Previous Section Index Home Page

8 Mar 2007 : Column 2137W—continued

UK Membership of EC

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will (a) make and (b) place in the Library an assessment of the effects on the UK of membership of the EU since 1973. [125538]

Mr. Hoon: The Government’s assessments of the positive effects on the UK of EU membership have been set out on many occasions including in Parliamentary debates, speeches and publications. Membership of the EU has brought significant benefits to the UK, for example in terms of wealth, jobs, peace and security. British engagement in Europe is vital to Britain’s national interests and assists us in achieving
8 Mar 2007 : Column 2138W
our policy goals. As part of the EU, the UK is better able to deal with global issues like the environment and world trade, and tackle problems like crime, illegal immigration and terrorism.

As these assessments are already publicly available, including in information on the Government’s www.europe.gov.uk website, the Government have no plans to produce a separate assessment at this time.

UN Resolutions

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any UN Resolutions requiring action by the UK Government have not been complied with; and if she will make a statement. [125818]

Dr. Howells: As a longstanding, committed and active member of the UN, the UK takes seriously all resolutions which are adopted by UN bodies. While the majority of these resolutions do not give rise to binding obligations, they are important expressions of the international community’s opinion on an issue. Only the UN Security Council can adopt binding resolutions. The Government considers that it is acting in compliance with all such legally-binding resolutions applicable to the UK.

USA: Embassies

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United States citizens are employed by British embassies. [126179]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs 13,592 staff in its missions overseas, of which 2,897 are UK-based and 10,695 are locally employed. UK-based staff are British citizens. We do not hold central records on the nationality of local staff. It would not be possible to obtain this information without incurring disproportionate cost.

War Crimes

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 28 February 2007, Official Report, column 1374W, to the hon. Member for Milton Keynes, South-West (Dr. Starkey), on war crimes, for what reasons she has been reviewing the legal and practical issues raised by the issue of arrest warrants in international cases; and whether she has reached any conclusions. [125765]

Joan Ryan: I have been asked to reply.

The Government have been reviewing the legal and practical issues relating to the issue of arrest warrants in international cases in the light of experience of such cases in recent years, but we have not yet completed our consideration of these matters. Any proposals to change the legislation would be laid before Parliament in the normal way.


8 Mar 2007 : Column 2139W

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list the property performance indicators which are collected from local authorities. [124418]

Mr. Woolas: Local authorities are no longer required to submit Property Performance Indicators information to the Department or the regional Government Offices. Although not required to submit this information, local authorities should continue to collect and use these Performance Indicators to help them to effectively manage their assets.

Fire Safety: Costs

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the (a) one-off and (b) recurring costs of implementing the Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. [125597]

Angela E. Smith: The Government’s estimate is given in the regulatory impact assessment that accompanied the Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 when they were laid before the House. I have placed copies of that assessment in the Library.

Housing: Infrastructure

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made with the cross-cutting review of infrastructure requirements for housing as part of the comprehensive spending review announced by her Department on 20th June 2006. [125580]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The Government's response to the Barker Review announced the Government would conduct an HM Treasury led CSR07 Policy Review into Supporting Housing Growth to determine the infrastructure implications of housing growth in different spatial forms and locations, establish a framework for sustainable and cost-effective patterns of growth, and ensure that departmental resources across government are targeted appropriately to support growth. The review is ongoing and will report to Treasury Ministers ahead of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Local Authorities: Disclosure of Information

David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what measures her Department has taken to ensure consistency in the fees charged for securing public sector information from local authorities in the UK; [125147]


8 Mar 2007 : Column 2140W

(2) what measures her Department has taken to improve consistency in the length of time it takes applicants to secure public sector information from local authorities. [125155]

Mr. Woolas: It is for each local authority to ensure that it complies with all the applicable statutory requirements about the provision of information. The Department for Communities and Local Government has no role in the enforcement and monitoring of such compliance.

David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans her Department has to ensure that local authorities implement the recommendations of the Office of Fair Trading’s report on public sector information; [125153]

(2) what measures she plans to put in place in relation to local authorities which fail to meet the standards recommended in the Office of Fair Trading’s report on public sector information. [125154]

Mr. Woolas: The Government welcome the Office of Fair Trading’s report on public sector information and is continuing to study the detail and potential impacts before responding to the recommendations. The Government plan to respond shortly after the local and devolved administrations’ elections.

Local Authorities: Members

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued on whether local authorities should invite local hon. Members to (a) area forums and (b) Strategic Partnership Board meetings; and if she will make a statement. [125724]

Mr. Woolas: The current non-statutory LSP guidance issued in 2001 does not prescribe a role for local hon. Members, instead it states that

The expectation in relation to informal area forums covering a subsection of a local authority area would also be for the membership to be determined locally.

