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6 Jun 2005 : Column 395W—continued

Firelink Procurement Competition

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what consultation has been undertaken with (a) individual fire and rescue authorities, (b) fire brigades and (c) the Fire Brigades Union to ascertain their preferred solution to the Firelink procurement competition. [2147]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The specification for suppliers to compete for the Firelink contract was developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders including Fire and Rescue Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales represented on the Firelink Principal Users Group and Technical Users Group. It is these representative groups that have been involved in the bid evaluation process. The Firelink Project Board, whose membership includes Fire and Rescue Authorities and the FBU, has overseen the Firelink project and will be consulted before any recommendation is made.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what evaluation has been carried out of the number of additional masts that would be required by the two bids for the Firelink procurement competition; and whether this will be taken into account in determining the outcome of the competition. [2148]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The evaluation process leading to the selection of a successful bidder for the Firelink contract will take into account any need for additional masts. Due to the ongoing nature of the competition; it is not possible to provide details of any such evaluation.
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Government Offices for the Regions

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the estimated (a) total expenditure and (b) administrative costs of each Government office for the region in England in (i) 1996–97 and (ii) 2005–06. [1105]

Yvette Cooper: The information is as follows.

(a) Programme budgets administered by the Government offices (GO) are the responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the relevant sponsor Departments. Prior to the formation of the Regional Co-ordination Unit (RCU) in 2000, details of Government office programme expenditure were not collated on a consistent basis. The RCU now compiles overall figures based on information produced for GO annual reports after the financial year has ended. The latest figures available are for 2003–04.
Programme spend managed or influenced by Government offices

2003–04£ billion
North East0.760
North West1.541
Yorkshire and Humber0.868
West Midlands1.185
East Midlands0.552
South East0.742
South West0.472

(b) The administrative costs of each government office for the two years in question are as follows:

Government office1996–972005–06
North East8,687.1512,250.32
North West(44)14,189.0417,381.83
Yorkshire and Humber8,765.0412,924.53
West Midlands10,040.3713,641.12
East Midlands6,616.6711,844.17
South East8,406.1814,398.28
South West7,140.7414,239.00
London (includes RCU admin. costs)15,802.8121,574.00

(44)North West and Merseyside were separate regions until 1998—though the combined figures are shown under North West for 1996–97

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans the Government have to facilitate the production of (a) regional health strategies, (b) regional social strategies and (c) regional environmental strategies in each Government Office Region. [1116]

Yvette Cooper: The Government are committed to the regional tier where it adds value to the social, environmental and economic well being of their areas. There are already a number of regional strategies which, taken together, impact positively on regional health, social and environmental issues. In our manifesto we committed to

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and we shall bring forward plans to deliver this commitment.

Green Belt

Mr. Walker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much of Hertfordshire's green belt has been released for development in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [841]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 25 May 2005]: The following table sets out the amount of development that took place in the Green Belt in Hertfordshire for each year from 1997 to 2003, a total of 312 Hectares as compared to 81 Hectares for the period 1990 to 1996. 2003 is the latest date for which figures are available. Over half of this development occurred on previously developed land, while the majority of development between 1990 and 1997 took place on previously developed land.
Change of use of green belt land to developed from 1997 to 2003 in Hertfordshire

Hectares (figures rounded)

ODPM LUCS database

Over the same period there was a net change of 50hectares of land removed from the Green Belt in Hertfordshire, leaving a total of 83,610 hectares of Green Belt in the county as a whole. 19,300 hectares of land were added to the Green Belt in England as a whole over the same period.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what Green Belt designations the Government Offices of the Regions have consented to be (a) reduced and (b) deleted, since 1997. [1095]

Yvette Cooper: On 16 September 2004 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) published a Statistical Release entitled, Local Planning Authority Green Belt Statistics, England 2003", which presents figures on thearea of designated Green Belt in 2003. Table 2 of Annex 1 to the Release shows the recorded changes in area, including reductions, between 1997 and 2003, for regionally-listed, individual local planning authorities. No designated Green Belts were deleted during this period.

The changes to designated Green Belt boundaries have been recorded only for authorities that have adopted new development plans since 1997. The statistics do not, therefore, include changes which may have been proposed to the extent of Green Belt in provisional, draft deposit plans, and which are still going through their statutory approval process.

A copy of the Statistical Release is available in the Library of the House. It also appears on the ODPM website at:
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The Government expect to publish updated figures on the extent of, and changes to, the Green Belt in the autumn.

High Hedges

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what he expects will be the maximum fees chargeable by local councils to handle complaints under the high hedges provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003; and if he will make a statement. [682]

Yvette Cooper: The high hedges provisions of the 2003 Act came into effect in England on 1 June 2005. The Act allows local councils to charge a fee for determining a complaint. The Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans, at present, to use his powers to prescribe a maximum fee. Each council will be free, therefore, to charge for this service as it thinks fit.

Home Ownership

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people (a) owned their property outright and (b) were owner-occupiers with a mortgage in (i) England and (ii) the UK in each year since 1979. [1103]

Yvette Cooper: The numbers of owner-occupiers who (a) owned their homes outright or (b) were paying off a mortgage are shown in the following table for both England and the UK. Annual figures are shown from 1991 to 2004 and for selected years prior to 1991.
Thousands of households

United Kingdom
Owned outrightBuying with a mortgageOwned outrightBuying with a mortgage

1981: DOE Labour Force Survey Housing Trailer
1984, 1988 and 1991 to 2004: ONS Labour Force Survey

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