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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what guidance the Government have issued to councils on (a) allowances, (b) salaries and (c) pensions for councillors; and whether they form part of the Local Government Pension Scheme; 
Mr. Woolas: Each local authority has discretionary powers to offer membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme to those councillors who have been recommended by the authority's Independent Remuneration Panel. The estimated cost to the taxpayer is a matter for individual authorities and would depend on the take-up of membership it had endorsed. Consequently, no information is held centrally on costs or membership of the scheme.
The guidance which currently applies to allowances and salaries was issued by the Government in 2003, as 'Guidance on Regulation for Local Authority Allowances'. The guidance accompanies the Local Authorities (Members' Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003. The Government have issued no guidance on pensions for councillors.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has spent £842,401 on the current ODPM website. Detailed records on website visits have only been kept since 2003 when the latest website was launched:
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Yvette Cooper: The design for manufacture competition is being run by English Partnerships on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. English Partnerships is currently evaluating bids from developers for stage three of the design for manufacture competition. Final development proposals and planning applications for each site will determine the mix of housing types, sale prices and community facilities.
English Partnerships has asked developers to include a profit margin within the £60,000 construction cost for the dwellings. As part of the bid evaluation process English Partnerships is considering the reasonableness of such construction profit margins in relationship to the project risk. English Partnerships has set clawback terms linked to final sales prices over base values to be agreed with each developer in negotiation, so the agency will benefit if the land generates values higher than anticipated.
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Yvette Cooper: The design for manufacture competition is being run by English Partnerships on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. English Partnerships is currently evaluating bids from developers for stage three of the design for manufacture competition. Final development proposals and planning applications will determine the mix of housing types, sale prices and community facilities for each site.
English Partnerships carried out base valuations of the sites before the start of the competition, which included an estimate of projected sales prices for the mix of homes on each site. The final sales prices will be determined by the developers according to local market circumstances. The nine competition sites are as far apart as Leeds and Hastings. Average sales prices will therefore vary between sites according to local market conditions.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) second homes and (b) empty homes there were in each local authority area in England in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Yvette Cooper: A table containing the number of (a) second homes and (b) empty homes in each billing authority area in England as at November 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, has been placed in the Library of the House. The data are as reported on CTB1 and CTB1S forms submitted by local authorities to ODPM each year. (Variations in reporting and misclassification may affect the accuracy of these figures for some areas). The figures for empty homes include both long and short-term empty properties.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what maximum duration a local authority may possess a property under an empty dwelling management order; and what restrictions exist on (a) renewing and (b) extending orders. 
Yvette Cooper: The maximum duration for an interim Empty Dwelling Management Order is 12 months but it may be made for a shorter period, or revoked before the end of the period specified in the Order. An interim Empty Dwelling Management Order cannot be renewed. On cessation of the order, the local housing authority must either take no further action or make a final Empty Dwelling Management Order. An interim Order can only be made with the authority of a residential property tribunal. Before deciding to apply for such an Order the authority is required to make reasonable efforts to notify the relevant proprietor of the dwelling that it is considering making an order and to ascertain what steps are being taken or are intended to be taken to secure that the dwelling is occupied. It must take account of the rights of the relevant proprietor and the interests of the wider community.
The maximum duration for a final Empty Dwelling Management Order is seven years, but again it may be made for a shorter period or revoked before the end of
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the period specified in the Order. A local housing authority may make a new final Empty Dwelling Management Order to replace one that has expired if it considers that otherwise the dwelling would become or remain unoccupied. Where the dwelling in question is unoccupied, the authority may only make a new final Empty Dwelling Management Order if it has taken all such steps as it was appropriate to take under the existing order with a view to securing occupation of the dwelling. It must, again, take into account the interests of the community and the effect the order will have on the rights of the relevant proprietor or on third parties. It must also consider whether compensation should be paid by them to any third party in respect of any interference in consequence of the order with the rights of the third party.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether local authorities are required to charge a market rent on properties obtained under an empty dwelling management order and then rented out to a third party. 
Yvette Cooper: Local authorities will not be required to charge a market rent on properties subject to Empty Dwelling Management Orders. A final Empty Dwelling Management Order must contain a management scheme containing details of income and expenditure. This must include, amongst other things, the amount of rent or other payments the local authority considers the dwelling might reasonably fetch on the open market and the amount of rent or other payments the local authority will seek to obtain. The scheme must also state the authority's intentions as regards the use of the rent or other payments to meet relevant expenditure. The authority may in certain circumstances recover from the relevant proprietor the difference between the amount it has received in rent and other payments and the amount it has paid out in relevant expenditure.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much an owner of a property will receive from a local authority for their property that has been rented out to a third party under an empty dwelling management order. 
Yvette Cooper: Any rent or other payment which the authority collects or recovers from persons occupying or having the right to occupy may be used to meet expenditure reasonably incurred and any compensation payable to a third party under the order. The authority is obliged to pay the relevant proprietor any amount of rents or other payments that remain after deduction of such expenditure. It is obliged to keep full accounts ofits income and expenditure in respect of the dwelling and allow access by anyone with an estate or interest in the dwelling access to those accounts.
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