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10 Oct 2006 : Column 650Wcontinued
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 764W, on housing, what account she took of the potential for conflicts of interest in commissioning Roger Tym and
Partners to look at housing targets in the South East; and what arrangements were put in place to take account of that company's role in advising companies seeking approval for large scale housing developments in the South East. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 July 2006] The Government commissioned this research to augment the evidence base for the forthcoming Examination in Public (EiP) into the draft Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the South East. It is an independent technical exercise to consider the impacts and implications of accommodating levels of growth above that proposed by the South East of England Regional Assembly (SEERA).The intention in commissioning the work was make sure that the evidence is available to inform an open and wide ranging debate about all these issues at the EiP.
This report is not intended to pre-empt the RSS process. It is not a statement of Government policy and does not signal any preference for particular housing numbers on the part of Government.
The responsibility for testing the draft RSS in the light of all relevant evidence submitted and making recommendations to the Government is with the independent Panel who will conduct the forthcoming Examination in Public. The contractual approval to award this contract was given in full accordance with public sector contract procedures.
As the hon. Member for South-West Surrey is aware, it is the Contractor's responsibility to ensure that no conflict of interest arises in connection with the services to be carried out under these contractual procedures. My Department was not consulted by the Contractor on any uncertainty about whether any such conflict of interest may exist or arise with regard to this specific research contract.
The consultants who carried out this research have also carried out technical work for the South East England Regional Assembly.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications to fit (a) secondary glazing and (b) double glazing to listed buildings were (i) accepted and (ii) declined in the last 12 months, broken down by class of listed building. 
Angela E. Smith: This information is not held centrally.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has given to English Heritage on the acceptability of (a) secondary glazing and (b) double glazing to upgrade listed buildings; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: Annex C of Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: Planning and the Historic Environment sets out the Governments policy on alterations to listed buildings. Paragraphs C.40C.51 set out guidance on windows. Paragraph C.50 states that:
It is usually impossible to install double-glazed units in existing frames or to replicate existing frames with new sealed units without making noticeable changes to the profiles of glazing bars, styles and rails. The new glass in such units may also significantly alter the appearance of the window. Such changes are rarely acceptable in listed buildings. Weather stripping and draughtproofing are visually more innocuous changes as well as thermally efficient and cost-effective. Secondary glazing in a removable inner frame is another acceptable option for some windows.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she has taken to provide new social housing in east Newcastle. 
Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation made provision in the 2004-06 programme to assist with the affordable housing reprovision in the Walker area of east Newcastle. Progress has been conditional on site availability of which there have been delays due to rehousing and site assembly. The first contract of approximately 30 units is coming to completion and lettings of those properties are ongoing. There is provision in the 2006-08 programme to allow housing associations to provide further homesboth for rent and for shared ownership. The next phase starts on site in November and will complete approximately 12 months later (15 properties for rent and 20 for shared ownership). Finance is available to fund further phases as sites become available. It is anticipated that within the 2006-08 programme work will commence to provide at least 30 more rented properties.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether energy performance certificates will be required for rented accommodation. 
Yvette Cooper: Article 7 of the EU directive on the energy performance of buildings requires an energy performance certificate to be made available to the owner of a building, or by the owner to the prospective buyer or tenant, when the building is constructed, sold or rented out. The deadline for implementation of Articles 7 to 10 of the directive is 4 January 2009. The Government are engaging with stakeholders in the private and social rented housing sectors on the best way to transpose those elements of the directive into domestic law.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total amount invested in the construction of new social housing was in each year since 1997, broken down by local authority area. 
Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.
I have placed in the Library of the House a table showing the total expenditure on the provision of social rented housing in each local authority through the Housing Corporation Approved Development Programme, Local Authority Social Housing Grant
and from 2003-04 Transitional Local Authority Social Housing Grant for debt free authorities only.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much private sector investment has been levered in to assist with the Government Thames Gateway programme since July 2003. 
Yvette Cooper: The original estimate for private sector leverage in the longer-term development of the Thames Gateway was £2 billion. We have already seen major private investments begun, including commitments of £2 billion at the Greenwich Peninsula development, works begun at the ProLogis £500 million Bridge development in Dartford and the £100 million earthworks by Land Securities at the Ebbsfleet Valley.
Our Programme funding is creating the conditions for future private sector investment in the Gateway. In terms of future leverage, in south Essex our existing funding of £120 million is estimated to lever in £700 million from the public and private sectors. Other forecast examples include some £7 billion in the London borough of Greenwich and £2 billion for Medway, including £500 million for DCLG's biggest investment at Rochester Riverside.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what resources have been made available to the Women's National Commission to monitor the implementation of the Government's Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. 
Meg Munn: Following the launch of the Government's Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is taking the lead in implementing the Plan and works closely with the Gender Action Peace Security (GAPS) and Associate Parliamentary Group (APG) in monitoring progress. In addition to representatives from Government Departments, these groups also comprise representatives from a number of women's NGOs.
The Department of Communities and Local Government sponsors the Women's National Commission (WNC) through the Women and Equality Unit, and allocation of resources within the WNC is their decision. The WNC contributed to the development of the Action Plan and women's NGOs still play an active part in its implementation.
