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Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether there are waiting lists for places at child care facilities which her Department provides for its employees. 
Mr. Woolas: At the Department for Communities and Local Government where child care facilities are provided there are currently waiting lists for staff with children at the onsite facility at the Fire Service College, and the offsite facility at the Planning Inspectorate.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many disabled people were hired by her Department in each
of the last five years for which figures are available; what percentage of the overall work force these figures represented in each year; and how many disabled people left their employment in her Department over the same period. 
Angela E. Smith: The available figures for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), relate to the figures from the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister who provided the majority of staff now working in DCLG. The figures are available for 2003, 2004, and 2005 only. They are based solely on voluntary declaration of disability under the Disability Discrimination Act and not connected in any way to a formal register of disability. The figures are as follows:
2005Fewer than five staff entrants recorded themselves as disabled. 10 members of staff who recorded themselves as disabled left the Department.
2004Fewer than five staff entrants recorded themselves as disabled. 10 members of staff who recorded themselves as disabled left the Department.
2003Fewer than five staff entrants recorded themselves as disabled. Less than five members of staff who recorded themselves as disabled left the Department.
The percentage of the overall work force these figures represent is minimal.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when she plans to publish the disability equality scheme for her Department; in what formats; and how it will be publicised; 
(3) whether she has made an assessment of which policy areas will be considered in her report on progress towards disability equality within her Departments policy sector due for publication in December 2008; 
(4) what information-gathering and other actions (a) her Department and (b) other relevant bodies are taking to inform the production of the report on progress towards disability equality within her Departments policy sector. 
Meg Munn: My Department plans to publish its Disability Equality Scheme on or before 4 December 2006. The Scheme will be available online, and will be available on request in accessible formats, including in print.
In consulting with disabled people and their representative organisations, the department approached contacts provided by the Disability Rights Commission. These contacts were invited to discuss disability issues relating to DCLG policy areas, propose solutions and recommend priorities for the Disability Equality Scheme. Those unable to attend were interviewed by phone. Meetings were held
on housing and inclusive design, and two meetings were also co-ordinated by RADAR, an umbrella body covering a number of disabled peoples organisations.
DCLGs Disabled Staff Network were also invited to discuss their priorities for the Disability Equality Scheme. In addition information from a major consultation exercise with disabled staff in 2005 was used to help develop actions on employment in the Scheme.
To date my Department has not decided which policy areas will be included in the Secretary of States 2008 report on progress towards disability equality within the Departments policy sector. However it is likely that the major policy areas will be included.
My Department and other relevant bodies will carry out a number of information-gathering and other actions to help inform the 2008 Secretary of States report. These will be set out in the action plan of the Departments Disability Equality Scheme.
The fitting and use of sirens is controlled by the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. Under regulation 37 (5) the fitting of sirens is restricted to vehicles used by specific emergency and law enforcement agencies; including the police, fire brigades and ambulance service.
Regulation 99 (5) provides that such sirens may only be used either to indicate to other road users the urgency of the purposes for which the vehicle is being used, or to warn them of the presence of the vehicle on the road. Training and guidance on when it is appropriate to use sirens for these purposes is a matter for the individual agencies. We have not issued any guidance to the police as this is an operational matter for individual chief officers.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much extended mandatory rate relief was given to (a) village pubs, (b) petrol stations, (c) food shops and (d) non-agricultural farm enterprises in each of the last 20 years. 
Mr. Woolas: The amount of mandatory rate relief given, in £ million, to (a) rural premises (including rural general stores, post offices, public houses, petrol filling stations and food shops) and (b) former agricultural premises since the introduction of such reliefs is shown in the following table.
|Rural shops and post offices||Former agricultural premises|
Data for 1998-99 to 2005-06 are outturn figures taken from NNDR3 returns while the data for 2006-07 are estimated figures taken from NNDR1 returns. These returns are supplied to the Department for Communities and Local Government by billing authorities in England. The data show the total mandatory relief given, irrespective of the year to which they apply.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which of the proposals from the Preventing Extremism Together working group (a) have been completed and (b) are in progress. 
