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Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment
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she has made of truancy levels in schools in (a) Hull North constituency, (b) Kingston upon Hull and (c) England; [64099]

(2) how many hours of school were missed due to truancy in each academic year between 1997 and 2005 in (a) Hull North constituency, (b) Kingston upon Hull and (c) England. [64101]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not hold data on the number of hours of school missed due to truancy or the levels of truancy. In 2005, the proportion of half day sessions missed due to unauthorised absence (of which truancy forms a part) in maintained primary schools in Kingston upon Hull North Constituency was 0.60 per cent. and for maintained secondary schools 1.31 per cent. For Kingston upon Hull local authority 0.57 per cent. of half days were missed in primary schools and 2.78 per cent. in secondary schools. The comparative figures for England were 0.43 per cent. for primary schools and 1.23 per cent. for secondary schools. In September 2005, the Government announced a drive against pupils with high unauthorised absences in 146 secondary schools
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which account for 1 in 5 of all instances of unauthorised absence across the country. We have now extended this to cover 198 secondary schools and an estimated 13,000 pupils. This drive will provide an intensive package of support and challenge to these pupils and their families.

University Principals

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether (a) the Government or (b) any of its agencies have power to direct the governing body of (i) a university to dismiss a vice-chancellor or (ii) a college of higher education to dismiss a principal. [64462]

Bill Rammell: All universities and colleges of higher education are legally independent corporate bodies. Therefore, neither the Government nor any of its agencies have the power to direct the governing body of such an institution in any of its internal affairs, including dismissal of staff.

Youth Opportunity Fund

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the resources to be made available to West Lancashire District Council under her Youth Opportunity Fund initiative. [64227]

Maria Eagle: The Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF) and the Youth Capital Fund (YCF), which was also announced in the 'Youth Green Paper: Youth Matters', were allocated to local authorities from April 2006. The funds are designed to enable local authorities to develop new approaches to strategic investment in youth facilities, particularly in deprived neighbourhoods. Extra resource was made available for the YOF and YCF in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report in December 2005. A total of £115 million is available for both funds over 2006–08.

The allocation for both funds for Lancashire local authority is £657,899 a year for two years for the Youth Opportunity Fund and £569,031 a year for two years for the Youth Capital Fund. The funds are ring fenced and can only be spent on activities and facilities that young people want.

Each local authority is responsible for disseminating the funds within in its area. Therefore, I am unable to provide information about the amounts allocated below local authority level to show the funding for West Lancashire district council.


Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate his Department has made of the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from (a) new house-building and (b) the retrofitting and reuse of buildings; and if he will make a statement. [55797]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 March 2006]: In support of the Government response to the Barker Review of Housing Supply, the department has carried out Sustainability Impact Study. This study includes an
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assessment of the embodied energy associated with new house building and of the energy used within new homes. A report of the findings of this study was published in December 2005 and is available on the ODPM website.

The BRE's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) can be used to rate the environmental impact of building materials used and to assess the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in use for new and refurbished buildings.

Council Tax

Anne Milton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many properties in (a) Guildford, (b) Waverley and (c) Surrey are eligible for a 50 per cent. council tax rebate. [64352]

Mr. Woolas: There were 30 properties in Guildford, 115 properties in Waverley and a total of 1,901 properties in the 11 local authorities in Surrey that were eligible for a 50 per cent. council tax discount as at 19 September 2005.

The figures are as reported by local authorities to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on the CTB1 and CTB1(S) forms.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the (a) average and (b) band D council tax was in each local authority in Yorkshire in (i) 2002–03 and (ii) 2006–07. [64319]

Mr. Woolas: Details of the council tax levels in each local authority in Yorkshire in 2002–03 and 2006–07 are published on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. The details can be found under "Information For Taxpayers" at "Council Taxes" at: This includes the average council tax per property and the average band D council tax.

Haven Gateway

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of the total amount of public money spent on the Haven Gateway Partnership up to 31 March 2006 was spent on (a) direct and indirect salaries, (b) public relations and communications, (c) capital infrastructure and (d) consultancy fees; and how much public funding has been allocated to the Partnership to 31 March 2006. [64265]

Alun Michael: I have been asked to reply.

Since its formation in May 2001 until 31 March 2006, the Haven Gateway Partnership has, received £1.641 million of funding to support its role as a Sub Regional Economic Partnership. As a percentage of this funding the expenditure breakdown is as follows: 20.5 per cent. on salaries, 18.4 per cent. on public relations and communications, 32.3 per cent. on capital infrastructure and 2.8 per cent. On consultancy fees.

Housing Act

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement on the role of
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NowMedical in determining the vulnerability of those applying as homeless under part VII of the Housing Act 1996; [32540]

(2) whether the Homelessness and Housing Support Directorate has encouraged local authorities to use NowMedical to determine the vulnerability of those applying as homeless under part VII of the Housing Act 1996; [32541]

(3) if he will commission research into the accuracy of decisions being made by private companies providing paper-based assessments of the vulnerability of homeless applicants. [32542]

Yvette Cooper: It is for local housing authorities to satisfy themselves whether individual housing applicants may be owed a duty under part 7 of the Housing Act 1997, and, if so which duty. As part of this, they will need to decide whether an applicant who is eligible for assistance has a priority need for accommodation. In cases where the applicant may have a priority need because of vulnerability due to a medical condition, the authority, may wish to seek a specialist medical opinion to help inform their decision, and should have regard to any medical or social services advice obtained. We have no plans to commission research into the accuracy of such advice at present.

Officials in the Homelessness and Housing Support Directorate work with local authorities to encourage good practice on preventing and administering homelessness. This includes sharing information on a wide range of specialist advisory services which other authorities have found useful. In providing this factual information, officials are advised to avoid making recommendations of any kind, and to stress that it is for authorities to decide which services to use and which providers to employ. Where an authority seeks specialist advice from any organisation to assist in making such decisions, they will need to satisfy themselves that the advice is soundly-based and reliable. Whatever advice is received the ultimate decision on vulnerability must rest with the local authority.

Applicants have the right to request an authority to review certain decisions, including a decision that the applicant does not have priority need because he or she is not vulnerable. If they are dissatisfied with a decision on review (or a review decision is not made within the prescribed time scale) they have the right to appeal to the county court on a point of law.

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