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London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Mr. Hands: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much public money has been provided to the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in (a) revenue and (b) capital grants in each year since 1996–97. [41609]

Mr. Woolas: The amount of central government funding provided to the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in each year since 1996–97 is tabled as follows.

The data are taken from Revenue Summary (RS) returns for 1996–97 to 2004–05.

Central government funding is defined here as the sum of Specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance (AEF) and Formula grant (Revenue Support Grant, Redistributed business rates and Police Grant).

Specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance are those revenue grants paid for councils' core services (such as waste collection), excluding funding for local authorities' housing management.

Comparisons across years may not be valid due to changing local authority responsibilities.

The information excludes those grant programmes, such as European funding, where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.

The information requested on capital grants is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Neighbourhood Wardens (Haringey)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will increase funding for neighbourhood wardens in the London borough of Haringey; and if he will make a statement. [42634]

Jim Fitzpatrick: There are no plans to increase funding for neighbourhood wardens schemes in Haringey.

North-East Lincolnshire Council

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many findings of maladministration there have been against North East Lincolnshire council since 2003; and if he will provide a summary for each case. [42972]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Since 2003, the local government ombudsman has issued two formal public reports setting out findings of maladministration. The local government ombudsman's summaries are set out as follows:
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1. North East Lincolnshire council (03/C604) social services for children (report issued 11 March 2004).

'John Swift' (not his real name for legal reasons) is a young person whose care is the responsibility of the council. He complains about the standard of care he received in a foster placement and that the council failed to consider his complaints properly.

The ombudsman found that there was inadequate preparation before and during the early part of the John's placement with his foster parents. She was also critical of the council's failure to have guidance for foster carers about whether and when it might be appropriate to ask fostered young people to be out of the house when the foster carer was not present.

The Ombudsman recommended that the council should:

The council has agreed, and the ombudsman considers this will remedy the injustice caused by the maladministration identified.

2. North East Lincolnshire council (03/C/4267 and 7084) public rights of way (report issued 15 December 2005).

Mr Jennings' and 'Mr Crosby' (not their real names) complained about the obstruction of a footpath near their homes. The footpath had been inaccessible for its whole length for a number of years despite complaints and representations from a number of people and the Ramblers Association. The ombudsman had been critical of Humberside county council, by public report, for its failure to take action to reopen this footpath.

This problem was one inherited by the council from its predecessor, Humberside county council. The council was aware of this problem at the time, and indeed considered the matter at committee level in October 1996. Nothing more was done though until 2005 when another committee took action which is likely to re-establish this footpath.

The ombudsman acknowledged the financial difficulties which had confronted the council and made prioritising work and expenditure difficult, but she had to remind the council that Parliament had placed upon the council a statutory duty to assert and protect the rights of the public to use and enjoy public footpaths. The failure here to respond to this statutory duty was, in the ombudsman's view, maladministration. The ombudsman felt this was aggravated by the failures of both the council and its predecessor to comply with recommendations contained in the previous report issued about this matter.

Although the ombudsman commended the council for the action it is taking now, she was critical of the time taken to reach this point. The ombudsman felt that the council's failure to respond to the previous report, and the failure over many years to take any effective action, reflected very poorly on the council.

The council has now instigated action which should resolve this matter and re-establish the footpath. However the ombudsman felt that the complainants had
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been put to great trouble in being forced to pursue their complaints as they did and, commending their patience, felt that the council should pay each of them £500 to compensate them for their time and trouble.

Planning Applications

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many planning applications were appealed in respect of proposals to replace houses and bungalows with flats in each of the last five years. [42216]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures are in place to ensure that planning applications that are in the eight-week target category, but which are not processed by a local planning authority within eight weeks, are not then given a lower priority than other applications where the target is achievable. [41567]

Yvette Cooper: The Government has set a target for all local authorities to determine 65 per cent. of 'minor' applications, and 80 per cent. of 'other' applications, within eight weeks, by 31 March 2007. These figures are set in recognition that not all such applications may be capable of being decided within the eight-week period. However, the Government also provides incentives, through Planning Delivery Grant, for authorities to decide a higher proportion within time scales. As announced in December some of the Planning Delivery Grant would be used to reward authorities for effective management of their application processes, including ensuring that they do not have unacceptable backlogs.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Department consults the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs before it publishes new (a) planning regulations and (b) housing plans. [39902]

Yvette Cooper: Yes. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister consults all other interested Government Departments including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs before publishing or consulting on new planning regulations, or new housing planning policy statements.

Primary Care Trusts

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions Ministers and officials in his Department had with their counterparts in the Department of Health on the reorganisation of primary care trusts in Kent and Medway prior to the publication on 14 December 2005 by Kent and Medway strategic health authority of the consultation on new strategic health authority and primary care trust arrangements in Kent and Medway. [42200]

Mr. Woolas: Ministers and officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have had a number of discussions with their Department of Health counterparts about the potential interaction with local government of the proposals for reorganising Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across England, including Kent and Medway.
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