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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will make provision for the public to appeal in a planning permission application case where the matter is of considerable public interest; 
Yvette Cooper: Third parties do not have a right of appeal in the way that applicants do because it is the responsibility of local planning authorities to act in the general public interest when determining planning applications. Local authorities must determine planning applications in accordance with the development plan for the area unless material considerations indicate otherwise. They must take account of the views of local people on planning matters before taking decisions and elected members must justify their decisions subsequently to their electorate. Any right of appeal for third parties would slow down the system. Furthermore, it would not be consistent with our democratically accountable system of planning.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intends to publish for consultation a draft of new Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3) before the end of the year, with the aim of publishing a final version of PPS3 as soon as practicable after the consultation period has closed.
17 Oct 2005 : Column 822W
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how Cabinet Office plans for league tables of public services will relate to local government and existing inspection regimes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Cabinet Office has no plans for league tables of public services. A plan has been developed for a Customer Satisfaction Index, which was announced in a speech by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to the Social Market Foundation on 24 August this year, but this does not involve producing league tables of organisations. This index will provide information on specific encounters with services, which may be delivered by single or multiple organisations. No conflict is envisaged with other existing sector based schemes.
Yvette Cooper: Regional assemblies have no statutory powers but are designated under section 8(1) of the RDA Act to contribute to the regional economic strategies produced by the regional development agencies and scrutinise their delivery.
In their capacity as regional planning bodies they have a statutory duty to oversee the Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) including its monitoring and implementation and preparing draft revisions where necessary.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance the Government have produced on the legality of local authorities making payments to England's regional chambers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the level of central government funding to each regional chamber in each year since their creation was; and what the estimated figures for (a) 200506 and (b) 200607 are. 
|Yorkshire and the Humber||500,000||600,000||1,655,000||1,923,000||1,923,000|
|English Regions Network||100,000||200,000||200,000||200,000||200,000|
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 200304 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 if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to commission regional emphasis documents from the Government officer of the regions, regional development agencies and regional assemblies; and what the timetable is for their publication. 
The Government invited the regions to submit an input into the 2004 Spending Review in the form of regional emphasis documents. The Government's plans for the Comprehensive Spending Review were set out in a statement to the House on 19 July 2005. Further details will be published in due course.
Mr. Woolas: This information is not available centrally. On the basis of returns completed by local authorities before the start of the current financial year, an estimated £390 million is expected to be claimed in small business rate relief for 200506 (the first year in which the scheme has been operating). Applications for small business rate relief may be made up to six months after the end of the financial year to which the application relates, or six months from notification of an alteration to a rateable value that makes the hereditament eligible for relief.
Mr. Woolas: No. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are business-led initiatives to deliver improvements in a defined business area. It is the businesses themselves who decide on the amount of and the arrangements for paying the levy and who vote in a ballot on whether or not a proposed scheme should go ahead. However, many BID proposals exclude smaller properties from the BID levy or offer special terms for small properties.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact on smaller registered social landlords of requiring all lead regulated associations to produce an annual efficiency statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation does not require smaller RSLs with fewer than 250 housing units to produce an annual efficiency statement. Consistent with its policy of minimising regulatory burdens, the Corporation is not prescribing the form of the efficiency statement and is basing it on self-assessment. Well-managed organisations should already be collecting the information required to make this return.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to respond to the Audit Commission's report on Financing Council Housing; and what changes to the present system would be necessary to implement the recommendations. 
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