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The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions about the centralisation of Social Fund processing and calls to the Social Fund system. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The centralisation of Social Fund is being undertaken on a roll-out basis and is not due for completion until March 2008. Once this schedule is complete Social Fund will be processed from 20 sites throughout the country. As we are only halfway through this process (with some of the rolled-out offices still to migrate Social Fund work into their sites), it is too early to make an assessment of the impact of centralisation. The decision to centralise this activity was to address performance variation and to concentrate our staff expertise to improve service to our customers.
The revised standard operating model was introduced recently. This makes our service more accessible to our customers because our customers can complete the process in a single call. As a result we have seen an increase in Social Fund applications and payments and a widening of access to the Fund.
The debt recovery process remains the same for centralised and non centralised offices.
As the modernisation programme for advanced telephony is still underway, we do not have management information giving the number of calls received, answered and completed in Social Fund sites.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what impact he expects the Pensions Bill to have on the returns delivered by the financial markets to pensioners over the expected life of those expected to contribute under its proposed arrangements. 
James Purnell: The introduction of personal accounts will enable more people to benefit from investment returns in financial markets and to receive higher incomes in retirement. We expect approximately £4 billion-£5 billion of additional savings per year as a result of personal accounts.
The impact on financial markets of such a savings increase is likely to be limited. Funds under management in personal accounts are expected to be invested in a diversified portfolio and are expected to be small compared to existing financial markets. As a result, we would not expect the rates of return delivered by the financial markets to pensioners to be affected significantly by the introduction of personal accounts.
Mr. Jim Murphy: David Freud involved officials from across the Department in his review and was supported by a secretariat of three officials on a full-time basis and two officials on a part-time basis.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) charges and (b) convictions there were for contraventions of building regulations in (i) Basingstoke and Deane Borough, (ii) Hampshire and (iii) England in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: As building control is a fully devolved service under the Building Act 1984, no central records are kept of charges or convictions arising from non-compliance with building regulations.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment she has made of the potential for reductions in council tax arising from proposals from shire counties for unitary authorities based on (a) county councils and (b) district councils. 
Mr. Woolas: If implemented, the unitary proposals that we are consulting on have the potential of delivering savings of up to around £200 million per annum. It will be for those local authorities whose bids are implemented to decide whether they use any part of those savings to reduce council tax.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the cost of the council tax revaluation in England; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Government will stand by their commitment not to revalue during the lifetime of this Parliament. With the forthcoming three-year settlement for local government concluding in 2010-11 it would not expect to consider revaluation before this date. Even at this point there would need to be clear benefits given the costs to households that could be involved. It is not possible at this stage to estimate what the costs of a future revaluation would be.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on proposals to give local authorities the power to authorise council tax inspectors to enter private properties; what qualifications such an inspector will require; and what powers they will be granted. 
Mr. Woolas: There are no such proposals. The Valuation Office Agency is a central Government Agency and its listing officers have the same powers of entry for the purposes of valuing homes for council tax that they were given when council tax was introduced in 1993. There have been no changes since then and we have no intention of making any changes in the future.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the
answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 8 March 2007, Official Report, column 2153W, on council tax: valuation, what property performance indicators local authorities are encouraged to collect. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the ministerial statement of 20 February 2007, Official Report, columns 13-7WS, on departmental expenditure limits, what the reason was for the transfer of (a) £104,000 from the Capacity Building to the Standards Board and (b) £300,000 from Bellwin to the Valuation Tribunal Service. 
Meg Munn: The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for decisions taken under Planning Acts. The Regional Assembly for the East of England published the draft East of England Plan on 8 December 2004 which was subject to an independent Examination in Public from 1 November 2005 until the 3 March 2006. The Examination in Public report was published on 22 June 2006.
