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29 Nov 2005 : Column 362W—continued

Council Tax Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether a regulatory impact assessment was produced for the Council Tax (New Valuation Lists for England) Bill. [33166]

Mr. Woolas: Paragraph 10 of the explanatory notes accompanying the Bill makes clear, that the regulatory impact unit of the Cabinet Office (now known as the Better Regulation Executive) confirmed that no regulatory impact assessment was required.
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Emergency Services

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps the Government are taking to co-ordinate the response of fire and rescue services with other emergency services; and if he will make a statement. [20457]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Fire and Rescue National Framework 2005–06 requires all Fire and Rescue Authorities in England to have in place robust plans for integrated command and control of major incidents, and to co-ordinate these both with other emergency services and with non-emergency responders such as local authorities and the Environment Agency.

The specification for the new Firelink wide area radio communications system requires interoperability between the fire and rescue service and the other emergency services.

Guidance on a consistent operational approach is provided by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief Fire Officers' Association and by the Cabinet Office, and is kept under continuing review.

I have no plans to change these arrangements.

Similar arrangements operate in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under the overall guidance of the devolved Administrations.

Fire Services

Mr. Evans: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) part-time and (b) full-time firefighters serviced (i) Lancashire and (ii) Ribble Valley constituency in each year since 1997. [33040]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of firefighters employed by the Lancashire fire and rescue service between 1997 and 2004 is set out as follows:

Retained duty system firefightersWhole-time firefighters

(19) Information provided refers to the work force at 31 March.
(20) Figures are provisional.
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's annual returns.

Information on the number of firefighters employed at constituency level is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Offices of the Regions

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by each Government office of the regions in each year since 1996–97; and what the estimated figures are for 2005–06. [30434]

Yvette Cooper: The total number of staff employed in each Government office on 31 March for each year from 1997 to 2005 and the latest figures for end September 2005 is as follows. Full-time equivalents are not available:
East of England173169163176178189235271277276
East Midlands226208213233214239277296285282
North East276270250255249275296326327297
North West(21)388396368371353338351360338347
South East211184192223240275277319295297
South West135185200217265288309354340324
West Midlands324340268260290277301307339293
Yorkshire and the Humber260249233270255264283312307285

(21) For 1997 and 1998, figures include staff in Government office for Merseyside, which was merged with GO North West on 1 April 1998.


Anne Milton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research he has commissioned into the (a) background, (b) sex, (c) socio-economic status and (d) ethnic origin of people who respond to planning applications. [30360]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not conducted research into the ethnic, gender, or social background of third parties who comment on planning applications, nor on the results of planning applications.

Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he treats the provisions relating to the correction of errors in decisions set out in part five of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 as applying to decisions made as a result of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; and whether he treats the 2000 Act as a planning act for the purposes of part five of the 2004 Act. [31845]

Yvette Cooper: The power to correct errors in decisions contained in part 5 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 relates only to the errors in decision documents set out in section 59(4). Decision made under the Countryside and Right of Way Act 2000are not listed in section 59(4). The planning Acts" in section 59(4)(h) is defined by section 117(4) and does not include the Countryside and Right of Way Act 2000.

Street Crime Wardens

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of the street crime wardens funding stream from the Government office for London was made available to the London borough of Croydon in 2004–05. [32279]

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Mr. Woolas: £4.4 million was allocated to the Government office for London to fund street crime wardens in 2004–05, of this £240,000 was made available to the London borough of Croydon.

Super Output Areas

Ben Chapman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans his Department has to use super output areas as a means to direct funding towards pockets of deprivation. [32725]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has used both district level and super output area (SOA) level data to allocate the new Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) resources. As well as, the district level summaries of the Indices of Deprivation 2004 (ID04) to determine which areas should be eligible for NRF because this data take into account the extent of deprivation across a local authority as a whole.

However, the new SOA level data have been used to determine the amount of NRF allocated to each eligible authority.

SOA data have also been used to allocate Neighbourhood Element of the Safer and Stronger Communities Fund (SSCF (NE)) worth £160 million over four years 2006–10 and the Cleaner Safer Greener (CSG) element of SSCF, worth an additional £105 million for the two years 2006–08. This brings together a total package of nearly £1.3 billion to help local authorities and their partners in narrowing the gap between deprived areas and the rest of the country.

SOA data provide a better picture of the number of people living in very deprived neighbourhoods within each local authority than the old ward level data did.

Telephone Masts

Anne Milton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what planning guidance his Department issues to borough councils about mobile phone networks sharing mobile phone mast sites. [30189]

Yvette Cooper: Planning policy guidance note 8: 'Telecommunications' (PPG8), makes clear the expectation that developers should provide evidence to local planning authorities that they have carefully considered the use of existing masts, buildings and other structures before seeking to erect any new mast, regardless of size. The authority may be justified in refusing prior approval or planning permissions if it considers the evidence regarding the consideration of such alternative sites is not satisfactory.

Anne Milton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he last met officials from the Department of Health to discuss the potential impact of phone masts on public health. [30190]

Yvette Cooper: I met with Melanie Johnson, the then Minister for Public Health on 27 January 2005 this year.
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