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Laptop Computers

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many laptop computers have been used by (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) officials in his
 
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Department in each year since 1995; how many have been (i) lost and (ii) stolen in that period; what the cost was of the use of laptops in that period; and if he will make a statement. [4122]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of laptop computers used by Ministers and special advisers since the creation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 29 May 2002 is as follows:
Number

MinistersSpecial advisers
200222
200322
200422
200522

The information requested on the use of laptop computers by officials, and associated costs, in each year since that date is not available centrally in the form requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental records show the following numbers of lost or stolen laptop computers across the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister since 29 May 2002:
Lost
Stolen
MinistersSpecial advisersOfficialsMinistersSpecial advisersOfficials
2002–032
2003–042
2004–052
2005–062(32)1


(32)Recovered


Letting Schemes

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many choice-based lettings schemes have been established by local authorities in England since 2001, broken down by region. [7270]

Yvette Cooper: The following table shows the number of local authorities which indicated that they operate a choice-based lettings scheme as at April 2004. As some authorities are jointly involved in the same choice-based lettings scheme, the figures more accurately represent the number of local authorities which have adopted a choice based lettings approach rather than the number of choice-based lettings schemes in operation.
Number of local authorities involved in a choice-based letting scheme as at April 2004

North East2
North West17
Yorkshire and the Humber5
East Midlands7
West Midlands7
East of England7
London18
South East7
South West8
England78




Source:
ODPM's Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix




 
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Information on choice based letting schemes has been collected since 2002; only the latest figures are shown as previous year's data are not thought to be reliable.

Local Area Agreements

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans the Government have to extend local area agreements to lower-tier authorities. [7438]

Mr. Woolas: Lower-tier authorities are already included in Local Area Agreements (LAAs) in two-tier areas. Whilst county councils lead the development of LAAs, they must work closely with lower-tier authorities in their areas in doing so. Precisely how this engagement takes place is down to local arrangements.

Local Government Finance

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the questionnaire sent to local authorities by his Department on the impact of implementing different variations of local government finance reform. [5589]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has made available in the Library of the House copies of a questionnaire issued to a small selection of local authorities about possible practical and timing issues for Local Authorities and IT suppliers related to council tax revaluation in England. We have also provided a summary of the responses which have been submitted to Lyons.

As the questionnaire makes clear, the list of reform scenarios it contains was a way of exploring some of the technical parameters relating to practical implementation of council tax revaluation. It should not be taken in any sense as an indication of likely reform options.

Lyons Review

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many full-time equivalent employees are employed in relation to the Lyons Review. [4269]

Mr. Woolas: The Lyons Inquiry team comprises 11.9full-time equivalent employees. The efficiency and relocation team, in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, works on both the implications for the Office of the Lyons relocation review as well as the Gershon review. The team has three full-time members of staff and they spend about a third of their time specifically on Lyons relocation review-related work. Other members of staff across the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, including in the regional development group, and in our non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies undertake specific work as necessary.

New Homes

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new homes have been built by each local housing authority that has opted for (a) large scale voluntary transfer, (b) arm's length management organisation and (c) private finance initiative in each year since it did so. [6813]


 
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Yvette Cooper: Most local housing authorities have not built any dwellings following large scale voluntary transfer, except those tabled as follows. Most social housing provision will have been through registered social landlords. Local housing authorities opting for arm length management organisation have reported no subsequent local authority house building. Local authorities with signed Housing Revenue Account private finance initiatives contracts have not reported any subsequent local authority house building.
Local authorities reporting 'local authority' house building following large scale voluntary transfer (dwellings/year)

Number
Chiltern
1989–9025
Cotswold(33)
1997–9817
1998–9917
2000–0120
2002–034
2003–0410
East Lindsey
1999–20001
Hambleton
1996–9716
Hertsmere
1998–991
Kennet
1999–200011
2003–045
Mid Sussex
1991–9232
Ryedale
1995–964
Sevenoaks(33)
1989–90102
1990–9118
1991–9218
1992–936
South Shropshire
1994–956
Vale of White Horse
1995–969


(33)Numbers may include some registered social landlord dwellings due to misclassification.


Pensioner Home Improvements

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whatsteps he has taken to ensure that local authorities adopt appropriate practices for delivering home improvements for pensioners to meet their community safety objectives; and what discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on this subject. [7191]

Mr. Woolas: Under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance)(England and Wales) Order 2002 local authorities were given wide ranging new powers to provide financial assistance to home-owners and others to improve living accommodation. The Office of the
 
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Deputy Prime Minister's circular 05/2003 advised local authorities on how they could be used to align housing renewal policies with wider strategic objectives such as the reduction of crime and antisocial behaviour.

Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 places a duty on named agencies to do all they can to reasonably prevent crime and disorder in their area. The decisions and activities of local bodies and organisations can have an important impact on levels of crime and disorder in communities. In recognition of this, section17 aims to place crime and disorder reduction at the heart of local decision-making and to give it a focus across the wide range of local services that influence and impact on community safety.

Ministers and official in ODPM are in constant touch with colleagues in the Home Office to discuss these important strategic issues and how effective policies can best be delivered.


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