|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hands: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what Government policy is on local authorities providing an opportunity for councillors to ask questions of executive members at public meetings of the full council. 
Mr. Woolas: The Local Government Act 2000 provides significant flexibility for local authorities to draw up their constitutions, in which they may include provision for councillors to ask questions of executive members at public meetings of the full council. It is for each local authority to decide whether, and how, they provide for this.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average change in total Government grant per capita for (a) district councils, (b) county councils, (c) metropolitan councils, (d) unitary councils, (e) London boroughs, (f) fire authorities and (g) police authorities was in England in each year since 1997. 
|London (excluding GLA)||6.0||6.7||4.4||4.7||12.3||2.4|
Changes between years may not be valid due to changing local authority responsibilities. For example, the decrease for fire authorities between 200304 and 200405 is due partly to the lower levels of grant per capita received by combined fire authorities compared with other fire authorities. Before 200405 grants were not paid directly to combined fire authorities and so these were not included in the figures for earlier years.
Yvette Cooper: Ministers are currently considering six proposals for motorway service areas at Great Hazes, Great Wood and Junction 8/9 on the M4, New Barn Farm on the M25, and Mount Hill Farm and Burtley Wood on the M40.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The car park adjacent to the Dome is owned by London Underground and is currently largely used by commuters. The former coach park is now the site of the Beckham Academy. Only the former kiss and drop" car park (for setting down passengers), once used by the New Millennium Experience Company is owned by English Partnerships and this will form part of the Dome's initial car parking.
Tom Levitt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what contribution to the cost of participation in local government schemes and services came from equity release or other property-based loans to service users, in (a) absolute and (b) percentage terms, in the latest period for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of how this proportion will change over the next 10 years. 
Mr. Woolas: Under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 local authorities have wide discretionary powers to provide assistance to homeowners and tenants to repair, improve and adapt their homesincluding for example, equity release loans.
Since then there has been a slow switch from local authorities offering renovation grants to loans including equity release packages. The latest figures available
27 Jun 2005 : Column 1318W
show that authorities made available £1.2 million in loans for this purpose in 200304 (0.5 per cent. of total assistance given) and planned to increase this to £8.8 million in 200405 (2.7 per cent.). This compares with a total level of housing renewal assistance (grants and loans for home improvement) made available by local authorities of £256 million in 200304, increasing to a planned level of £325 million for 2004/05. Separate figures on the proportion of loans offered as equity release are not currently available.
Local authority's use of their new powers has been monitored through a research project sponsored jointly between the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and undertaken by the Centre of Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham. The final report of this study is expected to be published shortly. The preliminary conclusions of it are that the switch from grants to loans is proceeding at a relatively slow pace but that the majority of local authorities are now actively considering such a change.
Yvette Cooper: Research commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) into the exploitation of the Right to Buy scheme by companies revealed that around 2,000 properties sold under the Right to Buy in Inner London from 2000 onwards were by 2003 privately rented. A summary of the findings and the research report itself were published early in 2003, and are available from the ODPM website at: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_housing/documents/page/odpm_house _609025.hcsp.
Section 187 of the Housing Act 2004 tackles exploitation by companies by providing that an agreement made by a tenant within a specified time to sell on to a company a property purchased under the Right to Buy scheme will require the tenant to repay some or all of the discount s/he received. This provision came into effect on 18 January 2005.
Most advertisements on land directly facing motorways and major roads require the express consent from the relevant local planning authority as well as prior permission from the landowner before they may be displayed lawfully. When considering whether an advertisement should be allowed to be displayed, the local planning authority must consider amenity and public safety aspects on a site-specific basis.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|