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10 Oct 2005 : Column 380W—continued

Regional Assemblies

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much public funding each regional assembly has received in each year since their creation; and what the estimated levels for 2005–06 are. [15250]

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Yvette Cooper: The total level of Government grant made to regional assemblies by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister since 2001 is tabled as follows.
North East500,000600,0001,408,0001,708,0001,708,000
North West500,000600,0001,837,0002,536,0002,536,000
Yorkshire and the Humber500,000600,0001,655,0001,923,0001,923,000
West Midlands500,000600,0001,671,0002,071,0002,071,000
East Midlands500,000600,0001,631,0002,056,0002,056,000
South East500,000600,0002,186,0003,280,0003,280,000
South West500,000600,0001,613,0002,101,0002,101,000
English Regions Network1,000,000200,000200,000200,000200,000

The grant supports the assemblies in the performance of their designated functions to scrutinise the work of the regional development agencies; fulfil their regional planning responsibilities; and for the development of their strategic regional role.

The increase in funding from 2003–04 was granted in recognition of the statutory responsibilities that were placed on them as regional planning bodies by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers the West Midlands Regional Assembly has to amend, delete or review (a) Green Belt designation, (b) areas of outstanding natural beauty designation and (c) Site of Special Scientific Interest designation. [15251]

Yvette Cooper: In relation to Green Belt designation, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 June 2005, Official Report, columns 271–72W. The regional assemblies do not have powers to amend, delete or review Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the role of the West Midlands Regional Assembly is with regards to waste and incineration policy. [15252]

Yvette Cooper: As the regional planning body, the West Midlands Regional Assembly is responsible for keeping its regional spatial strategy (RSS) under review and preparing revisions. The RSS should include a concise strategy for waste management in line with national policy set out in Planning Policy Statement 10 Planning for Sustainable Waste Management" and be capable of being carried forward into local development documents prepared by waste planning authorities. The strategy for waste management should comprise a distribution of waste tonnage requiring management, a pattern of waste management facilities of national, regional or sub-regional significance, and supporting policies.

Regional Planning and Housing Boards

Mr. Love: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he intends to complete the merger of Regional Planning and Housing Boards; and if he will make a statement. [16105]

Yvette Cooper: The Government are committed to merging the functions of Regional Planning Bodies and Regional Housing Boards. Details of how this will be achieved, including timing will be announced in due course.
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Residential Sprinklers

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of recommendations arising from the survey into low-cost residential sprinklers; and over what timescale he expects to implement the recommendations. [15329]

Jim Fitzpatrick: ODPM has commissioned a research project into the potential for lower cost sprinkler systems suitable for domestic premises. The final results and recommendations from this work are not yet available, but early indications are that such a system is a practical possibility. ODPM expect to receive a final report from the contractors later this month. Assuming that the final report is positive, we would hope to take forward the debate on the development and application of such systems in managing risk, both within the fire and rescue service-community, the wider fire industry and other interested parties. Plans for this wider debate will be finalised in the coming months and we will aim to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to join the debate.

Section 106 Planning Agreements

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what information he has received on the operation of section 106 planning agreements in London in respect of local authorities receiving payments in lieu of housing developments; and if he will make a statement. [16205]

Yvette Cooper: Information on individual section 106 agreements is held by local planning authorities and not collated centrally.

The research report The Value for Money of Delivering Affordable Housing through Section 106" published on 18 July (available on the ODPM websiteat: planning/documents/page/odpm_plan_039124.hcsp) shows that in 2002–03 just over £11 million was received by local planning authorities in London in commuted sums to provide affordable housing off-site, in lieu of on-site provision.

Sickness Absence

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many working days were lost due to sickness absence in his Department in the most recent year for which figures are available. [15229]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002. The number of days lost due to sickness are contained in the annual report Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service" published by the Cabinet Office. Table A of the report gives details of both the average working days absence per staff year and the number of staff years on which that calculation is based on. The most recent of which (for calendar year 2003) was announced by ministerial statement on 1 November and copies placed in the Libraries of the House. Reports for 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 are also available in the Library of the House and on the Cabinet Office website at:

The Office of The Deputy Prime Minister is committed to managing sickness absence effectively and is putting in place the recommendations of the recently published report Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector".

Social Housing

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether it is Government policy to reduce the number of registered social landlords with fewer than 1,000 units in management. [14709]

Yvette Cooper: The Government do not have a policy to reduce the number of registered social landlords with fewer than 1,000 units in management.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many dwellings have been built (a) by local authorities, (b) by housing associations and (c) in total in each year since 1990, broken down by number of bedrooms. [15581]

Yvette Cooper: Housing statistics table no. 204 published on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's internet site shows the number of dwellings built in England by tenure for each year since 1990–91. Table251 shows the percentages of dwellings built with different numbers of bedrooms.

The respective ODPM internet addresses for these tables are:

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much money has been allocated to improving heating and insulation standards in social housing in each year since 2000, broken down by expenditure incurred by (a) local authorities and (b) registered social landlords; and what these figures are as a percentage of all social landlord expenditure on remedial work to the housing stock. [15723]

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Yvette Cooper: Data are only available for local authorities set out in the following table. The figures show what local authorities have spent/plan to spend on improving heating and insulation.

Over the period shown in the table, this represents 16 per cent. of all expenditure on remedial works.

Financial year
Total LA expenditure on central heating and insulation

Mr. Love: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authority homes were under tenant management in (a) England and (b) Greater London in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [16107]

Yvette Cooper: The number of local authority homes under tenant management since 1997 is as follows:
In England and WalesIn Greater London

These homes are managed by around 250 tenant management organisations (TMO). Research has shown that in most cases TMOs are performing better than their landlord host local authorities and a majority are engaged in community development activities that contribute to the strengthening of their communities and social networks. They are a good example of community empowerment and we want to continue to promote and encourage the development of the TMO sector.

There are no local authority homes under tenant management in Wales.

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