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20 Jun 2005 : Column 832W—continued

Land Stabilisation Programme

Mr. Cox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the future funding of the Land Stabilisation Programme administered by English Partnerships; and what assessment he has made of the implications of this funding for the programme's ongoing projects, with particular reference to those in Horrabridge and Tavistock, West Devon. [4177]

Yvette Cooper: The Land Stabilisation Programme is currently under review and an announcement regarding its future is expected in autumn 2005.

The English Partnerships' (EP) Business Plan has been set for the four years 2005–06 to 2008–09 and within that an annual allocation has been made for Land Stabilisation Programme funding to continue for projects that have an existing approval or where an approval is currently in the process of being completed. Where a project comes to EP in the future with a sufficiently high risk rating and no other options are available to tackle the problem, a re-evaluation exercise will have to be undertaken to determine how such a project could be accommodated into LSP.

A report on the investigations into Horrabridge is due to be published in June which will help inform the ongoing discussions with West Devon borough council and the owner.

Drake Gardens has a higher level of risk placed upon it by the geo-technical consultants acting for the council and West Devon Homes (RSL) with 12 properties are highlighted as being at risk of collapse. West Devon borough council monitoring does not show any progressive movement in any of the houses. The council has applied for LSP funding assessed at £53,000 to complete the site investigations undertaken and paid for so far by the council, two private owners and West Devon Homes. A redevelopment proposal for the 12 properties has been proposed by the council that it is hoped will cover the ground remediation costs and English Partnerships are in discussion with the council regarding this proposal.

Leisure Facilities (Brent)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment the Audit Commission has made of leisure facilities in Brent. [2509]

Mr. Woolas: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission. I will ask the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member and to ensure the answer is made available in the Library the House.
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Letter from Steve Bundred to Sarah Teather, dated 8 June 2005:

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Local Government

David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities, including the time of officers, of hosting, preparing for and following up inspections and reviews by bodies for which his Department is responsible in the 2004–05 financial year; what evaluation procedures the Government have to assess the effectiveness of those bodies in bringing about improvement in local government services; and what steps are taken to ensure that the remits of those organisations do not (a) overlap and (b) conflict. [5367]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for sponsorship of the Audit Commission, which undertakes inspection of local authority services and inspection by its Housing Inspectorate of registered social landlords. There are no agreed or reliable figures to calculate the indirect costs of inspection to local government (i.e. staff time).

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 406W, how many representations he has received from local councils advocating (a) local government restructuring and (b) unitary local government subsequent to the result of the north east regional referendum. [4516]

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Mr. Woolas: Since November last year we have received a number of representations from local government covering a range of views from, on the one hand, advocating the establishment of unitary authorities, to others favouring the status quo.

David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will list the organisations for which his Department is responsible which (a) inspect, (b) review, (c) train and (d) support local authorities; how much financial support each received from central government funds in the 2004–05 financial year; how much each raised in fees and charges from local authorities in that year; how many staff each employed (i) directly and (ii) as consultants in each year; and what proportion of those staff normally work on-site in local authorities; [5532]

(2) if he will list the organisations financially supported by his Department in the 2004–05 financial year which (a) inspect, (b) review, (c) train, (d) support and (e) represent local authorities; and how much financial support each received from his Department in that year. [5533]

Mr. Woolas: A number of bodies which provide services for local authorities are specified by the Secretary of State to receive funding from the Revenue Support Grant. Details of these bodies and their RSG funding for 2004–05 are tabled as follows:
RSG funding
Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government21,097,000
Employers' Organisation for Local Government11,763,000
The Fire Services Examination Board488,000
The National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales1,311,000
The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education694,000
The Local Government International Bureau1,666,000
The Local Authorities Co-ordinating body on Food and Trading Standards1,755,000
Public Private Partnerships Programme2,947,000
National Youth Agency1,461,000
The Commission for Local Administration in England11,058,000

In addition, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is responsible for the sponsorship of the Audit Commission, which has a statutory responsibility to regulate the audit of local government and NHS bodies in England, to carry out inspections of best value authorities and to assess the performance of local authorities. These responsibilities extended to Wales for the year ended 31 March 2005.

In respect of its local Government activities, the Commission received the following financial support from central Government in 2004–05:
£ million
Welsh Assembly Government1.6

ODPM is also responsible for and financially supports other organisations, which are occasionally involved in
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supporting and representing local authorities' interests. We do not have reliable information on whether these organisations engaged in local authority interests for the 2004–05 period. To gather such information would be at a disproportionate cost.

Mr. Walker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new homes are forecast to be built in Hertfordshire in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008, (e) 2009, (f) 2010 and (g) 2011; and if he will make a statement. [3218]

Yvette Cooper: The Hertfordshire structure plan sets an annual average of 3,250 new homes in the period to 2011. The average rate achieved during the period 2001 to 2004 was 3,125. The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the east of England is currently under review and will set out future plans for new homes in Hertfordshire. It is expected that the RSS will be published around the end of 2006.

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