Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers she has to limit the increase in the Greater London Authority council tax precept in relation to the Olympic Games cost over-runs. 
Mr. Woolas: The Governments capping powers are set out in the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended by the Local Government Act 1999. In order to cap, the Secretary of State must decide if an authoritys budget requirement is excessive; she would do this by determining capping principles. One principle must be a comparison of an authoritys budget requirement with that of a previous yearother principles are at the Secretary of States discretion.
The Government and the Mayor of London agreed, in 2003, that the London council-tax payer would contribute £625 million to the 2012 Olympic Games. This was set out in the Government Response to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Report A London Olympic Bid for 2012 (HC268), presented to Parliament in June 2003, and is already reflected in the current GLA precept. It can be changed only with the agreement of the Government and Mayor.
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what procedures her Department has in place to monitor the extent to which local authorities are meeting targets for affordable housing set in their local plans; 
(2) what factors she will take into account in deciding whether to impose penalties on local authorities which fail to meet targets for affordable housing set in their local plans. 
Yvette Cooper: Planning Policy Statement 3Housing requires local authorities to set targets in local plans for the amount of affordable housing to be delivered in their area. These targets should reflect current and future levels of need, the new definition of affordable housing, and the viability of land for housing in their area, including likely levels of grant and developer contributions.
Local authorities are required to submit annual monitoring reports (AMRs) to the Secretary of State through Government offices. These report the extent to which policies, including affordable housing policies, in local development documents are being successfully implemented. Where appropriate, AMRs should set out the actions that authorities will take to address any
underperformance. The Housing Corporation also monitors the delivery of the majority of affordable homes, which are funded by social housing grant.
There are checks within the planning system to ensure local planning authorities (LPAs) meet affordable housing targets. If they fail to propose an acceptable target in their plans, the Secretary of State may call in a plan or direct them to modify the target. In terms of delivering the target, PPS3 requires LPAs to develop implementation strategies in their plans. The Secretary of Sate my also call in planning applications where they raise issues of wider strategic importance or represent a departure from the plan.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria the Government will adopt for approving proposals for effective community governance; and what mechanisms are in place to prevent extremist groups setting up a parish council. 
Mr. Woolas: The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill provides that in future principal councils will be responsible for putting in place community governance arrangements, and when doing so must have regard to the need to secure that community governance reflects the identities and interests of local communities, and to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. We intend to include in this statutory guidance a provision that councils should consider the impact on community cohesion when deciding community governance arrangements.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the planned difference is between comprehensive performance assessments and comprehensive area assessments. 
Mr. Woolas: We will be moving to a more proportionate and risk-based system. This will build on the strengths of CPA and will be known as the comprehensive area assessment (CAA). Unlike the comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) which was established to bring together views on the current performance of a local authority, the new risk assessment will look at risk and will focus more on areas rather than just institutions.
It will comprise the following elements:
an annual risk assessment
a scored use of resources judgment
a scored direction of travel.
Instead of rolling programmes of major inspection like CPA corporate assessment and Childrens Services Joint Area Reviews, inspection will primarily be triggered by the results of the CAA.
The Audit Commission will be working with the other inspectorates and stakeholders to develop and trial the risk assessment methodology over the next two to three years.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letter of 23 October 2006 from the hon. Member for Kettering on planning guidance for affordable and starter homes. 
Yvette Cooper: I have now replied to the hon. Member's letter. I apologise for the delay in responding.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much council tax has not been collected because of erroneous addressing in the last two years. 
Mr. Woolas: This information is not available centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many councillors there were in each local authority in England since 1990, excluding parish councillors and town councillors. 
Mr. Woolas: Decisions as to the number of councillors in a local authority are matters for the independent Electoral Commission. They have records dating from 1998 (for district councils) and 2002 (for county councils). The information has been sent to the hon. Member and placed in the House of Commons Library.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the reasons were for the movement of £274,000 of her Departments funding from voted to non-voted provision in November 2006s departmental expenditure limits and supplementary estimates. 
Angela E. Smith: The transfer of £274,000 effected in the statement on Communities and Local Government departmental expenditure limits 21 November 2006, Official Report, columns 23-26WS, and the winter supplementary estimates, related to a movement of funds from non-voted to voted expenditure for the Valuation Office Agency for the reason set out in the answer to the hon. Lady.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Department for Communities and Local Government's expenditure on hospitality and entertainment was in 1996-97. 
Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's answer of 9 February 1998 to the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane), Official Report, column 17W, which provides the global figure for Government expenditure on ministerial entertaining and hospitality for official purposes in 1996-97.
