Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures her Department is taking to discourage the compensation culture and promote sensible risk management. 
Mr. Woolas: This Department is represented on the cross-government Ministerial Steering group which is promoting sensible risk management as part of its work on tackling perceptions of a compensation culture. Officials are working with colleagues from the Department for Constitutional Affairs, Local Government Employers, and the Health and Safety Executive, on a workshop Risk and RedressThe way Forward for Local Government, which will look at approaches to managing risk sensibly. The workshop will involve local government stakeholders.
In addition the Department is taking a number of specific steps to promote good risk management. The Department will shortly bring forward revised guidance under the How To programme, which aims to raise the quality of town centres, residential areas, and parks and green spaces by encouraging and supporting a climate of good practice. The new guidance will provide advice on how local managers of the public realm, and parks in particular, should assess and manage risk and the perception of risk.
The Department has also tasked the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) with undertaking research and producing good practice guidance on how risk affects the design and management of the public realm. This work will be disseminated in partnership with other relevant organisations later this year.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether restrictions may be imposed upon local councillors to prevent them taking part in public debate on land sale decisions by local authorities. 
There is no legislation preventing local councillors from discussing issues of concern with their constituents or other members of the public. However, in any such discussion about matters such as a land sale, councillors, if they are to be involved in the final decision, must avoid giving the impression of having a predetermined view, or otherwise risk that decision being challenged in the courts. It is a matter for each member to ensure that, in the circumstances of particular cases, such an impression is not given.
Members may wish to seek advice on their position from their authoritys monitoring officer. The Local Government Association has published guidance on avoiding predetermination in Probity in Planning: The role of councillors and Officers.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answers of 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 172W, and 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 1352W, on departmental travel, what the costs were of the staff trips to (a) the Far East and (b) North America. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 1353W, on Home Information Packs, what the timetable is for producing the new estimated costs in the revised regulatory impact assessment. 
Mr. Woolas: The Department does not make estimates of housing need as any such estimates would be unlikely to adequately reflect the diversity of needs and priorities at the local level. Instead local authorities are required to assess housing need assessments as part of their Strategic Local Housing Market Assessments.
The Department has a variety of strategies for addressing housing need, including concentrating efforts and resources on homelessness prevention activities, increasing investment in the provision of new social housing and improving the stock of existing social housing through the Decent Homes programme.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the acreage of land prone to flooding which will be developed with housing during the next five years. 
Angela E. Smith: The Code for Sustainable Homes (the Code) came into effect in the beginning of April 2007 as a voluntary assessment and rating system. All homes built with Housing Corporation and Communities and Local Government housing growth programme funding, and all housing developed by English Partnerships will be built to Code Level 3 from April 2008. These new homes will be 25 per cent. more energy efficient than current Building Regulations, use less water than the average home and have an improved environmental performance overall. In the longer term it is expected that the Code will drive up environmental performance of new homes.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding the Commission for Racial Equality provided to (a) the IPPR and (b) IPPR Trading Ltd in each year since May 1997; and for what purpose. 
Donation in support of a Delivering Race Equality in the Public Sector event; and for a Race and Governance Project (to cover extra administrative support to organise the event, catering and publication).
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department, and its predecessor, provided to (a) the IPPR and (b) IPPR Trading Ltd in each year since 2002; and for what purpose. 
Ruth Kelly: The following table sets out the expenditure incurred by the Department and, prior to May 2006, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, on the procurement of goods and services from the IPPR and IPPR Trading Ltd in each year since 2002.
|Financial year||IPPR (£)||IPPR Trading Ltd (£)||Service|
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding the Housing Corporation has provided to (a) the IPPR and (b) IPPR Trading Ltd in each year since May 1997; and for what purpose. 
Ruth Kelly: The Housing Corporation is a non-departmental public body funded by Communities and Local Government. Through its innovation and good practice grants programme, which aims to facilitate the development of innovative approaches and promote good practice in the housing sector, the Corporation has provided the following grant to IPPR Trading Ltd. (Institute for Public Policy Research Trading Ltd.). All payments were given as grants and are VAT inclusive.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding English Partnerships has provided to (a) the IPPR and (b) IPPR Trading Ltd in each year since May 1997; and for what purpose. 
May 2005£20,000 for research into sustainable communities growth areas;
December 2006£6,500 for mixed income communities project;
January 2007£6,000 for mixed income communities project (second instalment).
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what basis she took the decision to implement no more than eight proposals for local government restructuring; and what (a) research and (b) consultation her Department undertook in relation to that decision. 
Ruth Kelly: A decision has not been taken to implement no more than eight proposals for local government restructuring. We are now consulting on the proposals which in our judgment deliver the outcomes specified in our Invitation to Councils. We will take final decisions following consultation. Proposals will proceed to implementation if, and only if, when we take our final decisions, we remain satisfied that they meet the criteria, and that the overall use of reserves is affordable, having regard to the prevailing fiscal position and risk around the costs of implementation.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the presence of (a) solar panels and (b) small-scale wind turbines is taken into account by the Valuation Office Agency when assessing the rateable value of a business premises for business rates purposes. 
Mr. Woolas: Both solar panels and wind turbines (of whatever size) are named items in Table 1 to Class 1 of the Schedule to the Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) (England) Regulations 2000 [SI 2000 No. 540]. As such the Valuation Office Agency is required to take the presence of such plant into account when assessing the rateable value of business premises. The question as to whether the presence of such plant is likely to have a significant impact, or any effect at all, upon the rateable value of a particular property is a valuation matter which will depend upon the facts in each case.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the cost of the establishment of unitary authorities were all 16 bids to be approved. 
Mr. Woolas: The 16 unitary proposals, now subject to consultation, cover 13 areas, for three of which there are two alternative proposals. Each proposal contains a detailed financial analysis of costs and savings which show that if unitary structures were implemented in all 13 areas the costs would range from some £190 million to £200 million depending on the alternative chosen.
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