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Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his oral statement on pensions reform of 25 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1648-51, what estimate he has made of the difference in the number of people who would have gained a full basic state pension under the Turner proposals based on residency and the number based on his proposed reform of the contributory principle. 
James Purnell [holding answer 5 June 2006]: The Government's White Paper on pension reform, Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system, published on 25 May, includes estimates of those achieving a full basic state pension under the Pensions Commission's residence accruals approach compared to our proposed reform of the contributory principle.
Estimates of the proportion of people reaching state pension age with full basic state pension under the current system, the Pension Commission's residence accruals approach, and our proposed reform are shown in Figure 3.vi of Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system, and in the following table.
|Table 1: Proportion of people reaching state pension age with full basic state pension under different schemes|
|Current system without reform||Residence accruals from 2010||30 qualifying years for new retirees from 2010|
1. Based on projections from the Government Actuarys Departments Retirement Model, GB.
2. Estimates are approximate and reflect the inevitable uncertainty associated with any future projection. Figures shown have therefore been rounded to the nearest 5 percentage points.
3. Under residence accruals, 44 years are required for a full basic state pension.
4. Womens entitlement is based on their own and their husbands contributions, i.e. includes entitlement using the inheritance and substitution rules for widows and divorced women.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what statistical returns and reports were rendered by local employment offices during the period January to June 2006; how many civil servants were involved in (a) collating, (b) processing and (c) publishing the statistics; and what the estimated total cost was. 
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost would be of extending eligibility for the £200 winter fuel payment to those non-pensioner households who qualify for cold weather payments. 
1. Estimates based on DWP benefit data and rounded to the nearest £50 million.
2. Actual receipt of a cold weather payment depends on local temperatures as well as meeting qualification conditions. Here it is assumed that all eligible cases would receive a payment of £200.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate she has made of the carbon emissions of her Department; what commitment she has made to reducing such emissions; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government was created on 5 May 2006 and no assessment of its carbon emissions has yet been undertaken. In 2005 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister produced approximately 5,000 tonnes of absolute carbon emissions, as reported in the 2005 Sustainable Development in Government report. These emissions were calculated through the energy consumed across the estate; this included ODPM properties and Executive Agencies but excluded the Government Office Network.
The Department of Communities and Local Government has commenced a carbon management programme with the Carbon Trust. The aim of the programme is to mobilise the Department and its agencies in working towards reducing carbon emissions across the estate. This will involve identifying energy efficiency quick wins, as well as devising long-term strategies and business opportunities to ensure increased sustainability across all areas of business.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the estimated minimum life span is of the properties constructed for the Design for Manufacture competition. 
Angela E. Smith:
All bidders were required, as a minimum, to comply with all current building regulations and demonstrate that all of the homes they were proposing to build through the competition would be able to obtain relevant third-party approvals, such as from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and building warranty agreements. This is normal industry practice, and assessments for mortgageability are commonly based on a 60-year minimum measure for life span. However, in addition, to ensure that we could explore the whole-life quality of the proposed dwellings the bidders were also required to prepare a table setting out maintenance and replacement costs in use for all homes
built under the Design for Manufacture competition based on a period of 60 years.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to introduce (a) an elected mayor, (b) an elected assembly and (c) other statutory forms of governance for the Greater Manchester City Region. 
Mr. Woolas: Discussions are ongoing with Manchester and the other core cities regarding their business case proposals, following the summits that were held during 2005. Those business cases include options for devolving decision-making to the cities or city regions. We will further develop these ideas and associated thinking, including on individual local authority leadership, in the forthcoming Local Government White Paper.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) parish and (b) town councils have the power to delegate decisions on planning applications to a responsible councillor or officer. 
Mr. Woolas: Parish and town councils have no powers to determine planning applications and are not therefore in a position to delegate decisions on applications to councillors or officers. Parish and town councils are entitled to be notified in writing of planning applications in their areas and make representations on them, following a written request to the local planning authority.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans her Department has to introduce a second homes tax, as recommended by the Affordable Rural Housing Commission. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 10 July 2006]: The Department for Communities and Local Government has no plans to introduce a second homes tax. From April 2004, we have given councils the freedom to reduce the council tax discount on second homes from 50 per cent. to 10 per cent. In 2005-06 councils raised an additional £92 million to spend on local priorities by reducing the discount.
Angela E. Smith: The terms of contracts between the Department and individuals are private matters. Sheree Dodd has been working as an interim head of news for the Department for Communities and Local Government while a full civil service recruitment process is completed. This is a short-term role and requires a person with expertise and recent knowledge of Whitehall.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will ensure that there is no aggregate national cash limit to the capitalisation of back payments due to local authority staff arising from the single status agreement. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what dates over the last 12 months (a) she and (b) (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in her Department met a representative of Sovereign Strategy. 
Angela E. Smith: On 18 November 2005 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, then serving as Minister of Communities and Local Government, spoke on raising aspirations for young people in the North East at the Annual North East Economic Forum, organised by the University of Northumbria and Sovereign Strategy. I am not aware of Ministers holding other meetings with representatives of Sovereign Strategy during this period. Records are not held centrally of such contacts at official level. Any such contacts are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Civil Service Code, Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and Guidance for civil servants on contacts with lobbyists and people outside Government.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason her Department is cancelling the Sustainable Communities Summit in Manchester due to be held in February 2007; how much the event has cost, including cancellation fees. 
1. DCLG is taking a new approach to stakeholder engagement. The DCLG is a new Department with a new remit and will be communicating its agenda in new ways.
1.1 The Department is of the view that the commercial sector is better placed to deliver large-scale events such as the summit. Previous summits in 2002 and 2005 were successful in raising awareness of the Sustainable Communities agenda with key stakeholders. The success of these summits and other similar events such as the Thames Gateway Forum means that it is the right time to seek private sector interest in running the summit.
1.2 As well as looking at how best to communicate through large events, the Department is planning a series of regional events to discuss how we can best work with the public, private and voluntary and community sectors to deliver sustainable communities.
Mr. Woolas: There is no specific budget allocated to the Central-Local Government-Third Sector Engagement Board. Its secretariat and related policy work will be resourced within current departmental staffing.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) local authorities and (b) groups of authorities have applied to be pilots for new unitary status; and if she will make a statement. 
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the BBC about the desirability of bringing BBC regions in line with Government regions; and if she will make a statement. 
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