Meg Munn: On 17 July 2006, the Department published on its website details of progress made on the recommendations from the Preventing Extremism Together working groups. Further details can be found at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l501973.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many Green Goddess emergency fire appliances are available for use in emergencies; and how many were available in (a) 1997, (b) 2001 and (c) 2005. 
Angela E. Smith: There are no Green Goddesses available for use in emergencies. Green Goddesses, built in 1953-56, lack the range of advanced fire fighting equipment carried by modern appliances; their acceleration and handling is worse than modern appliances and Green Goddesses only possess low-pressure pumps, whereas modern high-pressure pumps are capable of shooting out a dense spray. The Green Goddess fleet is outdated and we are now able to use modern fire appliances as part of our contingency planning arrangements. The Fire and Rescue National Framework 2006-2008 makes clear that fire and rescue authorities will be responsible for supplying all appliances and equipment in the event of any industrial action.
The size of the fleet in previous years was: (a) 1,085 in 1997; (b) 1,040 in 2001; (c) 975 in 2005. These figures include Green Goddesses held by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Scotland and Yellow Goddesses for Northern Ireland.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Governments estimated gross VAT revenue from home information packs is for the first full year of operation. 
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultancy work (a) PA Consulting Group and (b) Xansa UK Ltd. carried out for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in relation to home information packs; and if she will place in the Library copies of the reports they produced. 
Yvette Cooper: PA Consulting Group and Xansa UK Ltd. have been used across a wide range of activities associated with the delivery of home information packs, primarily on the design of the home condition report, and the procurement of the certification scheme and the dry run. Their input has not taken the form of reports.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of people who embarked on Home Improvement Pack inspector training courses; and at what total cost (a) to the public purse and (b) to the trainees. 
Yvette Cooper: The most recent reasonably complete figures are for the end of July when it was estimated that there were 4,637 Home Inspectors in training and 328 who had completed their training. Since then at least a further 142 have completed training.
The amount of training required, and therefore the cost, depends on previous experience. For an experienced surveyor with relevant experience, the cost is estimated to be around £2,300 to £2,600. For a candidate with no relevant experience, training would take longer and is estimated to cost around £8,300 to £10,000.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of how long an inspection for an energy performance certificate will take for an average house. 
Yvette Cooper: Trials are planned to take place during November 2006 to assess the indicative time and costs of producing energy performance certificates. However preliminary estimates suggest that these might take up to an hour on site for an average house.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive stipulates that the validity of the certificate shall not exceed 10 years. To ensure that homebuyers have up to date information, the Home Information Pack Regulations require that an energy performance certificate included in a Home Information Pack is no
older than three months when the property is marketed for sale. This issue will be looked at further in the dry run.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of an energy performance certificate is expected to be including VAT; and whether the cost is expected to vary according to the size of the property. 
Yvette Cooper: The price of an energy performance certificate will be set by the market and not by Government. We expect these costs to vary according to the size, type and location of the property. Trials are planned to take place during November 2006 to assess the indicative time and costs of producing energy performance certificates.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to introduce secondary legislation to amend the Home Information Pack Regulations 2006; and whether she plans to consult on that legislation beforehand. 
Yvette Cooper: The amended home information pack regulations will be made in early 2007. These will reflect the decision to make the home condition report an authorised component of the home information pack and the findings of the dry run. There will be consultations with key stakeholders throughout the period of the dry run.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration has been given to providing compensation to individuals who have trained to become home inspectors in relation to the delivery of home information packs. 
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to compensate those who trained to become home inspectors; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people studying for the home inspector qualification will receive compensation as a consequence of recently announced changes to the scope of the Home Sellers Pack. 
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to introduce compensation for those people who have incurred costs on training as home inspectors. 
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