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Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister works with English Heritage, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and other relevant bodies to provide guidance to the housing market renewal pathfinders and other major regeneration initiatives to ensure that historic character and local distinctiveness are used as positive drivers for regeneration and renewal both nationally and in the City of Liverpool.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from (a) people and (b) organisations in Kent about the introduction of regional control rooms for the Fire Service. 
Mr. Raynsford: Four representations have been received from people and organisations in Kent regarding regional control centretwo from MPs, one from Kent Fire and Rescue Service and one from a member of the public.
Mr. John Taylor:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on progress in implementation of the high hedges provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003; when constituents will be able to take relevant complaints to their local
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authority; and when his Department will issue guidelines to local authorities on implementation of the provision. 
Phil Hope: In the light of responses to the consultation that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister conducted on implementing Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, we are currently revising the Regulations and guidance for local authorities. We intend to issue the guidance at the same time as we lay the Regulations before Parliament. We expect the provisions to be fully operational early in 2005, at which point people will be able to make a complaint to their local authority about a neighbouring high hedge.
Keith Hill: The working party last met on 16 May 2003. It is to be reconstituted, with a smaller membership and tighter focus, under the chairmanship of LEASE. LEASE's aim is for the first meeting of the new working party to be held in the first quarter of 2005.
Keith Hill: A new work programme will be discussed at the first meeting of the reconstituted working party. This is expected to include leasehold management and strategic issues relating to Right to Buy.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice his Department has issued on (a) the groups of local authority leaseholders who should not be recharged their full share of the cost of capital works on their blocks and (b) the loan and repayment options that should be made available to local authority leaseholders re-charged for their share of the cost of capital works on their blocks. 
In February 1997, the then Department of the Environment issued the Social Landlords Discretionary Reduction of Service Charges (England) Directions 1997 and the Social Landlords Mandatory Reduction of Service Charges (England) Directions 1997. These allow, and in specified circumstances require, local authorities and other social landlords to reduce service charges levied on owners of leasehold flats for repairs, maintenance and improvement carried out to their homes. Guidance to local authorities and other social landlords on reducing service charges to their leaseholders was issued at the same time. Copies of the Directions and the guidance note have been placed in the Library of the House.
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The Department issued the Housing (Service Charge Loans) Regulations 1992 giving tenants of flats a right to a loan in respect of service charges for repairs, where the lease was granted under the Right to Buy scheme. The repayment periods for the amounts secured by loans are included in the Regulations. The Regulations were amended by the Housing (Service Charge Loans) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2000. These allowed local authorities to set their own interest rates for discretionary loans. Copies of both sets of Regulations have been placed in the Library of the House. The information booklets for tenants: "Your right to buy your home" and "Thinking of buying a council flat?" published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and its predecessors both refer to the right to a loan.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his Department's expenditure on the (a) Comprehensive Performance Assessment and (b) Best Value regime was in the most recent year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) Resources devoted to supporting the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) process in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 200304 included staff within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister working directly on CPA, as well as a proportion of the time of staff across a wide range of other policy areas, and those at senior level, including Ministers with responsibility for local government policy. The total costs of the process will also have included a proportion of those relating to building, heating, lighting and computer equipment as well as stationery, postage and attending and arranging meetings and other events.
Grant to the 41 best value parish councils to help them meet the cost of complying with their best value duties for 200304 and 200203. Principal local authorities also receive support for statutory responsibilities, including best value. However, it is not possible to provide a figure for this support, as the majority of it is provided through formula grant which is unhypothecated to a particular service.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the local authorities whose request to be included within the scope of the Housing (Right to Buy) (Limits
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on Discount) (Amendments) Order 2003 (Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 498) was rejected; and if he will make a statement. 
Keith Hill: On 22 January 2003, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced that he was minded to lower to £16,000 the prescribed maximum Right to Buy discount limits in 42 areas which appeared to him to be subject to the greatest housing market pressures. He rejected the requests of the following 12 local authorities, that maximum discounts should also be lowered in their areas:
My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister accepted that there were housing pressures in these areas, but was not persuaded at that time that these justified lowering the maximum Right to Buy discounts available to tenants. The authorities were informed by letters dated 6 March 2003.
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