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John McDonnell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the procedure for the determination of planning applications relating to the future development of Heathrow airport (a) runways and (b) terminals. 
Keith Hill: It would be inappropriate for a Minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss an individual planning case because of the appellate function of the First Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister.
Provisions in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase 2004, which are due to commence in May 2005, provide that the Secretary of State, my right. hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, may direct that an application for planning permission or an application for the approval of a local planning authority required under a development order may be referred to him if he thinks the development to which the application relates is of national or regional importance. In such cases an inspector must be appointed to consider the application and make recommendations to the Secretary of State, my right. hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, on such matters relating to the application as are prescribed.
Phil Hope: Information on the number of people currently over the age of 65 employed by local authorities is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Local authorities will recognise for themselves the benefits of recruiting, training and retaining staff of all ages which will help encourage a move towards a more diverse workforce in local government.
The Government have concluded that legislation should set a default retirement age of 65, but also create a right for employees to request working beyond a compulsory retirement age, which employers will have a duty to consider seriously. Provided that they have the consent of their employer, people over the age of 65 will be able to stay in employment. Legislation from 2006 will make unjustified age discrimination in recruitment, training, promotion and dismissal unlawful for workers of all ages.
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's 2004 Autumn Performance report, published in December, provides a comprehensive update on progress against the decent homes public service agreement (PSA) target, and is available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website, at: www.odpm.gov.uk.
Keith Hill: Government planning policies on parking are laid down in Planning Policy Guidance note (PPG) 13 Transport. We want to promote accessibility, the use of public transport, walking and cycling and to reduce the need to travel, especially by private car. The availability of parking is an important factor in people's transport choices, so we encourage local authorities to develop and implement policies on parking that, as part of a package of planning and transport measures, ensure levels of parking provided in association with development will promote sustainable transport choices. There should be no minimum standards for development, other than parking for disabled people, and policies in development plans should set maximum levels of parking for broad classes of development.
PPG13 sets national maximum standards at Annex D for certain classes of use, and local authorities should follow these unless the applicant has demonstrated that a higher level of parking is needed. Primary care centres are not one of the uses where the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has set specific standards but officials have been asked to keep this under review for any future guidance that might be issued.
Keith Hill: The boards are non-statutory bodies comprising representatives of organisations with a key role in the delivery of sustainable communities, brought together at the request of Ministers to take a complementary, strategic approach towards addressing regional and national housing priorities. Ministers have asked each to produce a Regional Housing Strategy (integrated with their region's planning and economic strategies), and to advise on the allocation of funds to support housing capital investment to address the priorities identified in the strategy.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects local authorities to comply with the guidance on stock options appraisals, which is to submit proposals for sign-off by the end of July 2005.
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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will replace his Housing Action Task Force with a task force to help and advise those councils which decide to retain their housing stock; 
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is discussing with Government Offices how best to provide this support, including the role of the Community Housing Task Force. We have no plans to disband the Task Force.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many affordable housing units there were in the schemes rejected by his Department in June 2003 for funding through transitional local authority social housing grant. 
Keith Hill: The Housing Corporation ran a competitive bidding round which closed in June 2003 for funding through the transitional local authority social housing grant arrangements. The Corporation, in consultation with Government Offices, assessed the submitted bids. Results were announced in October 2003: those bids that were not successful comprised some 4500 dwellings.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2005, Official Report, column 902W, on social housing (right to buy), for what reasons his Department estimates that receipts from right to buy sales will decline between 200304 and 200708. 
Keith Hill: The Government's announcement in January 2003 that they intended to modify the right to buy scheme led initially to higher sales. They expect sales to revert to longer-term trend levels over the next few years.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the reasons are for the change in the number of affordable housing units expected to be built over the 200304 to 200506 period with transitional local authority social housing grant since the written answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 345W to the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond); 
(2) if he will release further transitional local authority social housing grant funding to ensure that his Department delivers the 14,000 affordable housing units referred to in the written answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 345W to the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond). 
The number of homes expected to be provided in the 200304 to 200506 period with transitional local authority social housing grant was based on all approved schemes completing. Some
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schemes are not coming to fruition due to planning difficulties or because they have subsequently failed to meet the criteria set. Some of these have received funding through the Approved Development Programme (ADP). The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to extend the transitional arrangements for local authority social housing grant beyond 200506.
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