Procedures and arrangements for the Ministerial phase of decisions on this round of RSSs were considered and set out in October, in advance of the first decisions needing to be taken, with the responsibility for decisions on the East of England Plan being delegated to me. The first decisions on the East of England Plan were taken by me in November.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to which Minister the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley reports on matters concerning housing and planning in the East of England region. 
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which local authorities are eligible for housing revenue account subsidy; and how much was granted to each eligible local authority in each year for which there are records; 
Yvette Cooper: I have placed the information requested in the Library of the House in a form of a table showing the amount of positive and negative housing revenue account subsidy entitlement for every eligible authority since 1994-95. Earlier information can only be retrieved at disproportionate cost.
The definition of negative subsidy was changed by the Local Government Act 2003, which came into force on 1 April 2004. The figures given are directly comparable, though the terminology changed between the financial years.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Valuation Office Agencys (VOA) definition of an outbuilding is for the purposes of dwellinghouse code 14 as published in VOA document IT IA 180303. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when she expects to answer question 122428, on key worker homes, tabled by the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 20 February; 
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the budget is for the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative in 2006-07; and what budget is planned for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09; 
Mr. Woolas: The budget for years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 are given in the following table. Please note that these figures exclude a possible third round of LEGI which is dependent on the outcome of the comprehensive spending review.
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The cost of administering LEGI in 2007-08 will be sensitive to a decision in CSR on whether there will be a third round of LEGI, and the timing of a third round. However, indicative costs for central Government administration spend for 2006-07 were £112,050, or 0.36 per cent . of the total budget for that year. I anticipate that administrative costs should remain broadly the same next year.
It is for local partnerships responsible for delivering LEGI to determine the proportion of their budget that is necessary and appropriate to efficiently administer the programme. We encourage partnerships to evaluate their spend against outcomes to help them achieve good value for money.
Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the written statement of 27 March 2007, Official Report, columns 71-3WS, on local government, what steps she plans to take in the event of the proposal for a unitary authority for Bedford being approved to ensure that a satisfactory outcome is obtained for the whole of the county of Bedfordshire. 
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 27 January 2007, Official Report, columns 71-3WS, on local government, what assessment she has made of the potential implications for (a) Mid-Bedfordshire and (b) South Bedfordshire of the approval of a unitary authority for Bedford; and if she will make a statement. 
We are now consulting stakeholders and partners (including all local authorities affected) on two unitary proposals for Bedfordshirethe proposal of Bedfordshire county council for a single unitary for the whole of Bedfordshire, and the proposal of Bedford borough council for a unitary Bedford. It is open to anyone, including the local authorities affected,
i.e., Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire, to comment on these proposals.
They may choose to respond to the consultation by proposing support for the Bedfordshire county council unitary proposal or by proposing support for the Bedford borough proposal, and in doing so, may suggest that the remainder of the county also be made unitary.
On the basis of the information currently before us, it is the Governments view that should the proposals for a unitary Bedford be accepted then the remainder of the county area would not be a viable two-tier area.
If, therefore, following consultation, we decided to implement the Bedford borough proposal, it would be open to us to direct (subject to the enactment of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill), the remaining authorities in Bedfordshire to come forward with a unitary proposal for the remainder of the county area.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date Sir Michael Lyons is contractually obliged to deliver his report on local government finance to the Government. 
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2007, Official Report, column 931W, on local government finance, what the total was of each component of the formula grant to each local authority in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Woolas: Tables showing the components of formula grant, together with formula grant, for all authorities for each year from 1998-99 to 2007-08 have been placed in the Library of the House. Formula grant comprises Revenue Support Grant, redistributed business rates, principal formula Police Grant, SSA Reduction Grant (SSA Review), SSA Reduction Grant (Police Funding Review) and Central Support Protection Grant where appropriate.
It is not possible to compare the data year-on-year as these are not on a like-for-like basis as there have been many changes in funding and function. For example, prior to 2006-07 support for schools was provided through formula grant; from 2006-07 support for schools is provided through the Dedicated Schools Grant.
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