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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what overseas conferences staff from her Department will attend in the next 12 months; and what conferences stafffrom the predecessor department attended in the last 12 months. 
Angela E. Smith: Staff from the Department for Communities and Local Government have attended a number of conferences overseas in the last 12 months. However, there is no centrally held record of these and to compile one could be done only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list the regional e-Government partnerships in England; and what the budget was for each in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
South West Region
North West Electronic Gov Group
West Midlands SMART Region
East of England Region
East Midlands reg. e-Gov Partnership
North East Connects
South East Forum for e-Government
Yorkshire and Humber e-region Partnership.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been allocated to the (a) North East Regional Smartcard Consortium and (b) North East Trusted Service Infrastructure. 
(2) how many fire authorities have reviewed their relevant policies and functions in respect of racial equality in accordance with Commission for Racial Equality guidance and published the results. 
Angela E. Smith: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, my hon. Friend may be interested to know that in 2004 the Chief Fire Officers Association developed an Equality Impact Assessment Toolkit to support fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) in complying with the requirements of the Race Relation (Amendment) Act 2000 to ensure that all new policies, procedures, plans and practices have been assessed for impact with regard to race. It included a template for review and update of FRA race equality schemes. In 2005 the toolkit was circulated so that all FRAs could carry out equality impact assessments and a number of regional workshops were held to provide training for policy officers and equality and diversity professionals within the service.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding resources have been provided to fire authorities in order to facilitate the implementation of their race equality schemes. 
Angela E. Smith: Under the Provisions of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 fire and rescue authorities have a statutory duty to develop and implement race equality schemes for their organisations. Funding for this function is provided through the revenue support grant allocated to each authority.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire
appliances the Army has for providing fire cover; and how old the appliance is in each case. 
Angela E. Smith: The armed forces have no fire appliances for providing emergency fire cover. In accordance with the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework 2006 to 2008, fire and rescue authorities are expected to supply all fire appliances and equipment required to provide emergency fire and rescue cover.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has received the Fire Brigade Union's alternative proposals for emergency control centres, Regional Controls: National Resilience; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: A copy of proposals was sent to the Deputy Prime Minister at the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 25 January 2005 by FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack. He and my predecessor the hon. Member for Poplar and Canning Town(Jim Fitzpatrick) subsequently met with Mr. Wrack on 7 February to discuss the proposals.
We welcome the FBU's recognition of the need to strengthen national resilience. On the basis of the limited details available in the document, we do not believe that the proposals offer a viable alternative to the FiReControl project. They would not provide a genuinely resilient solution and would be likely to increase costs.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firemen were killed while on duty in (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) the Tees Valley in each year since 1997. 
|Firefighters killed while attending a fire, 1997 to 2005|
|England||North East||Tees Valley|
Fire and Rescue Service FDR1 returns to ODPM.
Michael Gove: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment on the aesthetic quality of homes built under the Government's Sustainable Communities Programme; and if he will make a statement. 
ODPM Ministers have held a series of meetings with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and have invited CABE to wider meetings and events. Matters for discussion have included the quality and design of new homes. CABE representatives are also considering a programme of work on improving design in the Thames Gateway.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what he expects the average market price of his Departments £60,000 home to be in (a) Milton Keynes and (b) each region when the first homes are made available to the public. 
Yvette Cooper: The Design for Manufacture competition is being run by English Partnerships on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. It is anticipated that there will be mixed tenure on each site, with some homes being available for affordable rent, some under shared equity and some for private sale.
The aim of the competition is to demonstrate how to build cost-effectively across a range of housing types without sacrificing quality. The target is for high-quality 76.5 square metre home to be built for a construction cost of £60,000 or less with larger and smaller homes being built at a similar cost-efficiency. Each of the 10 sites chosen for the Design for Manufacture competition by English Partnerships is being sold to the successful developers in the usual way. Developers will be responsible for determining the final sales price for dwellings for full sale. Actual sales costs will be known once the homes are built on site and details finalised in accordance with market conditions at the time. Homes available through shared equity schemes on the first four sites are expected to cost £55,000 to £70,000 for a 50 per cent. share.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will call in the application by Kilmartin Property Group for a retail development in Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, for consideration alongside the other major retail applications in Berwick-upon-Tweed which she has already called in. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 9 May 2006]: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is already giving very careful consideration to whether she should intervene in the application by Kilmartin Property Group for retail development at Ord Road, Tweedmouth.
The local planning authority, Berwick-upon-Tweed borough council, consulted the Secretary of State on 19 April 2006 in accordance with her Shopping Direction. She expects to make a decision in the very near future on whether to intervene, taking her policy on calling-in planning applications into account. In the meantime, the council has been directed not to grant planning permission for the proposed development without further authorisation from the Secretary of State.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to publish proposals on reforming the legislation on the political restrictions on local government employees. 
Mr. Woolas: Our Discussion Paper, Standards of Conduct in English Local Government, published on 15 December 2005, included our proposals for changes to the legislation on the political restrictions relating to local government employees.
Mr. Woolas: Subject to their legal duties, including the duty of best value and public procurement law, local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions. The duty of best value as laid down in the Local Government Act 1999 requires authorities to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which they exercise their functions, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. This includes the duty they are under in relation to procurement.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information local authority planning departments provide to Ordnance Survey in relation to (a) individual planning andbuilding permissions, (b) change of use, (c) starts and (d) completions. 
Angela E. Smith: Ordnance Survey receives information from many, though not all, local authorities. There is no uniform format or frequency for the provision of such information, and items received vary from copies of planning committee decisions to very detailed site plans. Some information is received electronically although most is in paper form. The information received can include some or all of the categories mentioned in the question.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant tothe answer to the hon. Member for Meriden(Mrs. Spelman), of 20 January 2006, Official Report, column 1694W, on Ordnance Survey, which external suppliers have provided aerial photographs. 
Simmons Aerofilms Limited
BKS Surveys Limited
IGN France International
Angela E. Smith: Ordnance Survey has not used satellite photography for production purposes in the last five years. However, it has evaluated the potential of satellite imagery to meet current and future business needs. This has included an assessment of data from the Quickbird, Ikonos and Spot5 high resolution satellites for potential use in change detection and feature extraction applications.
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