Records on non-ministerial expenditure for 1996-97 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities sent representatives to the meeting at her Department on 31 October 2006 on data sharing; and what the formal title was of the event. 
Mr. Woolas: Officials from my Department held a meeting entitled Data Sharing Guidance and Legal Barriers for Local Authority Revenues Practitioners Meeting on 1 November 2006 to discuss the need for data sharing guidance for revenues practitioners. The meeting was attended by a range of stakeholders including representatives from Guildford borough council, Birmingham city council, the London borough of Tower Hamlets, the London borough of Hounslow and the London borough of Barking and Dagenham. The meeting agreed that a short, focused document would be useful in assisting practitioners to make informed decisions about when data could be shared in the interests of improved customer service delivery. Work on the guidance is ongoing, with a view to publication in the spring.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 172W, on departmental travel, what the (a) destination and (b) purpose was of each of the visits abroad by staff in her Department in the last 12 months. 
Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her on 18 December 2006, Official Report, column 1613W.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what targets have been set for the number of high-security safe rooms to be built in the homes of victims of domestic violence over the next five years. 
Meg Munn: The Department encourages local authorities to operate a Sanctuary Scheme as part of their strategy to tackle and prevent homelessness. Schemes provide security measures to allow those experiencing domestic violence (and other hate crimes) to remain in their own accommodation where it is safe for them to do so, where it is their choice and where the perpetrator no longer lives within the accommodation.
A victims freedom of choice is central to the success of the scheme. I do not, therefore, consider it inappropriate to set targets for each local authority to install Sanctuary Schemes.
However best value performance indicator 225 measures how local authorities increase the options for victims of domestic violence. In order to score fully on this indicator local authorities will need to have a Sanctuary Scheme in place.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the estimated average total cost including VAT is of a home information pack (a) without a home condition report and (b) including an energy performing certificate from June 2007; 
(2) what the total estimated cost of home information packs is (a) before and (b) after VAT. 
Yvette Cooper: The price of the pack will be determined by the market, not Government. Estimated costs were set out in the RIA in June. These are being revised in light of the trials, discussions with stakeholders and further research.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her answer of 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 745W, on hotels, which organisations have made written representations to her Department, excluding submissions sent only to Sir Michael Lyons, relating to local taxation on hotel accommodation in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Woolas: In the last 12 months, this Department has received representations on local taxation on hotel accommodation from the following organisations:
The Stagg Inn, Kington
Temple Sowerby House Hotel and Restaurant, Penrith
Wadworth and Company Limited, Northgate Brewery, Devizes
Arkells Brewery Limited, Swindon
Gravetye Manor, Sussex
Cavendish Hotel, Derbyshire
The Old Forge Hotel, Nottinghamshire
Bedford Lodge Hotel, Suffolk
Pontins, Blackpool Holiday Centre
Midland Shire Hotels, Wellingborough
Boswell House Hotel, Chelmsford
Bournemouth Area Hospitality Association
Elstead Classic Hotel, Bournemouth
The Bull Auberge, Suffolk
St. Ives Parish Council, Cornwall
Stratford on Avon District of the Hospitality Association
Lysses Hotel, Fareham
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of the allocation to social housing in the Chelmsford local authority area was given to families and individuals who were resident outside the Chelmsford local authority area prior to an offer of housing being made in each of the last 10 years. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 January 2007]: In 2004-05, 20 per cent. of allocated social housing in the Chelmsford local authority area was given to families and individuals who were resident outside the Chelmsford area. In 2005-06, the figure was 15 per cent. For 2007, the proportion up to December was 19 per cent.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what data the Valuation Office Agency is providing for the Housing Data Warehouse. 
Mr. Woolas: Compilations of the published Council Tax Valuation List.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Government have plans to allow local authorities to charge local residents for (a) pest control, (b) hedge cutting, (c) CCTV provision, (d) graffiti and fly-posting removal and (e) pre-application planning advice. 
Mr. Woolas: Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003 provides a power for authorities to charge on a cost recovery basis for discretionary services where they have the power to provide the service, and the recipient has agreed to its provision and agrees to pay for it. Decisions on the use of section 93 are for local authorities to make in the light of the circumstances relevant to each area. However, local authorities are able to charge for statutory services where specific provision exists in legislation.
Local authorities have powers to require the clearance of fly-posting and graffiti and to take action to deal with pest infestations in certain circumstances, including the recovery of costs.
The Department has commissioned research into the cost of the planning service to local authorities and as part of this we have asked the researchers to consider the costs of non-fee related work including pre-application advice and discussions.
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