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Firefighters

Norman Lamb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether there are incentives for employers to allow employees (a) to start and (b) to continue to work as retained firefighters; and whether he plans to introduce measures to ensure that employees are not penalised for working as retained firefighters. [53332]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Individual fire and rescue services are working closely with local businesses to encourage them to release staff for Retained Duty System (RDS) duties. Currently there are no national incentives for employers to allow employees to become RDS firefighters; however, officials in ODPM are exploring the possibility of a variety of incentive schemes.

The Government recognise that the support of employers is vital to ensure that RDS firefighters can carry out their role effectively. Therefore ODPM are working with the Federation of Small Businesses, CBI and the Public and Voluntary sectors to inform employers of the benefits and responsibilities of supporting staff who are RDS firefighters.

Halfway Reservoirs, Sheppey

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the capacity of reservoirs one and two in Halfway, Sheppey. [55106]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department has made no specific assessment of reservoirs one and two in Halfway, Sheppey. However, the water company responsible, Southern Water, has a duty to maintain reservoirs under their ownership. The regulation of reservoirs below a threshold of 25,000 cubic metres is managed by the Health and Safety Executive.

In the event that any concerns regarding the impact of reservoirs, or their operation, are considered not to be addressed by the water company responsible, then these should be taken to the Consumer Council for Water.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 9 February 2006, Official Report, column 1425W, on local government finance, whether his Department (a) engaged in and (b) commissioned (i) research and (ii) preparatory work, independent of the Lyons Inquiry, on the council tax revaluation prior to the decision to postpone the revaluation. [54541]

Mr. Woolas: I have nothing to add to the answers given to the hon. Member for Meriden of 14 November 2005, Official Report, column l030W; 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2063W; 30 November 2005, Official Report, column 585W; and 9 February 2006, Official Report, column 1425.
 
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Paddy Tipping: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was allocated to Nottinghamshire county council for (a) 2006–07 and (b) each year since 1996–97 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms. [54744]

Mr. Woolas: Over the period requested, Nottinghamshire county council has received formula grant from Government in support of the discharge of certain of its functions. On the 1 April 1998, the city of Nottingham took on the functions of the county council in its area, becoming a unitary authority. The following table therefore shows the formula grant for Nottinghamshire prior to reorganisation. A like-for-like comparison between years is not possible for this period.

Formula Grant
Formula Grant at 2004–05 prices
1996–97486.681588.590
1997–98489.633575.153

The following table shows the formula grant for Nottinghamshire after the reorganisation.
In cash terms
Previous year's adjusted formula grantCurrent year's formula grantChangePercentage change
1998–99344.555343.512-1.043-0.3
1999–2000343.512362.30918.7975.5
2000–01362.308380.65418.3465.1
2001–02378.755393.97715.2224.0
2002–03370.423392.12921.7065.9
2003–04408.973439.73530.7627.5
2004–05426.862453.19426.3316.2
2005–06457.370481.61824.2495.3
2006–07123.556127.8984.3423.5

At 2004–05 prices
Previous year's adjusted formula grantCurrent year's formula grantChangePercentage change
1998–99404.735393.309-11.426-2.8
1999–2000393.309406.82413.5153.4
2000–01406.823421.89915.0763.7
2001–02419.794426.1376.3431.5
2002–03400.661411.07910.4192.6
2003–04428.738449.11220.3744.8
2004–05435.965453.19417.2284.0
2005–06457.370470.43613.0662.9
2006–07120.688121.9301.2421.0

Please note that the decrease in formula grant in 2006–07 reflects the change in the method of funding for schools. From 2006/07, schools will be funded via the Dedicated Schools Grant rather than formula grant.

In addition to the amount of formula grant Nottinghamshire receives it also receives additional funding for services through special and specific grants. These are not available on a like-for-like basis.

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many special grants have been issued to local authorities, since January 2001; and for what purposes. [54797]

Mr. Woolas: Since 2001, 59 special grants have been made under the special grant procedures in section 88b of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, and 270 grants made under section 31 of the Local Government
 
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Finance Act 2003. These grants for both capital and revenue expenditure, were made for the following purposes:

Education

Personal Social Services


 
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Fire and Civil Contingencies

Environmental, Cultural and Protective Services

Unallocated


 
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Derek Wyatt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was held in reserves by each (a) county council, (b) unitary authority and (c) district council in England on 1 February. [55104]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Information on local authority reserves levels as at 1 February is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. A table has been made available in the Library of the House showing levels of revenue reserves as at 1 April 2004 for each county council, unitary authority and district council in England.

The data are as reported from local authorities and are taken from Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) Revenue Summary (RS) returns for 2004–05.


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