|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministers expenditure on foreign travel, including accommodation, was in 2005-06. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the employee contribution rate is to (a) the Local Government Pension Scheme and (b) the Firefighters' Pension Scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The current contribution rate for employees in the Local Government Pension Scheme is 6 per cent. of pensionable pay, with certain members retaining rights to contribute 5 per cent. Draft regulations issued on 22 December 2006 for consultation with scheme interests in England and Wales propose new arrangements, to take effect from 1 April 2008, which would mean members contributing 5.5 per cent. payable on the first £12,000 of pensionable pay and 7.5 per cent. payable on the excess. Final decisions on new contribution levels, linked to pay, will be taken once the responses to the consultation exercise have been considered.
Members of the Firefighters Pension Scheme 1992 pay a contribution of 11 per cent. of pensionable pay. This scheme has been closed. From 6 April 2006, firefighters joining the fire and rescue service are members of the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme 2006 and pay a contribution of 8.5 per cent. of pensionable pay.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much she has allocated to Peterborough city council for the future funding of environmental wardens; and if she will make a statement. 
Peterborough receives additional funding as part of its Safer and Stronger Communities funding for the Greater Dogsthorpe area. This neighbourhood element funding is worth £13,000 for 2006-07. The area will receive £516,000, plus a top-up for this year only of £65,000 for 2007-08. A further two years of funding is dependent upon the 2007 spending review.
I understand that the Greater Dogsthorpe Partnership, which includes residents and local councillors, is using part of this funding to employ an environmental enforcement officer. This officer will also work with volunteer resident street leaders from the area to help champion local streets and neighbourhoods and help tackle environmental issues.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many reviews of (a) planning policy and (b) local government finance the Government have conducted or commissioned since May 1997. 
(a) Three overall reviews. But in addition a large number of individual policy areas have been updated or changed since 1997.
(b) Three. In addition, the Government, in consultation with stakeholders, have reviewed the distribution of formula grant to local authorities a number of times since 1997. Changes were introduced to the grant formulae in 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2003-04 and 2006-07.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will break down by main budget heading programme expenditure by the Safer Stronger Communities Fund initiative in the Yorkshire and Humberside region in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
This funding was allocated to the areas in Yorkshire and Humberside that do not currently have a local area agreement in place; other similar funds are allocated under the local area agreement arrangements in the Safer Stronger Communities block.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the priority given to the level of social care funding in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government's funding of social care is being reviewed alongside all other aspects of Government expenditure in accordance with the process described in the statement set before the House on 19 July 2005. Paragraph 6.11 of the 2006 pre-Budget report (Cm 6984) provides more information on this specific area of work. The conclusions of the review will be published in the comprehensive spending review White Paper.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) destination and (b) total cost was of each visit abroad by a special adviser in her Department in an official capacity since the creation of her Department. 
Angela E. Smith: All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code. No special adviser in the Department for Communities and Local Government has been on a visit abroad in an official capacity since the creation of the Department.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the (a) recommendations and (b) targets in the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministers 2003 Sustainable Communities Plan (i) have yet to be met and (ii) are no longer being pursued. 
The Sustainable Communities Plan set out a long-term programme of activity designed to achieve a step change in our policies for delivering sustainable communities for all by increasing housing supply, housing market renewal, providing more decent and affordable homes for all, ensuring the right
infrastructure is provided, delivering on new growth areas and improving the countryside and local environment.
We have reduced the number of non-decent social homes by more than 1 million, and increased the proportion of vulnerable households in the private sector who have a decent home by 66 per cent. In total over £20 billion of public money has been invested in improving council housing since 1997, and over £40 billion in total will have been invested by the end of 2010.
Across the country, we are more than doubling investment in affordable housing through the Housing Corporation to £2 billion per year by 2008. By 2010 we will have helped 120,000 households into low cost home ownership through our Homebuy scheme and over 160,000 households to access home ownership through private or public shared equity schemes.
Combined with London, the four growth areas and the 29 new growth points have the potential to deliver an extra 300,000 homes above previously planned levels by 2016.
Around £400 million is to be allocated by 2008 (since 2003-04) from the Communities and Local Governments Growth Area Fund (GAF) to support the objectives of sustainable development in the three newer growth areas and we are providing £40 million in 2007-08 for a first round of infrastructure projects and to support growth-related studies, masterplanning and capacity-building in the new growth points.
Since 2003 we have allocated £850 million to accelerate the growth of the Thames Gateway. Most of these funds are committed.
Kate Barker, in her Review of Housing Supply (published in 2004), concluded that the housing market had not responded sufficiently to meet the needs of the countrys ageing and growing population and recommended a step change in housing supply. In its response, published in December 2005, the Government set out an ambition to increase the supply of new homes to 200,000 per year by 2016. Alongside the Barker response, the Government announced a cross-cutting review of funding for infrastructure to support housing growth, and stronger measures for environmental sustainability. In December 2006 we further enhanced our commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment and tackling climate change by introducing a number of new environmental initiatives such as the Code for Sustainable Homes and PPS on climate change that aim to deliver more sustainable development.
This work continues and the Department for Communities and Local Government is tasked with delivering prosperous and cohesive communities, offering a safe, healthy and sustainable environment for all.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the (a) recommendations and (b) targets in the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministers (i) Five Year PlanHomes For All and (ii) Five Year Planpeople, places and prosperity (A) have yet to be met and (B) are no longer being pursued. 
Yvette Cooper: Details of the Departments achievements, including action to take forward the proposals set out in the Five Year Plans of the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, are set out in the 2006 annual report (Cm 6816). Copies are available in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings the Valuation Office Agency has had with representatives of the Hong Kong Governments Rating Valuation Department in relation to best practice, new technology and methodologies used in the valuation of domestic properties. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are serving abroad on active duty, including reserve forces; and what their average length of duty overseas is. 
Mr. Ingram: Location statistics may be compiled based on posted (stationed) location or deployed location. Posted (stationed) location is where an individual is permanently based. Deployed location is where an individual is physically located at a particular point in time and is typically used for short tours of active duty.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 11 December 2006, Official Report, columns 907-8W, on the armed forces, what criminal offences were involved, and which cases
were dealt with in (a) magistrates courts and (b) county courts. 
Mr. Ingram: The breakdown of information sought is not readily available in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I attach a breakdown of offences by category since 2001. As individuals may be charged with more than one offence the total numbers in each year do not correspond with those in my answer of 11 December 2006, Official Report, columns 970-8W, which relate to individuals not offences.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|