further exploration of the possibility of extension of the current autumn visits programme run by the Unit to run all year round.
42. Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans he has to support the expansion of the Parliamentary Education Unit to cope with demand for educational visits. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the honourable Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to his Answer of 16 December 2004, Official Report, column 1225W, on kettles, whether a comparative assessment was made of the health and safety risks posed by kettles and cisterns of boiling water; and if he will arrange for the issue of rubber gloves to all kitchens in the Parliamentary Estate to protect against the danger of scalding. 
Sir Archy Kirkwood:
An assessment has been made of the comparative health and safety risks posed by kettles and hot water boilers. Boilers are considered to be safer. It is not considered practical to issue rubber gloves in all kitchens, but the option of new cool touch taps is being investigated.
11 Jan 2005 : Column 401W
Sue Doughty: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage of documents and the use of shredders; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. 
Yvette Cooper: Documents are stored either close to where they are used or by an off-site storage contractor. Material of no value as a record is disposed of, preferably by recycling, as soon as it is no longer required. Documents that form part of the official record are stored until they reach the end of their retention periods or they are selected for permanent preservation and transferred to The National Archives. When they are no longer required, official records are disposed of by shredding or other appropriate means and paper is recycled where practicable. Retention periods are determined on the basis of business need and guidance issued by The National Archives. Further details can be found at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/recordsmanagement/. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's policy on the storage and disposal of records has not changed in the past 12 months.
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.
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