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Officials within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister completed the collation of over 400 separate responses to the Part L consultation in
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December and are considering the issues raised in conjunction with the Building Regulations Advisory Committee. As yet no conclusions have been reached.
Mr. Horam: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whatrepresentations he has received relating to the consultation on amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations on (a) the number of surveyors required to issue annual certificates and (b) the training required to implement these amendments. 
Phil Hope: The consultation included proposals for implementing the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive as well as amending Part L. It is the Directive that calls for the engagement of surveyors to issue certificates but there is no requirement for these to be annual. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received some representations in response to the consultation on the numbers of surveyors that may be needed and the means for training them and has just received a comprehensive report from industry and others addressing the issues.
Mr. Horam: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received urging for a delay in the implementation of revised building energy standards; what main reasons were given for the need for such a delay; and if he will make a statement. 
Phil Hope: During the consultation on amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations and implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive we received some representations for deferring revised building energy standards citing this would allow more time for training resulting in better levels of compliance. Mindful of the need to implement the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive by 4 January 2006 we are considering how best to handle this and are progressing a project to develop better guidance, dissemination and training to improve compliance.
Mr. Horam: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether in preparing the fuel cost data for amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations he took account of recent variations in domestic energy prices; and whether he plans to make regular future updates of such data. 
Phil Hope: The fuel cost data used in the draft RIA published in July 2004 as part of the consultation on the proposed amendments of Part L of the Building Regulations were based on published data that did not take recent variations into account. The final RIA to be published when the amendments are laid will be based on 2005 data. The fuel cost data used is reviewed at intervals of between three and five years.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) rateable value thresholds, (b) rate relief levels and (c) multipliers operated (i) before and (ii) after the business rate revaluation. 
|Former agricultural premises||6,000||7,000|
|Petrol filling stations and public houses||9,000||10,500|
|LAs discretionary relief||12,000||14,000|
For the purposes of the transitional arrangements, a small property is defined as properties with a rateable value less than £12,000 outside London and £18,000 inside London. For 2000506 this was increased to £15,000 outside London and £21,500 inside London. The thresholds were raised in line with the overall increase in rateable values resulting from the revaluation.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost of the enhanced early retirement scheme for civil servants in his Department and its agencies was in each year from 199798 to 200304 and what the estimated cost will be in each year from 200405 to 200708; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister includes the cost of early departures in its published Resource Accounts. Figures for years up to and including 200304 are therefore accessible from these accounts. Guidance on the accounting treatment of early departure costs can be found in sections 4.6 and 15.7 of the Treasury's (published) Resource Accounting Manual. Future years budgets are currently being considered in business planning.
The Government contributes towards 60 per cent. of local authority expenditure on disabled facilities grants (DFG) up to the limit of the allocation
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made to the authority at the beginning of the financial year, with the remaining 40 per cent. being met from elsewhere in local authorities' budgets.
Mr. Raynsford: The Lancashire fire and rescue service operates under the direction of a fire and rescue authority made up of elected councillors from Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. There are no plans to change these arrangements.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions have taken place in each region between fire,
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ambulance and police services on how they will co-operate in the eventuality of regional control centres being set up for the fire service. 
Mr. Raynsford: Cooperation between the emergency services, both at strategic level and at operational level, will be unaffected by the introduction of regional control centres. Existing channels for communications between emergency service control rooms will continue to be used. In addition, the three emergency services, defined as category 1 responders under the Civil Contingencies Act, have duties placed on them to co-operate with each other and other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency.
Keith Hill: The available information on empty residential dwellings in Greater London boroughs is tabled as follows. This data has been provided from a combination of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Housing Investment Programme return and Housing Corporation's Regulatory and Statistical return.
|Barking and Dagenham||1,509||1,727||2,005||2,172||1,329||1,117||775||656|
|City of London||32||22||(28)||(28)||31||32||75||40|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||4,108||4,026||3,710||4,138||4,557||4,141||3,191||2,180|
|Kensington and Chelsea||8,387||(28)||1,655||1,715||6,067||6,040||6,025||5,978|
|Kingston upon Thames||(28)||(28)||(28)||1,152||(28)||(28)||(28)||(28)|
|Richmond upon Thames||2,420||1,714||1,600||1,629||1,757||1,947||1,953||687|
Keith Hill: The following table shows amounts of land from the national land use database of previously-developed land. The information was collected from local authorities in 1998 and annually from 2001. Some London boroughs did not provide information in one or more years.
| Vacant land and buildings||Derelict land and buildings|
|Barking and Dagenham||7||46||45||n/a||19||89||86||n/a|
|City of London||1||1||n/a||(29)||1||1||n/a||(29)|
|City of Westminster||14||n/a||9||5||3||n/a||(29)||(29)|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||3||16||14||(29)||32||n/a||(29)||(29)|
|Kensington and Chelsea||1||n/a||(29)||n/a||4||n/a||4||n/a|
|Kingston upon Thames||7||1||n/a||3||(29)||n/a||n/a||(29)|
|Richmond upon Thames||7||n/a||30||n/a||1||n/a||2||n/a|
Keith Hill: Council tenants enjoy a number of robust individual and collective rights which are protected through the legislative and regulatory framework. These statutory rights were introduced under the Housing Act 1980 and subsequent housing legislation. Although there has been no specific strengthening of these rights since 1997, the Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information Act do confer additional powers for all sections of society, including council tenants.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was received by Sefton in 200304 to help fund housing related services for vulnerable people through the Supporting People" programme. 
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