The UK was a driving force behind the adoption of SCR 1325, on Women Peace and Security, in October 2000 and we continue to support this key resolution and promote its implementation at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, United Nations, European Union and in the international community.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if the Government will include provisions in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill 2006 to make it a criminal offence for bailiffs and other debt collectors to fulfil their clients instructions using (a) menaces, (b) illegal or enforced entry without proper warrant or legal authority and (c) clamping or seizing vehicles without proper warrant or legal authority; and if he will provide for a Regulatory and Ombudsman regime to have oversight of the industry and adjudicate in any complaints made against (i) any individual bailiff or debt collector and (ii) the firms they represent. 
Ms Harman: My Department published the draft Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Bill on 25 July 2006 and the proposals contained within the draft Bill are now being considered by my officials in the light of comments received. These cover the use of reasonable force to enter a debtors premises, regulations outlining the circumstances in which a bailiff may take control of goods or vehicles, the remedies that are available to the debtor should a bailiff breach any of the provisions in the Bill and an improved regulatory regime for all private sector bailiffs. A Bill will be published and introduced when parliamentary time allows.
Currently, there are no plans to create new criminal offences for illegal actions committed by bailiffs and other debt collectors, as these are already covered by existing legislation. The Governments long-term intention is to introduce full-scale regulation of the entire bailiff industry by way of an independent statutory regulatory body.
Regulation of debt collectors is a function of the Office of Fair Trading, as debt collection is a regulated activity under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Legislation already exists to prevent debt collectors harassing debtors; as do processes to deal with complaints against debt collectors and the firms that they represent.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was spent by (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies in respect of hotel and other similar privately-provided accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (A) Ministers, (B) staff and (C) other persons in each year since 2001-02. 
Vera Baird: It is not possible to list the hotel and other similarly privately-provided accommodation costs spent by the Department its agencies and its non-departmental public bodies since 2001-02 without incurring disproportionate costs as they are not separately identifiable within the Departments accounts.
All civil service travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the ministerial code, travel by Ministers and the civil service management code, copies of which are available in the Library of the
House. Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers, which includes accommodation costs, is published on an annual basis. Information for the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 2006 is available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 2006-07 is in the process of being collated and will be published shortly.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was spent by her Department on food and alcohol for its staff working out of office in each year since 2001-02. 
Vera Baird: It is not possible to list the amounts spent on food and alcohol for staff working out of office by the Department since 2001-02 without incurring disproportionate costs as they are not separately identifiable within the Departments accounts.
All expenditure on food and alcohol is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety that are based on the principles set out in Government Accounting.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what oversight her Department undertakes of the work of Drakes Group of Companies for the courts service; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The Drakes Group provide services to Her Majestys Courts Service (HMCS) under the terms of contracts that commenced on 1 April 2006. Regional contract managers employed by HMCS manage the contracts locally. They receive monthly performance reports from Drakes and hold regular meetings to discuss issues, complaints and the provision of services generally. The contracts are monitored centrally and a review of both performance and compliance with the terms of the contract is undertaken every six months.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which (a) Ministers and (b) officials (i) recommended and (ii) approved the Government's policy that decennial census records for England and Wales should continue to be closed to public inspection for 100 years after the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on 1 January 2005. 
Ms Harman: Ministers, rather than civil servants, are responsible and accountable for policy decisions and announcements made by Government.
The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs is responsible within Government for both Freedom of Information and the National Archive.
Since 1966, it has been established Government policy that the decennial census returns should be closed for a period of 100 years. DCA and Treasury Ministers review this policy regularly, acting on advice from the Office for National Statistics and The National Archives.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many magistrates courts have been closed in Gravesham since 1997. 
Ms Harman: Since 1997, Gravesend magistrates court has been closed. The court closed on 9 June 2000.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will introduce legislation to provide the National Assembly for Wales with the same tax-varying powers as the Scottish Parliament. 
Mr. Hain: I have been asked to reply.
The First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, has said that he does not want tax varying powers. I accept his assessment. The Government of Act 2006 provides Wales with a new constitutional settlement, enabling the Assembly to gain enhanced legislative powers. The Act also formally separates the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government, clarifying the respective roles of the legislature and the Executive. There are changes to the financial provisions to take account of this separation, but the underlying funding principles will remain the same.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the total value of unpaid fines was in Gravesham in the last year for which records are available. 
Ms Harman: Information on fines imposed and collected is provided by the 42 HMCS court areas, with the Kent area responsible for courts covering Gravesham.
Current IT systems cannot provide the data requested at court level or isolate figures relating solely to fines which are unpaidthe amount outstanding at the end of 2005-06 in the Kent area was £14,278,163. This includes fines, legal aid, costs and compensation which were imposed in this and previous financial years and are either being paid in accordance with payment plans agreed with the courts or are in arrears.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many members there are on the Warley magistrates bench; and how many live in the post code area (a) B65, (b) B66, (c) B67, (d) B68 and (e) B69. 
Ms Harman: There are 146 magistrates on the Warley magistrates bench. Listed in the following table are those that live in the specific post code areas.
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