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Mr. Woolas: Officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are currently exploring with officials in the Ministry of Defence whether there is a case for a council tax exemption or discount for service personnel serving abroad.
Mr. Woolas: Figures supplied to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister from billing authorities show that there were approximately 1.647 million hereditaments on the local lists for 200405 producing an estimated revenue of £15,319 millionan average bill of £9,301. There are approximately 1.651 million hereditaments for 200506 producing an estimated revenue of £16,505 million, an average bill of £9,997.
The estimates for 200506 need to be treated with particular caution because they do not reflect the impact of appeals against the new list. The introduction of small business rate relief may also affect their accuracy.
Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to change the funding mechanism for councils whose tenants vote for their housing to remain under both council ownership and direct management.
Anne Main: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department will amend the criteria by which housing provision is calculated to take into account, within the imposed quotas for local authorities, the sub-division of older properties into multiple dwellings; and if he will make a statement. 
Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: "Housing" (PPG3) advises regional planning bodies (RPB) in distributing the level of housing provision between local authorities to take account of, among other factors, the capacity of urban areas to accommodate more housing. RPBs should focus new
23 May 2005 : Column 34W
housing development in areas where previously-developed land is available, or where there are existing dwellings suitable for re-use or buildings suitable for conversion. PPG3 is accompanied by practice guidance, called 'Tapping the Potential', which helps local planning authorities assess urban housing capacity, including the potential from sub-division of existing housing.
The Government are considering changes to PPG3 to make housing provision more responsive to the market. The aim is to consult on an update to PPG3 in the summer. 'Tapping the Potential' will in due course need to be updated to reflect changes in policy.
Yvette Cooper: House price data at a local authority level for England and Wales are available from HM Land Registry and published on an annual basis on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. The latest available annual data are for 2004.
|Gloucestershire||Median price (£)|
|Forest of Dean||148,975|
Yvette Cooper: Current housing targets for the South East are set out in the Government's Regional Planning Guidance for the South East, published in March 2001. The Guidance sets out its vision and key development principles in terms of the Government's four objectives for sustainable development, as set out in its Strategy for Sustainable Development in the UK. These are:
Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is carefully considering over 400 responses which we received to our consultation on a review of political restrictions on local government employees. We intend to publish a summary of responses, and our proposals on next steps, later this year.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. These report information reaching back to 199596. Information for 200405 is currently being assembled and will be published shortly. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was taken in negative subsidy from (a) all housing associations and (b) housing associations in Chesterfield in each of the last two years. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the designation of regional chambers as a regional planning body if the majority of local authorities within the region were to cease to be subscribing members of the regional chamber. 
Yvette Cooper: Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) are designated providing that between 60 per cent. and 70 per cent. of their members are drawn from authorities specified under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, most of whom will be local authorities. Each region decides the composition of its RPB within these constraints. It is for individual regional assemblies designated as the regional planning body to decide whether or not to levy subscriptions on member authorities.
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