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Local Government Finance

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the time scale is for the announcement of the local authority rate support grant settlement for 2006–07; and if he will make a statement. [26880]

Mr. Woolas: The Government expect to announce their proposals for the 2006–07 local government finance settlement at around the end of November or
 
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beginning of December—in line with the usual settlement timetable.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place copies of (a) international comparative research by the London School of Economics and Cardiff University on local government finance, (b) public knowledge and attitudes research on local government finance by NOP World and (c) the wider
 
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literature review by the National Economic Research Association on local government finance commissioned by his Department in the Library. [26919]

Mr. Woolas: The research to which the hon. Member refers has been undertaken for the Lyons inquiry into local government funding. We understand that the inquiry will publish results of this research later this autumn.

Initial research by NOP World on public knowledge and attitudes in relation to local government finance was undertaken for the Balance of Funding Review and is available on the Department's website at http://www.local.odpm.gov.uk/finance/balance/rsg.htm.

London Development Agency

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total borrowing limit is for the London Development Agency. [23706]

Alun Michael: I have been asked to reply.

The London Development Agency—as a functional body of the Mayor of London—is treated as a local authority for financial purposes, so any borrowing by the agency must be in accordance with the local authority prudential borrowing framework set out in the Local Government Act 2003. Under this legislation, the agency's maximum borrowing limit is set by the Mayor. If the agency wishes to borrow against its grant from the Government, it must also seek Government approval.

Markets

Mr. Swire: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations his Department has received about the proposed redevelopment of the old Smithfield Market. [27999]

Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has received a number of representations of which nine have requested he call in applications for planning permission and conservation area consent which were submitted to the Corporation of London in May 2004.

If in due course the corporation are minded to grant planning permission the planning application will have to be formally referred to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister as a departure from the corporation's unitary development plan and under the 1993 shopping direction.

Public Service Agreements

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) benchmarks and (b) indicators the Government will use to assess their public service agreement target to improve (i) the effectiveness and efficiency of local government in delivery services by 2008 and (ii) the balance between housing availability and demand. [26927]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has published technical notes setting out the performance measures being used to assess progress against the
 
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ODPM's public service agreement targets adopted following the spending review in 2004. These can be found at: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l122982.

The technical note for local government effectiveness and efficiency will be updated shortly to reflect the new comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) framework published by the Audit Commission on 14 October.

Regional Transport

Tom Brake: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the process by which regional transport funding is allocated by regional Government offices. [27568]

Ms Buck: I have been asked to reply.

No regional transport funding is currently allocated by regional Government offices. However, in July we published details of regional funding allocations for transport, together with those for housing and economic development. The English regions outside London have been asked to submit advice to central Government by 31 January 2006 as to which schemes should be given priority for funding in their region. Government offices have been asked to facilitate this process.

Sex Offenders

Joan Walley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 25 October 2005, Official Report, column 340W on sex offenders, if he will issue guidance to local authorities on councillors' duties in relation to children's services where councillors are on the sex offenders register. [24172]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to introduce such guidance.

An individual is disqualified from being a local councillor if he receives a conviction carrying a prison sentence of over three months (suspended or not) if convicted of an offence within five years before election. A fine, or conviction with a sentence of less than three months, is not sufficient to trigger a disqualification.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Adult Learning Inspectorate

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost of the adult learning inspectorate in 2005–06 is. [28637]

Bill Rammell: The 2005–06 grant in aid budget for the adult learning inspectorate is £22.5 million from the Department for Education and Skills and £5.8 million from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Basic Skills Agency

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools have been awarded a quality mark by the Basic Skills Agency. [28303]

Bill Rammell: The latest figures as of 11 November are as follows:
 
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All schools in Wales are required to reach the quality mark standard by 31 March 2006 as part of the National Basic Skills Strategy for Wales.

CAFCASS

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) private and (b) public law cases remained unallocated in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service on 13 July, or the nearest date for which figures are available. [24517]

(2) how many unallocated cases there were in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service at the end of each of the last four financial years. [24518]

(3) how many (a) public and (b) private law vacancies there are in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service; and what the recruitment strategy is for the 2005–06 financial year. [24519]

Maria Eagle: These are matters for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Anthony Douglas, the CAFCASS chief executive, has written to the hon. Member with this information and copies of his replies have been placed in the House Library.


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