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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will publish her Departments latest response to the European Commission setting out a timetable for implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. 
Yvette Cooper: The European Commission has been notified that implementation of the technical requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is through an amendment of the Building Regulations. These measures came into effect on 6 April 2006. A copy of the Statutory Instrument and Transposition Note that sets out how these regulations implement the directive has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.
There is a three-year derogation period, to apply fully the requirements in the directive for energy certificates and plant inspections. I expect to make a further announcement and to notify the European Commission soon about implementation of these procedural requirements.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the expenditure on (a) staffing and (b) office and other overheads of the Government Office for London was in each of the last 10 years. 
|Pay costs||Non-pay/ accommodation costs||Total|
Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Under the Anti-social Behaviour Act, local authorities may require remedial works to hedges but not their removal.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer
about the likely impact of home information packs on the housing market; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government have worked with Her Majesty's Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Trade and Industry on different aspects of the Home Information Packs (HIPs). The purpose of HIPs is to increase the efficiency of the housing market.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received from the tourist industry in (a) Southend-on-Sea, (b) Essex and (c) England about a possible tax on hotel rooms; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: I have received 16 representations from, or on behalf of, the tourist industry about the possibility of a tourist tax in England. Of these, one originated in Essex, but none from Southend-on-Sea.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will undertake a review, drawing on international research and experience, of the effect of a hotel, tourist or bed tax; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: My Department does not have any plans to undertake such a review. Sir Michael Lyons is carrying out an independent inquiry to make recommendations for the reform of council tax, and to analyse the options for shifting the balance of funding, including the potential for other possible local taxes and charges. He will submit his final report and recommendations at the end of 2006. The Government will not take any decisions on changes to local government finance until they have had the chance to consider and reflect on Sir Michaels report.
Yvette Cooper: The Government have allocated a significant increase in funding for the East of England for 2006-08, much of which will be invested in new affordable housing. In West Suffolk, the Regional Housing Board for the East of England has allocated just over £5.5 million over 2006-08, which is expected to deliver 214 new affordable units, via the Housing Corporation's National Affordable Housing Programme.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will consider introducing a performance-related incentive
scheme for the provision of affordable housing units by local authorities. 
Yvette Cooper: Local targets for affordable housing provision are set by local authorities, based on their assessment of local housing need. The Government are considering a range of options for increasing the supply of new affordable housing.
Mr. Woolas: The Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004 (IMD 2004) combines a number of indicators, chosen to cover a range of economic, social and housing issues into a single deprivation score for each lower layer super output area (SOA) (there are 32,482 SOAs in England), and are relative measurements between SOAs.
Health and Disability deprivation
Education, skills and training deprivation
Barriers to Housing and Services
Each of these domains is made up of a number of indicators, which best reflect the different dimensions of deprivation. The Index is based on 37 indicators in total. The indicators and domains are weighted and brought together to form the IMD 2004.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has for a public consultation on the future of local government; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Under the banner of local:vision, a debate with local government and other stakeholders began in July 2004 to determine what the future role and functions of local government should be. This debate continues and feedback from all stakeholders is welcomed. The debate will be drawn together in the form of a White Paper later this year.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) underlying factors were taken into consideration and (b) criteria the Government used to conclude that transitional protections on the Local Government Pension Scheme should expire 10 years after the announcements of policy changes were made. 
Mr. Woolas: The regulatory impact assessment (RIA) to accompany the Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2007/966), was made available in the House on 30 March. It sets out both the underlying factors and the criteria considered in providing the transitional protections in the regulations. A copy of the RIA is available in What's New at: www.xoq83.dial.pipex.com
Mr. Woolas: We have been engaged in a wide-ranging debate about local governance, including the future of two-tier arrangements in the shire areas and will finalise our position at about the same time as the publication of the proposed White Paper later in the year.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what incentives are available to encourage members of her staff to use public transport for travelling to and from work. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library copies of the budgets for 2005-06 that the Government Offices for the regions have received from English regional chambers. 
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to ensure that sufficient mains water will be available in the Thames Gateway; and whether long distance waterpipes have been considered to ensure the availability of sufficient mains water. 
Water companies have statutory duties with regard to water supply, and each company has a water resources plan looking ahead for the next 25 years. These plans show how they will reconcile water supply with projected demand.
A good deal of water is already transferred within water companies' areas of operation to give individual companies greater flexibility to meet local shortages.
Longer distance links between water companies also exist. The Environment Agency, in consultation with Ofwat, is able to propose to a water company that it enters into a bulk supply agreement with another water company, where it is necessary to secure the proper use of water resources.
The concept of a national water grid was discussed at the Secretary of State's meeting on 1 June with representatives of water companies and the water industry regulators. It was rejected by all those present on the grounds of its disproportionate and unjustifiable cost, both for the environment and for water bills, compared with the benefits such a grid could deliver.
|(1) Rates are per 100,000 of the population.|
(2) The upper and lower intervals provide a range within which the true rate might lie once the age structure of the population in the earlier years has been taken into account.
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