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17 Oct 2005 : Column 818W—continued

Interreg Project

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his Department's role in the future of the Interreg Project. [17392]

Yvette Cooper: The European Commission has proposed that, during the period of the next EU Financial perspective (2007–13), the current Interreg programme should be replaced by a new European Territorial Co-operation Objective designed to support financially cross border and trans-national projects on matters relating to economic, social and environmental activities. The UK supports the principle of such an objective. This proposal, along with other matters covered in proposed new Structural Fund Regulations, is under discussion in the European Council. It is the UK's intention to make as much progress as possible with these discussions during its Presidency. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is working closely with other interested Departments and the Devolved Administrations in supporting the UK's position in these discussions.

Local Authority Housing

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authorities have entered into private finance initiative contracts for the maintenance of their stock of council houses. [18048]

Yvette Cooper: Five local authorities (Manchester, Reading, Leeds and the London boroughs of Islington and Newham) have entered into private finance initiative contracts to refurbish, maintain and also manage some of their stock of council dwellings to the Decent Homes Standard and beyond over a 30 year period.

Local Authority Legal Advisers

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidelines are issued by his Department to local authorities concerning the obligations of local authority legal advisers. [18324]

Mr. Woolas: Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and article 23 of the Local Authorities (Executive and Alternative Arrangements) (Modification of Enactments and Other Provisions) (England) Order 2001 require each local authority to appoint a monitoring officer to provide legal advice to their authority. This legislation sets out the obligations placed upon that officer.
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Local Public Service Boards

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to introduce local public service boards. [17358]

Mr. Woolas: Our policy is to encourage local authorities and local strategic partnerships to decide upon their own arrangements for working together to improve the well-being of their areas through community strategies and local area agreements. We do not promote any single model.

Lyons Inquiry

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)whether the amended remit of the Lyons Inquiry (a) includes and (b) prohibits consideration of (i) the structure and tiers of local government and (ii) the number of councillors; [17158]

(2) whether the extended remit of the Lyons Inquiry includes the review of the two-tier structure of local government in England. [17304]

Mr. Woolas: The extended remit of Sir Michael's independent inquiry into local government funding, and the current and emerging role of local government, was announced on 20 September. A copy of that announcement, which incorporates the extended terms of reference for Sir Michael's inquiry, has been placed in the House Library. The terms do not include consideration of the structures of local government.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations his Department's working group on Local Government Financial Statistics has made to the Lyons Inquiry. [17227]

Mr. Woolas: The Working Group on Local Government Financial Statistics (WGLGFS) has not made any representations to the Lyons Inquiry.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects the Lyons Inquiry into local government finance to publish its interim report. [17360]

Mr. Woolas: Sir Michael Lyons will produce his final report at the end of 2006. Meanwhile in autumn 2005, to set the scene for the next phase of his inquiry, he will set out his preliminary thinking and publish research and analysis undertaken so far, drawing out the relationship of local government function to finance.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what changes the Government have made to planning guidance and regulations on the (a) provision of parking spaces and (b) level of parking charges since 1997. [17258]

Yvette Cooper: Planning guidance on residential parking spaces is contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing" (PPG3), published in March 2000. PPG3 advises local authorities that car parking standards that result, on average, in development with more than 1.5 off-street car parking spaces per dwelling are unlikely to reflect the Government's emphasis on securing sustainable residential environments. This does not mean we expect all dwellings in all developments to
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have 1.5 parking spaces. But we do expect local authorities to anticipate the pattern of parking needs in their area and draw up policies for car parking provision that will deliver the approach set out in PPG3.

Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: Transport" (PPG 13) was published in March 2001. PPG13 notes that reducing the amount of parking in new development (and in the expansion and change of use in existing development) is essential, as part of a package of planning and transport measures, to promote sustainable travel choices. Annex D of PPG13 sets out national maximum parking standards for a range of major developments. Local authorities may adopt more rigorous standards subject to the advice in PPG13.

The Government does not regulate the level of parking charges. The Secretary of State for Transport does, however, give guidance to local authorities outside London with Decriminalised Parking Enforcement powers on the setting of parking charges. This guidance is set out in paragraphs 4.9–4.14 of Local Authority Circular 1/95—Guidance on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement outside London".

Inside London, it is the Mayor who issues guidance to local authorities on parking matters.

Pathfinder Areas

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated total public expenditure is in each of the Pathfinder areas for each year of the programme. [17254]

Yvette Cooper: Information on total public expenditure in Pathfinder areas is not available. Total payments to the housing market renewal pathfinders, including housing market renewal funding, separate early action funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and payments from the capital modernisation fund are shown in the table:
£ million

Birmingham Sandwell6.613.4
East Lancashire6. 622.8
Hull and East Riding02.6
Manchester Salford2044
Newcastle Gateshead9.628
North Staffordshire6.67
Oldham Rochdale6.617.1
South Yorkshire6.627.4

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what is the estimated cost of purchasing a property in the Pathfinder areas in order to demolish it. [17255]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister howmany homes are planned to be demolished in each of the Pathfinder project areas for each year of the programme. [17256]

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Yvette Cooper: Funding and planned outputs have been agreed with Pathfinders for the period up to March 2006. In total, the programme is planned to deliver 21,000 refurbished homes, 3,000 new homes and 10,000 demolitions by that date.

Actual demolitions for 2004–05 and expected figures for 2005–06 are:
Demolitions funded by housing market renewal
PathfinderActual 2004–05Estimate 2005–06
Birmingham Sandwell71619
East Lancashire397393
Hull and East Riding044
Manchester Salford6771,023
Newcastle Gateshead4091,591
North Staffordshire234n/a
Oldham Rochdale78222
South Yorkshire1,097503

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will be agreeing funding and outputs for the next two financial years towards the end of this year and early next year.

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