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28 Oct 2005 : Column 615W—continued


Business Premises (Revaluation)

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects the appeals on the revaluation of business premises of 2000 to be completed; and when he expects appeals for the 2005 revaluation to start. [22314]

Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) expects to clear the majority of appeals against the 2000 rating lists by 31 March 2006. A small number will remain outstanding where resolution depends upon hearing and determination by a Valuation Tribunal or the Lands Tribunal, following exhaustion of efforts by the VOA to achieve a resolution by discussion.

Settlement of 2005 appeals has already commenced. Valuation Officers are currently placing into published clearance programmes those 2005 appeals to be dealt with by 31 March 2006.

Pathfinder Renewal Project

Jim Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the administrative costs of each Pathfinder Renewal project were in each year of its operation; and how much is planned for 2005–06. [21764]

Yvette Cooper: The grant claims in respect of staffing, administration and programme development costs for each pathfinder are set out in the table. The figures for 2005–06 show claims between April and September.
£ million

Birmingham Sandwell1.0690.293
Oldham Rochdale1.1421.729
Manchester Salford4.5741.551
North Staffordshire1.0740.957
East Lancashire3.1623.302
Hull and East Riding2.5860.668
South Yorkshire2.7622.829
Newcastle Gateshead1.4810.730

Regeneration (Tooting)

Mr. Khan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent by his Department on regeneration projects in the constituency of Tooting in each year since 1997. [20583]

Yvette Cooper: The Neighbourhood Renewal Fund is administered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This fund was first allocated in 2001–02 to local authorities in areas of severe deprivation as measured by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2000. Allocations within local authority areas of this funding is the responsibility of the Local Strategic Partnership, based on their knowledge and information of local need. We do not collect information on how Local Strategic Partnerships allocate Neighbourhood Renewal Funding
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to constituencies and are therefore unable to provide details of how much has been allocated specifically to Tooting. We would anticipate the information being available from Wandsworth Local Strategic Partnership and it is suggested that it is approached to provide such information. Information on allocations of Neighbourhood Renewal Funding at borough level is collected and has been provided in Table A.

Three other funding streams have contributed to neighbourhood renewal in Wandsworth—Community Chest, Community Learning Chest and the Community Empowerment Fund have all provided funding for community sector involvement in neighbourhood renewal. In April 2005, these funding streams were merged into one Single Community Programme". Information on allocations of the Single Community Programme at borough level has been provided in Table A.
Table A: Funding allocations to London Borough of Wandsworth

Neighbourhood Renewal FundingSingle Community Programme Funding (comprising Community Chest, Community Learning Chest and Community Empowerment Fund)Total

(11)To date.

The Single Regeneration Budget (SRB), which began in 1994, brought together a number of programmes from several Government Departments with the aim of simplifying and streamlining the assistance available for regeneration. SRB provides resources to support regeneration initiatives carried out by local regeneration partnerships.

The London Development Agency (LDA) is responsible for this budget and the Young People Agent for Change SRB project in Wandsworth has received—and continues to receive—funding which is outlined in Table B. Again, we do not hold information on how much of this funding has been spent in Tooting.
Table B: Young Peoples Agent for Change Funding Profile—Wandsworth SRB Project (actual and forecast spend)

SRB capitalSRB revenueTotal

Tees Valley Coastal Arc

Vera Baird: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what types of development the designation of Redcar as part of the Tees Valley Coastal Arc is intended to (a) encourage and (b) discourage. [22621]

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Mr. Woolas: The Government welcome the leadership that the Tees Valley Partnership have shown in setting out an ambitious investment programme, including areas in my hon. Friend's constituency through the Coastal Arc proposals. The Government, and the Regional Development Agency ONE North East, will be studying these proposals carefully, with a view to supporting priority projects that deliver sustainable economic development.


Members' Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Leader of the House what the level of employer contribution is to the pension scheme of Members of Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [21429]

Mr. Hoon: The employer's (ie Exchequer's) contribution to the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund is determined by the Government Actuary's Department, which carries out a triennial assessment of the general financial position of the scheme. The last assessment examined the position as at 1 April 2002.

The current rate of employer's contributions is 24 per cent. of Members' salaries. This increased in April 2003 from the then contribution of 7.9 per cent. of Members' salaries. The 24 per cent. of Members' salaries currently contributed by the Exchequer is made up as follows: 19.3 per cent. to cover the employer's share of the cost of pension benefits accruing to current members of the scheme; and 4.7 per cent. to recoup a deficit in the assets of the scheme compared with its liabilities, as disclosed at the 1 April 2002 assessment.

The Government Actuary's Department's assessment is conducted using standard actuarial methodology. It relies on certain assumptions of a financial and demographic nature, including longevity, Members' likely parliamentary career patterns, and the expected level of long-term real returns on the scheme's investments. The Government Actuary's Department is currently undertaking an assessment of the position as at 1 April 2005, to determine the employer's contribution that should apply with effect from April 2006.

The rate of contribution made by employees is either 6 per cent. or 10 per cent. of salary depending on their chosen level of benefits.



Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his (a) French and (b) German counterparts about US involvement in future operations in Afghanistan. [22301]

John Reid: I have regular discussions with our international partners, including France and Germany, concerning future operations in Afghanistan.
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Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has undertaken of the prevalence of bullying in the Army; how many disciplinary actions for bullying there were in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in the last 12 months; and what guidance he has issued on the reporting of (i) incidents of bullying and (ii) preparations among others to commit an act of bullying. [21531]

Mr. Touhig: The responses to the Army Continuous Attitudes Survey published in October 2004 indicated that three per cent. of Army officers and 7 per cent. of soldiers believed that they had been the subject of bullying in a Service environment in the previous 12 months.

There is no offence of bullying as such. It is not possible therefore to determine if bullying played a part in Service disciplinary proceedings without examining each case separately. However, records indicate the number of complaints of bullying made during the most recent 12 month period are:
Royal Navy/2004–059
Army 2004 (calendar year)(12)57
Royal Air Force 2004–0531

(12)Investigations by the Royal Military police in which bullying was assessed to be a relevant factor

The Services' policy is that no form of bullying or harassment will be tolerated. A revised, unified MOD Harassment Complaints Procedure was issued as a Joint Service Publication (JSP 763) in April 2005, and includes advice on reporting incidents of bullying. All personnel are obliged to challenge colleagues who harass others and to report harassment against themselves or others. Line managers have a duty to be vigilant in identifying harassment, including negative or hostile behaviour from one or more people.

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