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|Table 2: Changes in median salaries 2003-06|
|March||Women||Men||Women's pay as a percentage of mens pay|
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if the Minister with responsibility for the fire service will meet (a) Southend and (b) Essex fire service trade unions to discuss the regionalisation of fire service control rooms; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with the fire brigades trade unions about the regionalisation of the fire service control rooms; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: Over the last year Ministers have met staff representative bodies (including the FBU, Retained Firelighters Union, Fire Officers Association, Association of Principal Fire Officers, Unison, GMB and others) from the fire and rescue service on a range of issues, including the FiReControl project. Regular contact with those bodies will continue.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many large outbreaks of fire there were in (a) Southend, West constituency, (b) Essex, (c) Hertfordshire and (d) Greater London in each of the last eight years; and if she will make a statement. 
|Fires attended by five or more pumping appliances 1997-98 to 2004-05|
1. Figures are based on sampled data grossed to fire and rescue service totals.
2. Figures exclude any fires in November 2002 and January-February 2003 strike periods.
Fire and Rescue Service returns to DCLG
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of staff employed at fire service control rooms who will be made redundant as a result of the planned regionalisation; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my then colleague, the Member for Bow and Poplar (Jim Fitzpatrick) to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 2 December 2005, Official Report, column 797W.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on the operation of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004; and what recent representations she has received on the operation of this Act. 
Angela E. Smith:
The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 has been in operation for less than two years, and the benefits of the move to prevention based fire and rescue services are already evident. Provisional figures for the year to June 2005 show significant decreases in the number of deaths and injuries, the number of primary fires and the number of deliberate fires. In
England, by comparison to the previous year, there has been a 21 per cent. fall in deaths in accidental dwelling fires. The number of fires to which the fire and rescue service were called fell by 25 per cent. Within the primary fires category, there was a fall of 7 per cent. in the total number of building fires including a 10 per cent. decrease in non-domestic building fires (i.e. commercial premises, schools, etc.). Deliberate primary fires fell by 20 per cent. That is a tribute to the way our fire and rescue services have exercised their duties and powers under the Act.
The Government have received representations about charging by fire and rescue services for non-fire-fighting related work; operation of Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) under the National Framework; and about the 24 hour delay on powers on entry to domestic premises for fire investigation purposes. On charging, the matters for which fire and rescue authorities may charge are set out in The Fire and Rescue Services (England) Order 2004. We keep that under review and will consult on any changes that we propose. For the National Framework we have recognised that it can assist fire and rescue services in forward planning if the framework has a longer life than one year. We have therefore introduced a two-year Framework for 2006-08 following consultation with the Fire and Rescue Service. Finally on fire investigation, the powers available to the fire and rescue authorities are at least equivalent to those available to the police. Nonetheless, we are considering the points made in conjunction with the Arson Control Forum.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issue the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings. This includes recommending flying the St. George's Flag on St. George's Day, 23 April, on buildings with two or more flag poles, provided it is flown alongside the Union Flag with the Union Flag in the superior position.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff were employed in the Government Office for London at each civil service grade in each of the last 10 years. 
|Staff in post in April by grade( 2)|
|1997( 3)||1998( 3)||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006( 4)|
|(1) Prior to 2005 GOL staffing figures were calculated as those staff working in GOL on GOL business. Figures did not include those seconded into GOL who were paid for by their own employer.|
(2) Figures up to April 2005 do not include staff on outward secondment, outward loan, maternity leave, special leave, and career breaks for whom we did not pay but who had a right of return to GOL in the future.
(4) Due to the outsourcing of the HR function for all Government Offices and the move to a central database, staffing figures are now calculated as those staff working in GOL on GOL business and on GOLs payroll. In addition, figures include staff on outward secondment, outward loan, maternity leave, special leave, and career breaks for whom we do not pay but who have a right of return to GOL in the future.
(5) Prior to 2003 SCS figures were not recorded centrally in GOL but held by parent departments.
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