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14 Jun 2005 : Column 274W—continued

Green Belt

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers (a) the Greater London Authority and (b) the regional chambers, have to create, amend, review or delete green belt designation. [4285]

Yvette Cooper: The creation, amendment, review or deletion of green belts is undertaken through the statutory development plan process, in accordance with the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Any proposals to establish new green belts, or to change the general extent of existing green belts, should be considered as part of a review of the regional spatial strategy, or the London Plan, in the first instance. Detailed boundary changes would be made by local planning authorities through the preparation and review of local development frameworks.

House Building

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the requirement is for the number of houses to be built in Tamworth in each of the next 10 years. [3338]

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Yvette Cooper: The requirement for housing is currently being considered through the Local Plan process. It would therefore be prejudicial to the proper planning process to pre-empt these considerations.

The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the West Midlands does not currently provide housing requirements at district level. The West Midlands Regional Assembly is currently undertaking technical work which will deliver district level requirements through a future review of the RSS. In the meantime Tamworth borough council is currently completing its Local Plan and has considered relevant advice in relation to the level of housing requirements. The Local Plan process is nearing the conclusion of its statutory process and we would expect annual requirements to be confirmed by spring 2006.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of new build housing in Kettering borough up to 2021 he expects will take place on greenfield land. [4168]

Yvette Cooper: The Milton Keynes and South Midlands Sub-Regional Strategy, published on 17 March 2005, does not set targets for the proportion of greenfield land to be used for housing. This issue will be considered by Kettering borough council and the North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit when producing Local Development Document. However, a main aim of achieving Sustainable Communities in the sub-region, as stated in Strategic Policy 3 of the strategy, will be to maximise the contribution of 'previously developed land'.

Local Government

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on local government pensions; and what plans he has to tackle deficits in local government pension funds. [2926]

Mr. Woolas: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and I last met with the chairman of the Local Government Association at the first meeting of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) tripartite committee which was held on 24 May.

The setting up of this committee was announced by my right hon. Friend on 18 March. It is chaired by my right hon. Friend, and includes representatives of local authority employers and trades unions. It will focus on the development and modernisation of the scheme, involving the local authority employers and trade unions who have an interest in its future and will consider what measures need to be put in place to ensure the scheme's affordability and sustainability. We want to ensure that local authority employees have a stable, strong pension scheme in which they have confidence. It is important that the balance is right between, on the one hand, the cost of the scheme to the taxpayer, and on the other hand, the value of the benefits which the scheme offers to current and future pensioners.

Following the 31 March 2004 LGPS actuarial valuation exercise, the actuaries appointed by each of the funds in England and Wales have set employer contribution rates, with effect from 1 April 2005, so as to ensure the ongoing solvency of individual funds as
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required by the LGPS Regulations 1997. This exercise took account of each funds' funding strategy statement which sets out the deficit recovery period over which their liabilities are to be prudently managed.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when the review of the Local Government Standards Board is expected to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the progress of the review. [3814]

Mr. Woolas: It is expected that the review by the Standards Board for England of the code of conduct for local authority members will be concluded this autumn, following the end of the board's consultation exercise on 17 June. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will consider carefully any recommendations the board may make following its review.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total cost of the Local Government Standards Board was in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [3817]

Mr. Woolas: The information requested is tabled as follows:
£ million

Grant paid to the Standards Board for England

(12) Expected.

These figures represent the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's annual funding to the Standards Board. Grant funding enables the board and the Adjudication Panel to undertake the full range of their responsibilities, including the investigation by board officials of allegations of misconduct by local authority members, the issuing of guidance to authorities on conduct issues and the determination of cases by tribunals of Adjudication Panel members.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the daily fee paid to adjudicators sitting on a Local Government Standards Board adjudication panel is; whether there is a fee for preparatory 'reading in' work on a case; when the fees were last reviewed; when they are next expected to be reviewed; and if he will make a statement. [3819]

Mr. Woolas: The current daily fees payable to members of the Adjudication Panel for England are shown in the following table:

Daily fee from 1 April 2005
President of the Adjudication Panel452
Legal members of the Adjudication Panel379
Lay members of the Adjudication Panel175
Fee for cancellation of tribunal date58

The fees were last reviewed with effect from 1 April 2005, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister currently expects them to be reviewed again next year. No fee in addition to the daily fees listed above is payable.
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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many of the cases disposed of directly by the Local Government Standards Board (a) were not investigated, (b) had no evidence of a breach of the code and (c) resulted in no action being required in respect of the matters under investigation in each of the last three years. [3897]

Mr. Woolas: This information is shown in the following table:
Not referred for investigation1,6892,1443,029
Investigations producing finding of no evidence of a breach of the code113154310
Investigations producing finding that no action is required in respect of the matters under investigation225462947

Local Strategic Partnerships

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Government's policy is on hon. Members being members of local strategic partnerships. [2645]

Mr. Woolas: The membership, structure and size of a Local Strategic Partnership (LSPs) should reflect both their aims and the breath of issues that fall within their scope. The precise membership of any partnership will depend on local circumstances and priorities. It is up to the LSP to decide who their members should be but LSP will only be effective if their core membership includes the public, private, community and voluntary sector.

London Housing Board

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria he used in making the decision to over-rule the London Housing Board's recommendation on investment allocations in 2004 to 2006 [3945]

Yvette Cooper: Regional Housing Board recommendations on allocations for 2004–05 and 2005–06 were largely accepted in full. However the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister made changes for London, East of England and the South East to the balance of funding for different types of affordable housing. This was done in order to ensure sufficient investment in key worker housing in the three years to 2005–06.

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