However, as I emphasised in the recent Commons Committee debate on the Local Government and Public involvement in Health Bill (22 February 2007), the role of Members of Parliament in LSPs and local area agreements in particular is rising up the policy agenda. Members of Parliament have unique experience both of the issues faced by local people and an understanding of the key national priorities and as such their involvement in LAAs will be critical.

Local Government Finance

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria she used in the allocation of capitalisation permissions to local authorities. [122566]


8 Mar 2007 : Column 2141W

Mr. Woolas: The criteria used in the allocation of capitalisation directions to local authorities are available on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Successful applications for capitalisation in 2006-07 were approved at 57.19 per cent. of the amount applied for. This took into account the Secretary of State’s consideration of the effect on the national economy of granting capitalisation directions to local authorities in England for expenditure incurred in the financial year that began on 1 April 2006. The method chosen was considered to be simple, transparent and fair to all authorities. The only exceptions to this were to applications from two authorities where the Government have used its intervention or engagement powers, and whose applications were agreed earlier in the year as part of a wide ranging package of measures aimed at rebuilding the capacity of the authorities to deliver effective services. We are currently discussing a package of sector-led support to help drive forward improvement in Stoke.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average value was of grants awarded to (a) unitary and (b) county councils in England in addition to their local government financial settlement in each of the last five years. [126127]

Mr. Woolas: The information requested is tabled as follows:

Average value of specific grants inside aggregate external finance
£ million
Unitary authorities County councils

2001-02

18

59

2002-03

25

80

2003-04

37

97

2004-05

39

109

2005-06

42

114

Source:
Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn returns.

The figures exclude grants outside aggregate external finance (i.e. where funding is not for an authority’s core services, but is passed to a third party; for example, as in the case of mandatory student awards), capital grants, funding for local authorities’ housing management responsibilities and those grant programmes (such as European funding) where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.

Local Government Finance: Dorset

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which grants were awarded to councils in (a) Poole, (b) Bournemouth and (c) Dorset in addition to their local government financial settlement in each of the last five years; and what the value was of each award. [126126]

Mr. Woolas: Information on grants awarded to Poole UA, Bournemouth UA and Dorset CC in addition to their local government financial settlement in each of the last five years has been made available in a table which has been placed in the Library of the House.


8 Mar 2007 : Column 2142W

The figures exclude grants outside AEF (i.e. where funding is not for an authority’s core services, but is passed to a third party; for example, as in the case of mandatory student awards), capital grants, funding for local authorities’ housing management responsibilities and those grant programmes (such as European funding) where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.

Local Government Finance: Greater London

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been allocated to each London borough for the purposes of increasing local government efficiency since 2005. [124842]

Angela E. Smith: Funding to support efficiency in local authorities is distributed to nine Regional Centres of Excellence (RCEs), including the London RCE. Funding for individual projects, many of which operate across local authority boundaries, are decided by the RCE Board. Each RCE has its own local governance arrangements for supporting authorities to achieve efficiency gains.

Olympic Games: Leicester

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the potential role of Leicester in the Olympic Games. [125632]

Angela E. Smith: My Department has not had any specific discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the potential role of Leicester in the 2012 Olympic games and Paralympic games.

However, the Government are committed to ensuring that people across the UK can benefit and participate in the 2012 games.

DCMS are working closely with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Nations and Regions Group (NRG), which supports local representatives, from business and the community, in planning how to maximise the impact of the games in their area.

Parents: Learning Disability

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to provide local authorities with additional support for parents with learning difficulties to care for their children. [119350]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

The Department will shortly be publishing good practice guidance on working with parents with learning disabilities. One of the purposes of this guidance is to help services to improve their support for parents with a learning disability and their children. The guidance will be aimed at both adult’s and children’s services.


8 Mar 2007 : Column 2143W

Social Services: Hertfordshire

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will ensure that the funding formula for adult social services takes account of (a) trends in the level of demand for the services in an area and (b) demographic trends in an area, with particular reference to West Hertfordshire. [125232]

Mr. Woolas: The information requested is as follows.

(a) Adult social services in West Hertfordshire are provided by Hertfordshire county council. The social services funding formulae are based on recent evidence of the relative need for social services across England. The current formulae draw on a 2005 survey of 18 local authorities who provide social services. Looking to the future, we are working with local government as part of the spending review process to ensure that demand for social services, and other cost pressures, are adequately funded.

(b) There are two adult social services formulae; one for younger adults’ social services and another for older people’s social services. Each formula is calculated using the number of people in the relevant age group in each council area, and a range of relevant socio economic characteristics. For example the younger adults’ social services formula is calculated using the following data:


Next Section Index Home Page