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6 Dec 2006 : Column 463W—continued

EU Directive 2002/91/EC

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when her Department plans to publish (a) a regulatory impact assessment and (b) a consultation paper on the implementation of EU Directive 2002/91/EC. [104058]


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Yvette Cooper: The technical provisions in articles 3 to 6 of EU Directive 2002/91/EC, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, were implemented through an amendment of the Building Regulations and a copy of the final regulatory impact assessment associated with this amendment was placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament in May 2006.

There is a three-year derogation period within the directive to apply fully the procedural provisions in articles 7 to 10. We intend to publish details of the proposed implementation and a regulatory impact assessment in due course.

The formal ODPM consultation “Proposals for amending Part L of the Building Regulations and implementing the EPBD” was published in July 2004. The written statement to the House of Commons on 14 June, announced a further consultation on widening the application of the display requirements in article 7(3) to all public and private sector buildings. Since then my Department has continued to liaise with key stakeholders to finalise details of implementation.

Faith Communities

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department funds the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund. [104427]

Mr. Woolas: I can confirm that the Department for Communities and Local Government does fund the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund.

Fire and Resilience Directorate

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff are to be removed from the establishment of divisions forming the Fire and Resilience Directorate of her Department in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and what percentage of total employees per division these figures represent. [105903]

Angela E. Smith: The Fire and Resilience Directorate is integrating and rationalising the work of two former directorates (the Civil Resilience Directorate and the Fire and Rescue Service Directorate). This is part of an ongoing process within the Department and is not exclusive to the Fire and Resilience Directorate. The directorate is seeking to reduce its administrative budget (pay and non-pay costs) in this financial year. It has not yet been possible to identify the precise number of posts as this is dependent on more detailed consideration of future policy and operational needs, and we estimate that this will affect approximately 24 posts. The following table sets out the percentage of staff affected per division.

For next year, work is being progressed to review priorities and the resourcing required.


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Fire and Resilience Directorate—total staff( 1) = 198
Per division
Administration budget Staff number Estimated reduction Percentage

Central Support Team

32

2

6.2

Fire and Rescue Service Development Team

36

6

16.6

Fire and Resilience Policy Team

22

1

4.5

Regional Resilience and Emergency Response

4

0

Research and Statistics

41

0

HM Fire Service Inspectorate

27

7

25.4

Fire and Resilience Programme

36

8

22.2

Total

198

24

12.1

(1 )Total staff includes:
permanent civil servants
personnel seconded from the fire and rescue service and Local Government
casual and agency staff.

Fire Service

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the guidance on working time regulations and firefighters. [103827]

Angela E. Smith: Guidance on working time regulations was issued to the fire and rescue service in April 2004. Copies of the guidance will be placed in the Library.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has received from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on home information packs since her decision to make home condition reports voluntary. [103862]

Yvette Cooper: The Department has had an extensive dialogue with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) throughout the development of the HIPs programme. Since the July announcement on HIPs there has been a substantial amount of correspondence with Ministers and officials as well as meetings and telephone conversations.

Housing

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate has she made of the (a) highest, (b) lowest, (c) median and (d) mean fees to be charged by local authorities to landlords as part of the new licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation. [103942]

Yvette Cooper: No estimate has been made of the highest, lowest, median and mean fees to be charged by local authorities to landlords as part of the new licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation. The Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation which was published in February 2006 estimated that the average one off fee for mandatory licensing would be approximately £500 for the five-year licence. The estimate was based on a sample survey of local housing authorities carried out in December 2005.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment the Government have made of the (a) merits and (b) enforceability of covenants on new homes banning cats and dogs as pets in special protection areas. [104039]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 November 2006, Official Report, column 1571W to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands).

Lancashire County Council

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had with Lancashire county council on the prospect of becoming a unitary authority. [106837]

Mr. Woolas: The Secretary of State has not had any such recent discussions with Lancashire county council.

