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11 Nov 2005 : Column 841W—continued

Local Government

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) whether councils graded (a) excellent and (b) good under the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) are subject to (i) future CPA inspections and (ii) inspections from inspectorates other than the Audit Commission; and whether they are required to submit best value performance (A) information and (B) plans; [24683]

(2) if he will list the freedoms that local authorities graded (a) excellent and (b) good under the Comprehensive Performance Assessment received in relation to local government inspection. [24684]

Mr. Woolas: All councils are and will continue to be subject to inspection. Key targets for reductions in the inspection of local authorities were set out in the November 2002 announcement on Freedoms and Flexibilities. These include an exemption from virtually all inspection for councils in the excellent CPA category and a 25 per cent. reduction for councils in the good category.

Overall, significant reductions have been secured in the inspection burden placed on English single tier and county councils, with the greatest reductions focussed on excellent and good councils.

Between 2001–02 and 2004–05 the number of days inspectors from the Audit Commission, Ofsted, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) spent in councils
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had reduced by over one third and the number of inspections undertaken had reduced by more than 50 per cent.

The Audit Commission, which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) sponsors, anticipates that by 2006–07, the volume of inspections needed for CPA, including the corporate assessments planned for that year, should fall by 68 per cent. from the 2002–03 level. Excellent councils will only be subject to inspection where there are grounds for serious concern in a particular service, and good councils will continue to receive a significant reduction in inspection.

In accordance with ODPM Circular 02/2004, authorities categorised in CPA as excellent and good only need to provide the minimum essential information for Government to monitor performance, namely:

They are also able to annex the information to their annual corporate plan, rather than producing a separate Best Value Performance Plan.

London Underground (Fire Regulations)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether fire regulations on the London underground are a devolved matter; and if he will make a statement. [26906]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Legislation dealing with general fire safety on the London underground is not devolved. At present the legislation for which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has responsibility consists of the Fire Precautions Act 1971, the Fire Precautions (Sub-surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989 (as amended) and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended).

Pathfinder Areas

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated public expenditure in each of the Pathfinder areas is in 2005–06. [22470]

Yvette Cooper: Information on total public expenditure in Pathfinder areas is not available. Total payments to the housing market renewal pathfinders to date for 2005–06 are shown as follows:
Pathfinder£ million
Birmingham Sandwell7.42
East Lancashire23.62
Hull and East Riding1.01
Manchester Salford24.90
Newcastle Gateshead13.25
North Staffordshire9.20
Oldham Rochdale13.06
South Yorkshire15.29

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Rented Property (Hemel Hempstead)

Mike Penning: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average weekly rent was for a two-bedroom (a) registered social landlord and (b) local authority property in the constituency of Hemel Hempstead in the last year for which figures are available. [25579]

Yvette Cooper: Figures for Hemel Hempstead are not available centrally. The average weekly rent in Dacorum district council area two bedroom properties at the end of March 2005 are given in the table for those properties for which a property size is available:
Average weekly rent for two bedroom social properties

Registered Social Landlords73.24
Local Authority Landlords62.14

Registered Social Landlord data are based on data collected by the Housing Corporation via the annual Regulatory and Statistical Return. Local authority data based on un-audited returns from the Second Subsidy Claim form and are provisional for 2005.

Student Dwellings

Grant Shapps: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will move the time when a local authority area reports the number of student dwellings for council tax purposes from the autumn to the spring. [26846]

Mr. Woolas: Information on a billing authority's taxbase for council tax purposes needs to be collected in the autumn so that up-to-date statistics can be used for the purposes of the formula grant settlement. Information on the number of dwellings occupied solely by students, and therefore exempt from council tax, is a part of a consolidated return from the billing authority and it would not be practical to receive information on student dwellings separately at a different time of year.

Sustainable Development

David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what sustainable development requirements he has placed on his Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) advisory non-departmental bodies, (c) executive non-departmental bodies, (d) tribunals, (e) public corporations and (f) other bodies; and if he will make a statement. [24399]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The UK Sustainable Development Strategy commits Departments and their executive agencies to producing Action Plans setting out the steps they are taking to implement the Strategy. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will be publishing its Sustainable Development Action Plan in December 2005 and it is intended that this will cover steps being taken across the Office and its three executive agencies to promote Sustainable Development.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), its Executive Agencies and the Government Offices for the Regions are covered by the requirements of the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate (FSDGE) which requires Departments and their Executive Agencies to improve their performance in utility, land and resource use across their estates.
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The guidance on sustainable development in Cabinet Office's "Non-Departmental Public Bodies: A Guide for Departments" applies directly to all of ODPM's executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies. Other sponsored bodies are aware of this guidance and would apply it as appropriate.


Antisocial Behaviour

Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been imposed in Hastings and Rye in the past three years. [26145]

Hazel Blears: The available information is given in the table.
Number of antisocial behaviour orders issued at all courts, as notified to the Home Office, where restrictions have been imposed within the local government authority areas of Hastings and Rother, by period

borough council
district council

Asylum Seekers

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of new substantive asylum applications received in 2004–05 received a final decision, including appeal, within six months. [26663]

Andy Burnham: The latest published information on cases receiving a final decision within six months is published in the Asylum Statistics: 2nd Quarter 2005 United Kingdom. Copies are available from the Library of the House and on the Home Office research development and statistics directorate website at:

Information on the proportion of new substantive asylum applications in 2004–05, that were decided, including final appeal, within six months, is not yet available.

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