The Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo): During passage of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), Standing Committee D, 13 January 2005, column 130 and the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act (2005), 7 February 2005, column 615, statements were made that certain powers available to the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) would not be used in respect of tax offences until the outcome of the consideration of these powers by the current review of HM Revenue and Customs Powers.
Those powers are contained in part 2 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The Act came into force on 1 April. They enable the director of RCPO (and prosecutors to whom he has delegated such powers), to serve disclosure notices, obtain material, conduct compulsory interviews and execute search warrants. These powers are powers of RCPO, not of HMRC; they are RCPOs to use. However, the prosecutor can authorise use of the powers by an officer of HMRC in respect of tax offences where the prosecutor has decided that such use is appropriate.
As the powers are for RCPO to use, the issue for the Review of HMRCs powers to consider was the guidance that was available to HMRC staff when a prosecutor had authorised the use of the powers by an officer of HMRC. The review has looked at that guidance and, following minor changes, has approved it.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Meg Munn): My right hon. Friend, the Member for Streatham (Keith Hill), when Minister for Planning made a statement to the House on 14 September 2004 about the Governments approach to achieving the target for 100 per cent. of local planning authorities in England to perform at or above best value (BV109) levels for efficient handling of major, minor and other planning applications.
Since then, authorities have continued to make excellent progress in overhauling their processes and introducing a performance management culture. As a result it is now a realistic prospect that these targets, which are owned both by my Department (as PSA6) and by local government (as LG PSA11), will be achieved by the end of 2006-07 by the large majority if not all authorities.
In order to help embed recent changes in the performance culture in planning Departments, and to sustain delivery against the targets which now carry through to 2008 under the 2004 spending review, I am today announcing my intention to continue designating planning standards authorities for one more year.
It is my intention that authorities performing five percentage points below the targets levels in the year to June 2006 should be considered for designation as planning standards authorities in 2007-08. However, I intend to take into account performance in the year to September 2006 before making the final decision. I intend that the performance standards which designated authorities will be required to meet will be to the national best value target levels, as this year. In summary, the proposed thresholds and standards are as follows:
|Percentage of applications determined within time|
The Minister for Local Government (Mr. Phil Woolas): The Government are today confirming individual grant allocations to Administering Authorities for the Supporting People Programme in 2007-08 which will fund housing related support services for over 1 million vulnerable peopleincluding victims of domestic violence, teenage parents, older people and those with mental health problemsto live independently in their accommodation.
As part of the two-year local government funding settlement in December 2005, minimum allocations for 2007-08 were announced guaranteeing 95 per cent. of the total available. Some 5 per cent. of the funding was held back pending consultation on the draft Supporting People distribution formula, with a commitment to confirming full Supporting People allocations for 2007-08 before the summer recess.
The consultation on the Supporting People distribution formula is now complete and responses to this exercise have been assessed. Following consideration of the available options a decision has been taken to target the remaining funding in 2007-08 to help address some of the inherited uneven distribution of grant between
authorities by increasing Supporting People funding to over half of all Supporting People local authorities.
This decision is consistent with the approach taken to determining allocations in both 2005-06 and 2006-07 when an earlier version of the formula was used to inform the grant allocations to those authorities furthest from their correct relative share of the budget. Further work will be carried out on the analysis of responses to the consultation with a view to taking forward work on how we can distribute future funding based on need. All Supporting People grant allocations are listed below.
|Local authority||2007-08 grants allocation (£)|
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