John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Department and its predecessors have spent on external consultants on fire service related projects in each year since 2000, broken down by project. 
The Department of Communities and Local Government was formed in May 2006 (formerly ODPM formed in May 2002) and expenditure prior to May 2002 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. For the period May 2002 to March 2006 the figures are detailed in the following table.
(i) an important part of the Governments response to the events of 11 September 2001;
(ii) a reflection of the need to serve the interests of public safety and security by enhancing the ability of the fire and rescue service to respond to major incidents; and
(iii) support the modernisation of the fire and rescue service following Professor Bain's Independent Review of the Fire Service, published in December 2002.
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government follows the rules and guidance on flag flying issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. These rules are approved by the Queen on advice from the Department. There are no plans at present to change the number of days flags can be flown from Government buildings.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will meet the hon. Member for Castle Point to discuss the extent to which the Licensing Act 2003 is being applied consistently by local authorities. 
While I would be happy to meet the hon. Member, interpretation of the Licensing Act 2003 is a matter for licensing authorities in the first instance and the Courts in the case of a dispute. Ministers cannot tell licensing authorities how to interpret the legislation, although we are currently reviewing the guidance issued under s.182 of the Licensing Act 2003 which aims to help licensing authorities operate the regime. If the hon. Member would like to write to me to outline any specific concerns, I would be happy to consider them as part of the review of the guidance.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment Ordnance Survey has made of its potential use of the TerraSAR-X satellite once it is operational. 
Ordnance Survey continuously monitors developments in the field of satellite and remote sensing technology. It is interested in new satellite technologies and is reviewing the capabilities of a range of new satellite sensors and platforms to augment its activity and improve operational efficiency in its ability to monitor change in Great Britain.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2006, Official Report, column 1816W, on regional government, how much funding is being allocated to the regional round tables in each of the two years. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the operation of (a) the Electricity and Gas (Energy Efficiency Obligation) Order 2001 and (b) the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998; and what recent representations he has received about the operation of each instrument. 
The Electricity and Gas (Energy Efficiency Obligations) Order 2001 enabled the Government to effectively implement the first phase of the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC), an obligation on electricity and gas suppliers to promote improvements in household energy efficiency. It is administered by Ofgem on behalf of Government. The first phase of the EEC is expected to lead to 0.4 million tonnes of carbon being saved annually by 2010. All energy suppliers met their targets under EEC phase 1, allowing 10 million householders to benefit from energy saving measures. The second phase of the EEC came into force on 1 April 2005 under Electricity and Gas (Energy Efficiency Obligations) Order 2004, and we have not received any recent representations about the operation of the 2001 Order. We routinely meet with energy efficiency industry stakeholders on the operation of the 2004 Order and our commitment to extend the scheme to a third three-year phase.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with the safety of gas systems and appliances in domestic and some commercial premises. The regime arising from the Regulations is under review and representations are continuing to be received.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the public consultation on the future of the rural post office network is expected to commence; what the nature will be of this consultation; when it is expected to be concluded; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We are carefully considering options for the network post 2008 and are not working to a specific timetable. There has already been informal consultation with key stakeholders and we expect to consult more widely in due course.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many appeal cases for (a) incapacity benefit, (b) disability living allowance and (c) jobseekers allowance were lodged in each of the last five years; and how many were successful. 
|Table 1: Number of lodged and successful jobseeker allowance benefits appeals
|Total claims lodged for JSA
|Total claims for JSA cleared in favour of appellants
|Table 2: Number of lodged and successful incapacity benefits appeals
|Lodged for IB (PCA)
|For IB (PCA) cleared in favour of appellants
|Lodged for IB (not PCA)
|For IB (not PCA) cleared in favour of appellants
|Table 3:Number of lodged and successful disability living allowance benefits appeals
|Total claims lodged for DLA
|Total claims for DLA cleared in favour of appellants
| Notes: 1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures are for each calendar year (January to December). 3. All figures are subject to change as more up to date data become available. 4. Figures for the latest months will rise substantially as information feeds through to the Appeals Service. 5. Cleared in favour indicates that the appeal was cleared in favour of the appellant. 6. Lodged denotes when an appeal is submitted to the first tier agency. Lodged data only enters the GAPS database when the appeal reaches the Appeals Service. 7. PCA = Personal Capability Assessment. Source: 100 per cent. download of the Generic Appeals Processing System.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what meetings (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have held with directors and senior executives of (i) Capita Group plc and (ii) its subsidiaries since 1 January 2004; and whether (A) Capita Group plc and (B) its subsidiaries have provided input (1) in writing and (2) in person to policy discussions in her Department since 1 January 2004. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what representations she has received on the Law Commission proposals that cohabiting couples have the same rights on separation as married couples on divorce. 
Ms Harman: I have received no representations. The Law Commission published a consultation paper on 31 May entitled Cohabitation: the Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown. The consultation period will run until 30 September. The Law Commission has not proposed giving cohabiting couples the same rights on separation as married couples on divorce. An overview document of the consultation paper is available on the Law Commission's website at www.lawcom.gov.uk/cohabitation.htm. The Government look forward to the outcome of the consultation and will consider any recommendations that the Commission makes in its final report due next year.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the number of personal injury cases that are likely (a) to succeed and (b) to fail as a result of the use of defences proposed under Clause 1 of the Compensation Bill [Lords]; and if she will make a statement. 
Vera Baird: Clause 1 does not provide a new defence against liability for negligence or breach of statutory duty, and the success or failure of a claim will not depend on it. It simply identifies a factor which the courts can already take into account in determining a claim. The court will also take all the other circumstances of the case into account.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the likely change in the total amount of compensation paid out by insurers as a consequence of defences using proposed provisions in Clause 1 of the Compensation Bill [Lords]. 
Bridget Prentice: Clause 1 does not provide a new defence against liability for negligence or breach of statutory duty, and the success or failure of a claim will not depend on it. It will therefore not affect the amount of compensation paid by insurers.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of likely cases involving the use of the new defences under Clause 1 of the Compensation Bill [Lords]. 
Bridget Prentice: Clause 1 does not provide a new defence against liability for negligence or breach of statutory duty, and the success or failure of a claim will not depend on it. The courts will be able to consider the factor embodied in clause 1 wherever they consider it to be relevant, as is the case now.