Land Use Databases

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the National Land Use Database typology of land or buildings currently in use where it is known there is a potential for redevelopment (but the sites do not have any plan allocation or planning permission) includes (a) gardens and (b) open spaces surrounding existing residential properties. [104034]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 November 2006, Official Report, column 1572W.

Leasehold Reform Act

Sir John Butterfill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the practice by freeholders of excluding the curtilage, including associated parking and garaging, from enfranchised properties on the operation of the Leasehold Reform Act 2002. [107373]

Yvette Cooper: The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 provides for enfranchising leaseholders to acquire rights in respect of appurtenant property. This includes any garage, outhouse, garden or yards whether or not let under a separate lease together with other property which the leaseholders may be entitled to use jointly.


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No concerns about the workability of these provisions have been raised with my Department and therefore no assessment has been made.

Local Government Pensions

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which non-local authority employers are members of the local government pension scheme. [103891]

Mr. Woolas: The range of non-local authority employers participating in the local government pension scheme include, for example, schools, colleges and universities (non teaching staff), charities and voluntary bodies, housing bodies and private sector companies delivering local authority type services under contract.

Individual local government pension scheme administering authorities will have details of the non-local authority employers who participate within their funds.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what obligations local authorities have to fund a liability or shortfall from non-local authority members of the local government pension scheme. [103899]

Mr. Woolas: All employers participating in the local government pension scheme are required to pay contributions in respect of their employees who are members of the scheme and meet the costs of their liabilities. Their contribution rate is set by each administering authority's fund actuary following actuarial valuations of its pension fund, every three years. A common rate for all employers in the fund is set, with adjustments to reflect individual employers' circumstances.

The scheme regulations admitting non-local authority members contain specific provisions for dealing with deficits when their employer leaves the scheme and to safeguard the fund and its other employers should they default.

Local Government Restructuring

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities (a) she, (b) her Ministers and (c) her staff have met to discuss local government restructuring since 1 July 2006. [103921]

Mr. Woolas: Ministers and civil servants from my Department have held numerous meetings with most local authorities at which a range of topics have been discussed and may have included, on occasion, local government reorganisation.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a full council is required to ratify the decision of a local authority to bid for unitary status under the local government White Paper proposals. [104054]


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Mr. Woolas: A proposal for future unitary structures must be submitted by a council or a group of two or more councils. Whether the decision to submit a proposal requires a decision by full council is a matter for individual authorities, having regard to the governance arrangements that they have adopted.

Maps

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether Ordnance Survey maps published before 1936 are now out of copyright. [104803]

Angela E. Smith: Yes.

Ordnance Survey maps printed and published before 1936 are out of copyright.

Muslim Groups

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) dates and (b) locations have been of the meetings of the Muslim Forum Against Islamophobia and Extremism; and what the forward work plan is for this group. [104326]

Mr. Woolas: Locally organised Forums Against Extremism and Islamophobia are a recommendation from the Preventing Extremism Together Working Groups report, published in November 2005.

To date four such forums have been established with Department for Communities and Local Government support.

The objective of the forums is to create sustainable local groups which will:

It is expected that further forums will be established and the local government White Paper encourages local authorities to work with their Muslim communities to facilitate forums in their areas as a means of tackling extremism and Islamaphobia.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the initiative by Bradford council of mosques to develop and test educational materials to teach citizens in Madrassas; whether this project will be available across England; and what funding her Department provided to the project. [104329]

Mr. Woolas: The Department has provided £40,000 of funding to this project for rollout across Bradford. This was awarded on the basis of the evaluation report submitted at the end of the 2005-06 financial year. This
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evaluation report set out how the project had met its objectives as defined in the original project proposal. Assessment of the project has also been made by colleagues in Government Office Yorkshire and Humber who have a close working relationship with the project. A decision on whether to roll the project out across the country will be taken after an assessment of this current stage of roll out.


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