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Thames Gateway

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what provision there will be for (a) older people, (b) disabled people and (c) families with children in the new housing planned for the Thames Gateway. [33307]

Yvette Cooper: New housing developments in the Thames Gateway, as elsewhere, are required to follow national planning policy for housing as set out in planning policy guidance note 3: Housing" (PPG3). PPG3 expects new developments to meet the housing requirements of the whole community, including those in need of affordable and special needs housing. It seeks to provide wider housing opportunity and choice, and a better mix in the size, type and location of housing than is currently available so that new housing meets the diverse range of needs across the social spectrum—including those of older people, disabled people and families with children. The Government also require new housing to be well-designed in order to create attractive, high-quality living environments in which people will choose to live.

The Government are now consulting on a new national policy framework for planning for housing through draft planning policy statement 3 which was published on 5 December 2005.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list public sector organisations involved in the regeneration of the Thames Gateway. [33308]

Yvette Cooper: The key partners are identified in Creating Sustainable Communities: Delivering the Thames Gateway" (page 52), which sets out the Government's vision for and commitment to the Gateway. The Thames Gateway spans 40 miles north and south of the Thames and includes 16 local authorities. Therefore there are a large number of local organisations involved in regeneration projects in different parts of the
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Gateway. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister therefore announced on the 23 November that we will be publishing a strategic framework to help shape and guide investments, decisions and actions by Government and our delivery partners across the Thames Gateway.

Town and County Planning Act

Greg Clark: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many certificates were granted under section 191 of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 in each of the last 10 years. [32658]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Transport Innovation Fund

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much of the Transport Innovation Fund is to be allocated to the growth areas in each year for which information is available. [34091]

Yvette Cooper: The Transport Innovation Fund will support:

The Fund is expected to increase from £290 million 2008–09 to over £2 billion by 2014–15. None of these funds have yet been allocated. However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport recently announced on 28 November 2005, Official Report, column 3WS, that seven areas would receive development funding to work up demand management proposals. These included Cambridge, which is part of the London-Stansted-Cambridge-Peterborough Growth Area.

Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the Valuation Office Agency has made of the number of domestic properties in England with (a) patios, (b) greenhouses and (c) scenic views. [33483]

Mr. Woolas: None.


Animal Experiments

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of animals used for experimentation were genetically modified, in the last year for which figures are available broken down by species . [30479]

Andy Burnham: In 2003, the last year for which information is available, there were around 764,000 procedures on genetically modified animals, which represented 27 per cent. of all regulated procedures reported in that year. The number of actual animals used is very close to the number of procedures, because nearly all animals are used once only.
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The number of procedures carried out on animals carrying a genetic modification, broken down by species and type of procedure, is given in tables three and 3.3 of the annual publication Statistics of scientific procedures on living animals, Great Britain, 2003 (Cm 6291), a copy of which is in the Library. Over 97 per cent. of genetically modified animals used in 2003 were mice; most of the remainder were fish.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate are directly employed in making initial decisions on asylum claims, broken down by civil service grade. [20491]

Mr. McNulty: The number of caseworkers making initial decisions on asylum claims in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate are as follows:

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Libyan nationals claimed asylum in the UK in each year since 2000. [33593]

Mr. McNulty: The table shows the number of asylum applications (excluding dependants) from Libyan nationals from 2000 to Q3 2005, by year. Information on asylum applications is published in quarterly web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom. Copies of these publications and others relating to general immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at
Asylum applications(17) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, by year, 2000 to Q3 2005—nationals of Libya

TotalPortIn country
Q1 to Q3 2005(18)95590

(17)Figures rounded to nearest 5.
(18)Provisional figures.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what process the National Asylum Support Service awards contracts for housing asylum seekers; what safeguards are in place to ensure that best value is obtained; what terms and conditions are imposed on agencies which contract with providers of accommodation to ensure that they obtain the cheapest and best accommodation available; what process is available for unsuccessful tenderers to challenge decisions; what monitoring is undertaken by his Department to ensure transparency and absence of collusion between agencies and housing providers; and if he will make a statement. [34125]

Mr. McNulty: The procurement process to award contracts for housing asylum seekers is based on best practice guidelines and managed under the EU
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Procurement directive (Negotiated Procedure). Contracts are developed to meet the strategic aims of delivering business continuity, flexibility, value for money and maintaining community cohesion. Unsuccessful tenderers have a right of challenge under the EU directive and all challenges will be dealt with according to the EU guidance and in line with Home Office policy. As part of the procurement process all parties are expected to sign a confidentiality and non-collusion agreement and there is an auditable record of all communication between the purchasing agency and the bidding organisations.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with EU Ministers about illegal immigration from North Africa into the EU; and if he will make a statement. [35301]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 5 December 2005]: The Home Secretary has held various discussions with other EU Ministers about illegal immigration from North Africa, both bilaterally and at EU level, including at recent JHA Councils and at the G5 in Evian. It has been a UK presidency priority to make progress on this issue.

Illegal migration across the Mediterranean is an humanitarian problem affecting source, transit and host countries alike. Discussions have focused on the need to take urgent action to prevent loss of life at sea, tackle human trafficking and assist transit countries in North Africa to build capacity to manage migration flows more effectively. In parallel, there is a need for the EU and African countries to work in partnership to develop a comprehensive, long-term approach to strengthen and enhance dialogue and practical co-operation and to address the root causes of migration.

This approach was recognised by EU Heads of State at the informal summit in London on 27 October 2005 and is strongly reflected in the Commission Communication on Priority actions for improving migration management published on 30 November 2005. The communication focuses on concrete actions that can be carried out quickly with sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean countries, as the first step in this long-term approach.

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