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Mr. Hands: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new mobile telephone masts have been erected under permitted development rights in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in each year since 1997. 
Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend, the Member for Coventry, South on 2 November 2005, Official Report, column 1066W.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions have taken place between his Department and the Department for Education and Skills on the provision of a university for Peterborough. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: There have been no discussions between the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Education and Skills on the provision of a University for Peterborough.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to implement planning controls on mezzanine and other internal floor space additions. 
Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects a further batch of development control measures contained in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to be implemented in the next few months.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister on what date London's existing regional fire control centre became operational. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The London-wide control centre started taking calls on 20 April 2004.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what was the cost to the public purse of the five cases investigated by the Standards Board for England in the Peterborough city council area since September 2004; and what the outcome was of each investigation. 
Mr. Woolas: Officers of the Standards Board for England (SBE) have investigated seven cases involving members of Peterborough city council in the period since September 2004. These are listed, along with the outcome of each case:
SBE case reference: 3770.03 and 3814.03
Outcome: Member disqualified for 2 years. Following High Court appeal, decision upheld, but sanction reduced to 1 year suspension.
Taking into account the average cost of an investigation (£7,000) and the cost of various APE hearings and High Court appeals, the total cost incurred by the Board in respect of these cases is about £143,200.
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what level of public support is required for eligibility for a new (a) town and (b) parish council; and how that support is required to be demonstrated. 
Mr. Woolas: Under the Local Government and Rating Act 1997, there are two ways in which a new town or parish council can be established both requiring different ways of demonstrating public support.
Section 11 of the Act provides for a petition to be raised for the creation of a new parish in a previously unparished area. For a petition to be considered valid it must be signed by not less than 250 or 10 per cent. of local government electors in the area of the proposed parish, whichever is the greater.
Section 9 of the Act provides that a district council may conduct a review of parish arrangements in their area and make recommendations to the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister for the establishment of a new parish. Under section 10 of the Act district councils must take steps they consider sufficient to inform persons who may be interested in reviews and proposals and take into consideration any representations made to them.
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria on (a) the minimum size of a community and (b) other matters are used to determine suitability for creation of a new town council. 
Mr. Woolas: In determining suitability for the creation of a new town council, the statutory criteria are the need to reflect the identities and interests of local communities, and to secure effective and convenient local government. Section 16(2) of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997 requires that a parish with 200 or more electors must have a parish council.
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his policy is on the creation of new town councils. 
Mr. Woolas: Where there is a desire by local people for the creation of new town and parish councils and provided that the proposals received meet the provisions set out in section 22 of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will create such councils.
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many applications for new (a) town and (b) parish councils have been (i) submitted and (ii) successful in each of the last five years. 
The following table shows for each year since 1 April 2001 the number of parishes created from which town and parish councils are set up. Records of applications received are not comprehensive over this period.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 433W
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his target time is for dealing with each part of the process relating to applications to create a new town council; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Following receipt, proposals to create a new town or parish council need to be examined to ensure that they comply with the legislation and that they meet the statutory criteria. In addition, maps need to be commissioned showing the proposed parish, and there is a period of consultation of up to six weeks on the content of the draft Order that will implement new parish arrangements. It presently takes between six to nine months for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to complete these stages.
Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what submissions his Department has received from Castle Point borough council on the establishment of a Canvey town council. 
Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received a petition via Castle Point borough council for the establishment of a Canvey Island town council on 17 January 2006.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level of detected benefit fraud in each of the last six years was; and if he will estimate what the level of undetected fraud was in each year. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following table.
|Cases of detected fraud||Prosecutions||Convictions|
We do not collect information on the level of detected benefit fraud from local authorities. The level of housing benefit overpaid due to fraud has been estimated from 200203 onwards and reported as National Statistics.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 434W
The latest published estimates for the percentage of housing expenditure overpaid due to fraud (within the scope of the sample) is 1.5 per cent. in 200203 and 200304. The estimate is based on a sample of cases and is therefore subject to sampling error. Estimates for 200405 are due to be published on 19 January 2006.
We have no estimate of undetected fraud.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of benefit fraud were detected in each of the last six years; and how many of these have resulted in (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the table.
|Cases of detected fraud||Prosecutions||Convictions|
We do not collect information on the number of benefit fraud cases detected by local authorities. The number of attempted prosecutions and convictions undertaken by local authorities is given in the table:
|Number of court summons issued (prosecutions")||Number of successful prosecutions (convictions")|
|200506 (Q1 and Q2 only)||3,336||2,892|
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many fraud inspectors there have been in his Department to investigate (a) incapacity benefit fraud and (b) other benefit fraud in each year since 1997. 
Benefit fraud investigators in the Department for Work and Pensions deal with allegations of benefit fraud relating to all benefits administered by this department. we do not employ a specific number of staff to investigate incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance fraud.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 435W
The table shows available information on the number of investigators employed by the Department.
In addition, from April 2006 we are introducing new Customer Compliance Officers to tackle low-level abuse that cannot be taken through the criminal courts.
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