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5 Jul 2005 : Column 315W—continued

Local Government Finance

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the level of cash reserves is in each London borough. [8210]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The level of cash backed reserves split by revenue reserves and accumulated capital receipts in each London borough at 1 April 2005 is shown in the following table.
Level of cash backed reserves split by revenue reserves and accumulated capital receipts in each London borough at1 April 2005

Revenue reservesAccumulated capital receiptsTotal
Barking and Dagenham40,39098,752139,142
City of London125,36959,460184,829
Hammersmith and Fulham46,8032,95949,762
Kensington and Chelsea113,858182114,040
Kingston upon Thames14,7621,53316,295
Richmond upon Thames37,08211,28648,368
Tower Hamlets76,0009,00085,000
Waltham Forest28,6287,04035,668

ODPM Revenue Account (RA) Budget returns 2005–06
ODPM Capital Estimates Return (CER) 2005–06

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Merseyside Market Renewals

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost has been in fees paid for assessing local views in the three market renewal areas of Merseyside; which firms were involved; in which areas they operated; and what fees have been paid to each. [7078]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mobile Phone Masts/Technology

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what restrictions there are on the erection of mobile phone masts in close proximity to schools. [6022]

Yvette Cooper: Mobile phone mast and base station developments near schools are subject to the normal planning regulations in place throughout England, unless exempted by the regulations set out in part 24 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO). The planning arrangements for telecommunications developments were significantly strengthened in 2001 and include improved requirements for consulting local people about mast proposals. The changes to the GPDO were underpinned by revised guidance, set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 8, Telecommunications. The changes to the planning guidance also underlined that school governors must be consulted on all proposals for new masts on or near a school or college.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will restrict the number of phone masts which are permitted to be erected in a particular area. [7300]

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Yvette Cooper: Government policy, set out in planning policy guidance note 8 on Telecommunications, states the importance of keeping the numbers of radio and telecommunications masts and of the sites for such installations to the minimum consistent with the efficient operation of the network.

Parliament has given local planning authorities the responsibility for development control in their areas. The Secretary of State does not seek to interfere with the jurisdiction of local planning authorities unless it is necessary to do so.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what topics will be covered by the research commissioned by his Department into the future direction of mobile phone technology; what the timetable for the research is including (a) the date on which the research was commissioned, (b) when the research commenced, (c) what interim reports will be submitted, (d) when the research findings and recommendations will be submitted to Ministers and (e) when and how the research will be made public; what the estimated cost of research is; and who is conducting the research. [8082]

Yvette Cooper: On 4 April I announced the Government's intention to commission further research to identify the future direction of mobile phone technology and the future need for mast developments. Officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have discussed these research proposals with other departments and research institutions and are currently preparing a specification. These studies form part of a wider programme of work around planning arrangements for telecommunication masts.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the Government have made of the number of 3G mobile phone masts that will be erected to provide service for the new 3G licences. [5582]

Yvette Cooper: There are approximately 45,000 base stations across the country at present for all mobile phone network operators, this includes 2G and 3G networks. The licences to operate 3G networks require that 80 per cent. of the population will have access to the network by the end of 2007. The mobile phone operators have estimated that in total 50,000 base stations will be required.

Planning Appeals (London)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will set out for each of the last five years for each London borough the number of planning appeals (a) for non-determination by the planning authority and (b) against a refusal that were (i) determined by written representations and (ii) determined by public inquiry setting out how many in each case were (A) granted permission and (B) not granted permission. [8081]

Yvette Cooper: The tables which give the information requested have been made available in the Libraries of the House. Please note that any London borough not appearing in a table did not have any planning appeal decisions issued in that particular financial year determined by written representation or public inquiry procedure, as appropriate.
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Social Housing

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many social homes in each local authority in England did not meet the Decent Homes Standard (a) in 1997, (b) in 2001 and (c) on the latest date for which figures are available; how much has been spent on improvements; and what the estimated cost is of bringing all remaining social homes up to the standard. [7142]

Yvette Cooper: Local authorities have provided information about the number of homes they own that do not meet the standard as part of their Business Plan Statistical Appendix Annual Monitoring Form since 2001. These are available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at:

Registered social landlords have provided information on the number of homes they own that do not meet the standard in Part Q of their annual Regulatory Survey Returns since 2002, although it was not mandatory to provide this information until 2003. These are available on the RSR website at:

Since 1997, £21 billion has been spent on improvements to social sector stock, and we estimate that this will have increased to £42 billion by 2010.

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average cost per household in England was of social housing rent in the last year for which figures are available. [8998]

Yvette Cooper: The average weekly social rent in England in April 2004 was £55.05.

Special Advisers

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list (a) the special advisers in his Department, (b) their specific areas of expertise and (c) the total cost of employing them in the latest year for which figures are available. [8819]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 4 July 2005, Official Report, column 36W.

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