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Comparisons across years may not be valid due to changes in the method of reporting the information. In particular, the outturn data for 2000-01 to 2002-03 have been calculated on a non-FRS (Financial Reporting Standard) 17 basis while the outturn data for 2003-04 to 2004-05 have been calculated on an FRS 17 basis.
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the council tax liability of landlords of student properties is being considered by Sir Michael Lyons Inquiry into local government. 
Mr. Woolas: The terms of reference for Sir Michael Lyons independent inquiry into local government require him to make recommendations on how best to reform council tax. It is for Sir Michael to consider what particular aspects he should consider within those terms of reference.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether the work being undertaken by the West Midlands Regional Assembly into the implications of the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area for the West Midlands region will be integrated into the national spatial approach and the developing Midlands Way strategy; 
(2) whether the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area plans will take specific cognisance of the needs of the West Midlands region, as illustrated by the West Midlands Economic Strategy and the West Midlands Spatial Strategy; 
(4) what consideration has been given to planning in the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area for commercial developments in response to representations by the regional business community, and work undertaken by the West Midlands Regional Assembly on economic linkages between the West Midlands region and the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area. 
Yvette Cooper: The Milton Keynes South Midlands Sub-Regional Strategy sets out plans for growth in one of the four key areas identified in the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan 2003. The Strategy recognises the important connections that already exist with other areasnotably London and the West Midlands conurbationand that these must continue to be developed. Local partners will continue to work together across the regions to ensure these connections are strengthened.
The growth area provides opportunities for businesses in the East and West Midlands. Consultants are currently developing proposals for the Midlands Way on behalf of a Steering Group which is led by the two Regional Development Agencies and includes the Government Offices, Assemblies, business and local authority partners. The West Midlands Business Council has been leading a group which is considering the implications of the Milton Keynes South Midlands Growth Area and the results are being fed through to the Midlands Way Steering Group. The Midlands Way is likely to have a strong economic focus and links to neighbouring areas, both north and south will be reflected in its actions.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what criteria the decision was made not to include West Midlands regional public agencies on the Inter Regional Board for the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area; and whether this decision will be reviewed. 
Yvette Cooper: The Milton Keynes South Midlands Inter-regional Board was established in 2004 to facilitate the delivery of sustainable growth within the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area. The Inter-regional Board brings together senior representatives from agencies with responsibility for growth points within the growth area, which includes the relevant agencies from East of England, East Midlands, and South East regions.
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of provision for black and ethnic minority communities in the Kensington New Deal Project in Liverpool. 
Mr. Woolas: Last year Kensington Regeneration undertook the annual performance management framework assessment, which included the mandatory theme of diversity and equality. Kensington Regenerations self-assessed score was good and this was confirmed by the Audit Commissions moderation.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment his Department has made of the capability of Chester city council adequately to address planning applications for developments with national environmental and employment implications 
Local planning authorities such as Chester city council are responsible for day-to-day planning matters in their administrative areas, including the determination of planning applications. Successive governments have taken the view that local authorities should be free to carry out their responsibilities with the minimum of interference from central Government since they are ultimately answerable to their electorate for discharging their duties.
Jeremy Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations her Department has received regarding draft Planning Policy Statement 3, on housing density and infill development. 
Yvette Cooper: The former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received a number of representations, following the consultation exercise which closed on 27 February, on the application of the density policies set out in draft Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing (PPS3) to small scale infill development. The Department for Communities and Local Government will be taking these representations into account in finalising the draft policy, and will publish a summary of them when publishing PPS3 in its final form later this year.
The 2004 Barker Review of Housing Supply recommended that Regional Planning Bodies and Regional Housing Boards be merged. The Government have now formally invited the eight
regional assemblies to add this housing responsibility to their existing planning role later this year.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not normally provide funding directly to any Urban Regeneration Company (URC). Instead, funding is provided by the partners in each URC; this covers, separately, revenue and capital costs. The usual partners of a URC comprise the local Regional Development Agency (RDA), the local authority or authorities, and English Partnerships (EP). The table shows the estimated revenue funding provided to the individual URCs for the latest financial year, 2005-06. Allocations for previous years were of a similar order for each URC. Note that URCs have been created at different times over the past seven years.
Information on funding allocations for capital projects in each URC is not held centrally. Funding for capital projects is not normally provided directly to the URCs; rather, expenditure on projects is incurred by the partners themselves, on the basis of strategies agreed with the URCs.
Exceptionally, and in addition to the above quoted data, ODPM does provide special direct funding to the URC in Peterborough, under the Growth Areas programme, and to the URC in Southend, as part of the Thames Gateway programme; this is done to support the work that these two companies are carrying out under these initiatives, in addition to their standard URC regeneration activities.
|Revenue Allocations to URCs, 2005-06|
| Notes: 1. Blackpool, Lowestoft/Yarmouth and West Lakes do not receive revenue funding from English Partnerships (EP). 2. Southend gets another £250,000 from ODPM directly, as part of Thames Gateway operation; Peterborough gets another £315,000 from Growth Area funds. 3. Blackpool, Peterborough, Salford, Southend and Lowestoft/Yarmouth were established only towards the end of FY 2005-06. 4. In addition to the above, funders pay the URCs' VAT on their contributions.|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which countries have funded alternative livelihoods programmes in Afghanistan; what funding each provided in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005; and what funding is forecast for 2006. 
Hilary Benn: Alternative livelihoods help people in the transition from income from poppy to income from legal activities. Alternative livelihoods activities include assisting farmers to acquire assets and creating a favourable regulatory and institutional environment for non-poppy farming.
According to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) a total of US$490 million of international aid was committed to Alternative Livelihoods in Afghanistan in the Afghan year 2005-06. There are no reliable collective figures for international aid prior to this date.
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