Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what contracts the Cabinet Office has awarded to (a) Geronimo Communications and (b) Tribal Communications since 1997; for what purpose each contract was issued; and what the cost was of each contract. 
Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the average length of time in office has been for (a) Cabinet Ministers, (b) Ministers of State and (c) Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State since 1976. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government remain committed to a permanent impartial civil service with appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. These principles have been confirmed in the new Civil Service Code which was launched for consultation on 27 January 2006.
Mr. Henderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what meetings officials in her Department have had with representatives of the public relations company Portland PR; what contracts Portland PR has with her Department and agencies for which she has responsibility; and what the nature of the contract is in each case. 
The Department does not maintain a central list of such meetings. Civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and business delivery. All such meetings are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Code and Guidance for civil servants on contacts with lobbyists and people outside Government.
We believe that the best way to do this is through the effective implementation of strong legislation against racial and religious discrimination and racially and religiously motivated crime, underpinned by policies and strategies to increase racial equality and community cohesion.
In recent years the Government have strengthened both the legal framework against race discrimination and the criminal penalties for offences such as incitement to racial hatred and for racially or religiously aggravated assault and criminal damage.
We have robust police and crime prosecution service policies. Additionally, crime and disorder reduction partnerships are required to consider all crime including hate crime and their local areas when determining their strategies. Tackling hate crime is an essential element of ensuring safer communities.
The Government are fully committed to engaging with faith communities at all levels and this forms a crucial part of our overall strategy of building a more inclusive, tolerant and cohesive society. Since the publication and subsequent implementation of the recommendations of the Working Together: Co-operation between Government and faith communities Report (2004) there has been substantial progress in consulting and involving faith communities in policy development across Whitehall.
We are teaching young people through the National Curriculum about citizenship and there is a statutory requirement on schools to teach about the Holocaust. Government also support the annual commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day to reinforce the message that racism and prejudice can have catastrophic consequences.
However, the Home Office established the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in 2005 to take over the responsibility for organising a national commemoration. The Government support the Trust with an annual amount of £500,000 to meet the costs of the commemoration.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been allocated in connection with the setting-up of her new Department for (a) the design and production of new logos, (b) modifications to buildings and furnishings, (c) stationery, (d) online media design, (e) re-branding and (f) other costs; and from what budgets the resources will be drawn. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department will bear down on all costs involved in setting up the Department for Communities and Local Government and have allocated a budget of £8,000 to £12,000 from the Department's corporate communications budget.
(a) the design and production of a new logotype £2,200,
(b) the modifications to buildings and furnishings, approximately £5,000,
(c) stationery, approximately £2,500.
(d) online media design £600
Angela E. Smith: The Department will bear down on the necessary costs arising from the establishment of the Department for Communities and Local Government and at all times will look to achieve best value for money for the complete exercise. Where appropriate the Department will continue to use existing Office of the Deputy Prime Minister branded materials while these stocks last.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the cost of transferring the responsibilities of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to her Department. 
Angela E. Smith [holding answer 11 May 2006]: There will be no additional public expenditure as a consequence of the Machinery of Government (MOG) changes transferring the responsibilities of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and other Departments to the new Department for Communities and Local Government.
Any costs of establishing the new Department for Communities and Local Government, such as relocation of incoming staff from other Departments' buildings, changes to signage and stationery, will be met from existing budgets.
Angela E. Smith: As set out by the Prime Minister in his letter of 9 May, responsibilities for communities, race, faith, and equalities will be brought together with the existing responsibilities of the Department for Communities and Local Government,
HR Information System (PIMS)
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how fire cover will be provided if firefighters take strike action; and what contingency planning the Government have taken in the event of strike action. 
Angela E. Smith: The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 imposes a duty on fire and rescue authorities to put in place business continuity management arrangements to ensure that they can continue to exercise their functions in the event of an emergency as far as reasonably practicable. This includes industrial action.
Mr. Woolas: Following the Gershon efficiency review, the Spending Review 2004 set the Department (as ODPM) a target to achieve at least £620 million annual efficiency gains by 2008. We have established a central efficiency programme which includes registered social landlord housing, regional development agencies, fire modernisation, homelessness, Departmental work force reduction and administration. Some £244 million in gains have been made to date and we are forecast to exceed our target. The Department's Annual Report to be published shortly will cover the latest progress.
DCLG also has responsibility for overseeing delivery of the Local Government target of £6.45 billion efficiencies from local authorities, schools and police by 2008. Councils' contribution to this is at least £3 billion. They are on track to meet and indeed exceed it. Information on activities and progress can be seen in the EfficiencyOne Year On document (www.rce.gov.uk/rce/aio/l6537).
|As at 1 April:
|Number of households on the housing waiting list
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix return (HSSA) from 2000 onwards; ODPM's Housing Investment Programme (HIP) return before 2000.
Local authorities (LAs) in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. Where the local authority maintains a common waiting list with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in their district, the list will also include households placed on the list by RSLs.
(b) The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not collect information on households on individual RSL waiting lists. However, as stated above the figures for LA waiting lists will include some households on RSL waiting lists where they operate a common list.
Not everyone on the waiting list is necessarily in urgent housing need. The waiting list also includes those who consider social housing as their preferred or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move houseparticularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time.