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10 Oct 2005 : Column 377W—continued

Parish/Town Councils

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) consultation and (b) advisory documents were sent to parish councils in the parliamentary constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire by his Department in each year since 2000. [16622]

Mr. Woolas: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski) on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 2093W.

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many applications for the abolition of (a) parish councils and (b) town councils he has received from district and unitary authorities in each of the past 10 years; and how many he has granted. [15274]

Mr. Woolas: Since 1997, there have been a number of requests to abolish parishes (and as a consequence, their parish or town councils) as part of proposals to transfer all or part of those parishes to other parish councils. There have only been three requests to abolish parishes outright—all in 2003. Of these, one has been agreed and the parish council is due to be abolished with effect from 1 April 2006.

Information about requests made before 1997 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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Planning Development Grant

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much money was allocated for planning development grant in each year since its introduction; and what the estimated budget is for (a) 2005–06, (b) 2006–07 and (c) 2007–08. [15245]

Yvette Cooper: The planning delivery grant totalled £50 million in 2003–04, its year of introduction; £130 million in 2004–05 and £170 million in 2005–06. The estimated budgets for 2006–07 and 2007–08 are respectively £135 million and £120 million.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 124W, on the private finance initiative, what total value of assets and liabilities for each of the listed private finance initiatives and public private partnerships is recorded on the Government Balance Sheet; what proportion of assets and liabilities is listed; what the accounting treatment is for assets and liabilities; and whether it is compatible with (a) generally-accepted accounting practices and (b) international financial reporting standards. [15955]

Mr. Woolas: Further to the answer given on 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 124W, to the hon. Member, the Private Finance Initiatives listed are all off-balance sheet and not recorded on the Government Balance Sheet.

David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to make the private finance initiative process more accountable and transparent in terms of environmental sustainability. [16160]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) on 7 July 2004, Official Report, column 875W.

In July 2002, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister together with DEFRA, OGC and DfT jointly issued a guidance, Green Public Private Partnerships, on how to include environmental considerations within PFI and PPP projects. This added to guidance on PFI projects issued by the Treasury and supports commitments to take forward best environmental practice and sustainable development within the public sector.

Since the Green PPP guidance there have been further developments. The procurement section of the 'Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate' was published in October. This is the Government's main vehicle for systematically assessing, reporting and improving Government performance in managing its own land and buildings to improve sustainability. The procurement section includes targets
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mandating Government Departments to implement a sustainable procurement strategy, environmental clauses and an appropriate training programme.

Furthermore, the Third Annual report 'Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG)' was published in November 2004. This contains data based on the financial year April 2003 to March 2004. DEFRA monitors Departments' performance against the framework targets in the annual SDiG reports.

Private Landlords

Susan Kramer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what legal requirements private landlords have to meet in relation to (a) electrical safety, (b) hygiene levels and (c) structural soundness of the property they are letting; and what mechanisms are in place to monitor and enforce these. [15861]

Yvette Cooper: In relation to the legislation for which this Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible, the Housing Act 1985 contains the housing fitness standard which determines whether a dwelling is reasonably suitable for occupation. Under these provisions, local authorities may require owners and landlords of housing accommodation to deal with defects relating to structural stability, serious disrepair (which may include dangerous electrical wiring), sanitation and hygiene. The fitness requirements are to be replaced by a new framework under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System will enable local authorities to assess whether any of 29 health and safety hazards—including those relating to poor sanitation or hygiene, structural collapse and electrical safety—are present in a dwelling, and to require landlords to take action to protect occupiers from such hazards.

The 2004 Act will also enable local housing authorities to impose conditions on properties required to be licensed under the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) provisions in Part 2, or under the selective licensing provisions in Part 3. Such conditions must include requirements on the licence holder to keep electrical appliances provided by him in a safe condition and proper working order and to supply to the authority, on demand, a declaration of the safety of such appliances. A breach of a licence condition may result in the licence being revoked and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Part 1 of the 2004 Act also contains a general duty on local housing authorities to keep the housing conditions in their area under review with a view to identifying any action that they need to take in connection with housing conditions, licensing or renewal.

The requirements of the Building Regulations 2000 and subsequent amendments may apply where a landlord plans to undertake building work as defined in the regulations. This includes work associated with electrical safety, hygiene and structural soundness. Should a building fall into such disrepair that it becomes dangerous, then the Building Act 1984 provides for the landlord to be required, under a court order obtained by the local authority, to remedy the hazard.
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Railways (Fire Regulations)

John McDonnell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the railway stations and premises which are covered by the Fire Precautions (Sub-Surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989. [16339]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Railway stations and premises which are subject to the Fire Precautions (Sub-surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989 are identified by the local fire and rescue authority, who enforce the regulations. Details of the names and locations of the individual premises concerned are not held centrally. [However, the statistics we collect show that in 2003–04—the latest year for which figures are available—168 such premises were known to fire and rescue authorities.]

Regeneration (Wolverhampton)

Mr. McFadden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent by his Department on regeneration projects in (a) the City of Wolverhampton and (b) constituency of Wolverhampton South East since 1997. [15095]

Yvette Cooper: Under the neighbourhood renewal fund, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has provided funding totalling £37.1 million between 2001–02 and 2007–08 to tackle disadvantage in deprived neighbourhoods in Wolverhampton.

English Partnerships is the national regeneration agency sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. English Partnership's expenditure in Wolverhampton in recent years has been in connection with Priority Sites Ltd, EP's commercial development joint venture with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Priority Sites expenditure began in 2002 and currently stands at £591,000. Under the former PIP (property investment programme), £2.6 million was spent between 1997 and 2001. English Partnerships provided a further £991,000 to Advantage West Midlands for land reclamation programme projects between 1997 and 2000. This makes EP's total spend in the city of Wolverhampton between 1997 to 2005 £4.2 million.

A further £628,225 in grants has been provided to Wolverhampton from 2001 to date as part of the neighbourhood and street crime warden schemes, both funded by ODPM.

In addition, the Government awarded £53.5 million to the Wolverhampton new deal for communities partnership in 2001 under Round 2 of the Government's new deal for communities programme. The Partnership is now in year five of the 10-year programme and to date has spent approximately £10.3 million of the approved grant.

Wolverhampton has also benefited from Objective 2 European regional development funds and since 1997 over £27.2 million has been spent directly in the city of Wolverhampton area.

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