Mr. Woolas: The Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 (SI 1992 No. 558) provides that dwellings, including caravans, are exempt from council tax under class C where they have been vacant for a continuous period of up to six months. The usual requirement that to qualify for a class C exemption the dwelling be substantially unfurnished does not however apply in the case of caravans.
Dwellings, including caravans, are exempt from council tax under class G where they are unoccupied and occupation is prohibited by law. The class G exemption does not apply when a caravan or other dwelling is in fact occupied.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether breach of (a) planning regulation, (b) health and safety regulations and (c) building regulations are grounds for deeming occupation of an hereditament to be prohibited for (i) council tax and (ii) business rates liability. 
Mr. Woolas: It is our view that where occupation of a dwelling is prohibited by planning, health and safety regulations but the dwelling is occupied illegally, it will not be exempt and the residents will be liable for council tax.
Similarly, where a hereditament is occupied and liable to business rates, then that liability remains, regardless of whether the premises are occupied in breach of planning regulations, health and safety regulations or building regulations, or not.
London's five-year average (19992000 to 200304) for accidental dwellings fire deaths is 7.2 per million population, 23 per cent. higher than the average for England (5.9), but lower than the floor target of 1.25 times (7.3 deaths).
Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many first-time buyers there have been in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many of these he estimates were returners, who had previously been home owners. 
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department will place in the Vote Office copies of the document published in June entitled High HedgesComplaints: Prevention and Cure", ISBN 1851127879. 
Copies of the document entitled High Hedges Complaints: Prevention and Cure" have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and it is freely available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
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website at www.odpm.gov.uk/treesandhedges. We are happy to provide copies to hon. Members on request and I am arranging for one to be sent to the hon. Gentleman. Against this background, we see no need to place copies in the Vote Office.
Mr. Woolas: We have been working with the Home Office to identify areas where the Identity Cards Scheme could provide business benefits. On 28 June 2005, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary placed in the Library a paper containing the latest estimates of benefits of the Identity Cards Scheme which shows that the benefits outweigh the costs once the scheme is fully operational. The cost of equipping premises will depend on the nature of the use of the Identity Cards Scheme and the type of identity check(s) necessary to deliver the business benefits. In some cases, benefits could be realised without the use of card readers and the cost of installing any readers needs to be considered alongside future plans to refresh or upgrade IT systems. As the design of the scheme matures, during and after the procurement exercise, so will our understanding of where the scheme will be of most benefit which will allow us to further refine our estimates of costs and benefits.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)what representations he has received from county councils on the number of performance criteria to which they are subject; and if he will make a statement; 
We are considering the requirements for the number of targets, indicators and standards for local government as part of our developing work on the performance framework, as set out in the document Securing better outcomes: developing a new performance framework" published in March 2005. This work is being taken forward in the context of our 10 year vision for local government as set out in The future of local government: Developing a 10 year vision" which was published in July 2004.
[holding answer 4 July 2005]: Between 2001 and 2005 the Housing Corporation via the Approved Development Programme spent over £3.7 million in Chorley on the provision of new affordable housing for both rent and low-cost home
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ownership. A total of 53 new social rented homes were completed in Chorley over the same period through grant provided via the Housing Corporation. Chorley borough council spent approximately £0.3 million on improving its own stock.
We announced on 23 June 2005 that following evidence of strong tenant support Chorley is in the 2005 Housing transfer programme. This will ensure the remaining non decent council homes will be made decent by the 2010 deadline.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost of monetary incentives to encourage pupils to pursue post-16 education has been in each year since the incentives were introduced. 
Maria Eagle: Education maintenance allowances (EMAs) are an incentive to encourage young people to stay on in further education post-16. They were piloted from September 1999 in 15 LEA areas, and these pilot areas were extended to include a total of 52 LEAs in September 2000. The scheme was rolled out nationally from September 2004. The costs in each financial year since 1999 have been:
|Expenditure (£ million)