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19 Jul 2005 : Column 1542W—continued


David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 June 2005, Official Report, column 1146W, on taxis, what estimate he has made of the cost of providing the information requested. [12690]

Mr. Touhig: The general procedure in the Ministry of Defence is that taxi fares are paid by the hirers and reclaimed from the Department, often combined with other elements of travelling and subsistence claims. The costs of taxi fares are not collected centrally or recorded
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separately once claims are authorised for payment. Providing the information would therefore entail personal analyses of claims by every serviceman and civil servant. Receipts are only required to be retained for three years after the end of the financial year in which claims are made, and information would not be obtainable from personnel who have left the services or Department.

I do not consider this a practicable exercise, and it is therefore unrealistic to attempt to estimate the very considerable cost of mounting it.

Territorial Army (Chorley)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the (a) role and (b) use made of the Territorial Army barracks at Chorley. [12160]

Mr. Touhig: Chorley TA Centre is home to: Chorley Detachment of 5 General Support (GS) Medical Regiment (Volunteer); 29 Company Detachment of 3 (Volunteer) Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion; Chorley Detachment Army Cadet Force; and Salerno Company Headquarters of Lancashire Army Cadet Force. In total these units generally use the TA centre three evenings per week and weekends to train personnel.

Troop Redeployment

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the redeployment of UK troops from (a) Iraq, (b) Afghanistan and (c) the UK or elsewhere to Iran; and under what circumstances he might consider such action in future. [12193]

Mr. Ingram: We have not considered, nor do we have any plans to redeploy troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, the UK or elsewhere to Iran.

Wormwood Scrubs

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 28 June 2005, Official Report, column 1402W on Wormwood Scrubs, whether development proposals include traffic management schemes. [11276]

Mr. Touhig: The London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is obliged to consult the Ministry of Defence under the provisions of the Wormwood Scrubs Act 1879 on development proposals on Wormwood Scrubs. Development proposals are defined in Section 4 of the Act as

The definition covers all but the most minor of works. Therefore the requirement for this Department's approval would depend on the nature of any works needed under a proposed traffic management scheme.

I have previously referred to a related agreement in the form of a Memorandum of Agreement dated 1 October 1980. This is relevant as it sets out the management arrangements in respect of Wormwood Scrubs between the Secretary of State for Defence and
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the Council and further defines under what circumstances this Department's approval is required. The pertinent section of the 1980 agreement states:

Public roads would not be a military part of the Scrubs.

Therefore the Ministry of Defence would expect to be consulted if the Council proposed a development falling within the definition of the Act over the military portion of the Scrubs or was a major scheme.


Disabled Facilities Grant

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the conclusions were of the Disabled Facilities Grant review. [12202]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 July 2005]: The Disabled Facilities Grant programme is subject to an interdepartmental review and a team from Bristol university is currently looking at the operation of the programme including the means test. The review is continuing and Ministers will put forward any proposals for change in due course.

Fire Service

Alan Simpson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which fire authorities have currently set performance targets relating to the reduction of deaths and injuries in non-accidental, non-domestic emergencies. [13549]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the Government's new fire Public Service Agreement target for England is, by 2010, to reduce the number of accidental fire related deaths in the home by 20 per cent. and the number of deliberate fires by 10 per cent.. Since 2003 every Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) has been required to produce a local integrated risk management plan (IRMP) that sets out the authority's assessment of local risk to life and, in line with this analysis, how it is going to deploy its resources to tackle these risks and improve the safety of all sections of society. The Fire and Rescue National Framework requires FRAs to set out in their IRMPs, the targets and standards it will apply to meet the specific pattern of local risk.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many of the convergence work tasks for the fire control project have been completed; and if he will make a statement. [13551]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The work on convergence is being led by the Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA) and supported by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Its aim is to enable fire and rescue services to communicate and work together effectively by
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introducing standard procedures and terminology for the national radio system and control centre network. 34 convergence products have been developed and are out for consultation with fire and rescue services. Seven are under development. In addition the work to date has identified a further ten products for development.


Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what average length of time a homeless household in temporary accommodation in each Government Office Region had to wait before being made an offer of a permanent home in each year since 1997; [12224]

(2) what average length of time a homeless household in temporary accommodation in each local authority area in London had to wait before being made an offer of a permanent home in (a) 1997 and (b) 2004. [12225]

Yvette Cooper: Information reported quarterly by local authorities on their activities under homelessness legislation includes the number of households that, during the quarter, left temporary accommodation provided by the authority, or who were no longer registered as homeless at home", by the length of stay in broad time bands.

A table which presents the proportion of households in each time band for each year since 1997, by Government Office region, along with a corresponding table presenting the position for London boroughs in 1997 and 2004, has been placed in the Library of the House. These include households who have been given settled accommodation by the authority, but also those who left temporary accommodation voluntarily as well as those who ceased to be eligible or who became intentionally homeless.

The Government have set a target to halve the number of households in temporary accommodation by 2010. Homeless acceptances in the first quarter of 2005 were 20 percent. lower than the corresponding period in 2004.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers are available to him in relation to directing English Partnerships to use land they hold for social housing. [12864]

Yvette Cooper: English Partnerships' statutory purpose and powers are laid out in the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and the New Towns Act 1981. These acts provide the Secretary of State with powers to issue guidance and make directions to English Partnerships (EP) in relation to government policies and objectives. The Secretary of State does not however have the powers to appoint English Partnerships as a housing authority. Therefore EP acquires, remediates and disposes of land, providing housing through partnerships and joint ventures with housing developers.

The Secretary of State also approves English Partnerships' Corporate plan each year which sets out EPs' corporate priorities for the corporate plan period.
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