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20 Apr 2007 : Column 796W—continued

Regional Planning and Development: Eastern Region

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which social, economic and environmental partners receive (a) subscription and (b) grant money from the East of England Regional Assembly; and at what total cost. [132245]

Yvette Cooper: The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) does not pay subscriptions to partnerships, nor does it provide grants for which organisations can apply. However, as part of its purpose to promote the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the region, it does contribute its funds towards a range of initiatives undertaken by regional partners.


20 Apr 2007 : Column 797W

In 2006-07 EERA allocated approximately £150,000 towards the work of regional organisations which carry out social, economic or environmental initiatives, £75,000 of which was allocated to the East of England Sustainable Development Round Table and its associated Climate Change Partnership. Similar amounts are proposed for 2007-08. Further details of projects or partners which have received support from EERA are contained in its Annual Business Plans available at the EERA website.

Rents: North West Region

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for how many Rentcharge payers the Government Office for the North West has arranged to receive Rentcharge redemption in each of the last five years. [127904]

Yvette Cooper: In the period 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2006, the National Rentcharge Unit received 1,786 applications for redemption. Of these, 214 are still under consideration, 667 were redeemed and 905 were not redeemed.

Cases received Redeemed Not redeemed Total

2002

445

139

306

445

2003

406

156

250

406

2004

299

146

153

299

2005

310

152

158

310

2006

326

74

38

(1)112

Total

1,786

667

905

1,572

(1) Cases still under consideration—214.

A regional breakdown is not available.

Right to Buy Scheme

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers housing associations and trusts have to impose a two-year moratorium on the selling of houses under right-to-buy legislation. [130610]

Yvette Cooper: Social landlords have no general power to suspend the right-to-buy. However, the availability of the right-to-buy may be affected either by demolition plans or by the tenant’s own behaviour.

Where there are plans to demolish the property, service on the tenant of an initial demolition notice suspends the right-to-buy by preventing the tenant from forcing the landlord to complete the sale. Once a final demolition notice has been served, the right-to-buy no longer arises. An initial demolition notice can last up to five years. The final demolition notice must specify, demolition within 24 months (but may be extended by direction of the Secretary of State).

A landlord may also seek an order from the court suspending the right-to-buy for a specified period on the grounds of antisocial behaviour by the tenant. A tenant may not compel a landlord to complete a right-to-buy sale if an application for a demotion order, or for a suspension order or possession order on the grounds of antisocial behaviour is pending against him or her. In addition, where a tenant is in arrears of rent the landlord cannot be forced to complete the sale so long as payment of the arrears remains outstanding.


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Culture, Media and Sport

Olympic Games

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2007, Official Report, column 871W, on the Olympic games, what estimate has been made of how the £1.5 billion benefit to the London economy from the games will be apportioned between the London boroughs. [132500]

Mr. Caborn: The likely economic benefit to individual London boroughs of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games is not yet known. DCMS and our Olympic partners are continuing to analyse and evaluate the many economic, social, cultural and sporting benefits for London, and all sections of the UK, from hosting the games.

Olympic Games: Greater London

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that south west London boroughs share in the (a) economic, (b) social and (c) sporting benefits arising from the 2012 Olympic Games. [132580]

Mr. Caborn: The Olympic Board has agreed that the Mayor will be responsible for delivering the games' social, economic and environmental benefits for London, as well as improving sports participation at community and grass roots level for all Londoners. As a result, the Greater London Authority (GLA), on behalf of the Mayor, has co-ordinated the preparation of a detailed delivery plan for each of the Olympic sub-objectives relating to London, looking at how potential benefits can be realised for all boroughs, including those located in the south west

These plans include the summer of sport competitions, the employment and skills taskforce and the pre-volunteer programme, for which Croydon is a pilot borough.

In addition, Wimbledon will host the Olympic tennis tournament in 2012.

Television: Licensing

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people were charged for television licence evasion in Lancashire in each of the past five years. [127097]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

Local information on charging is not centrally held.

Data on the number of persons proceeded against at magistrates court and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to television licence evasion in the Lancashire police force area in the years 2001 to 2005 can be found in the following table.

Court proceedings data for 2006 will be available in the autumn of 2007.


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N umber of persons proceeded against at magistrates court and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to TV licence evasion in Lancashire police force area( 1,)( )( 2,)( )( 3)
Prosecuted Found guilty

2001

4,720

4,292

2002

5,058

4,753

2003

3,824

3,444

2004(3)

4,145

3,733

2005

6,270

5,762

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts, and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3 )The TV licensing provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 were replaced by new provisions in the Communications Act 2003 which came into effect 1 April 2004. Source: RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Defence

Armed Forces: Compensation Scheme

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library (a) the Defence Analytical Services Agency statistical information and (b) feedback from (i) users and (ii) claimants on the analysis of the first year of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. [132291]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement of 19 March 2007, Official Report, column 31WS. A copy of the report is available in the Library of the House. The report is also available on the Service Pensions and Veterans Agency (SPYA) website:

Armed Forces: Deployment

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether guidelines exist on how far in advance of deployment a battalion’s flight dates should be confirmed; and if he will make a statement. [131982]

Mr. Ingram: Formal guidelines are laid down on how far in advance flight dates should be confirmed to battalions. Defence Instructions and Notices number 03-020 states that detailed itineraries and arrangements for all tasks are to be issued, generally two weeks before the task date. In practice, however, for operations and exercises, battalions are normally given at least 10 to 30 days notice of departure.

In all situations the guiding principle is to give soldiers as much notice as possible of likely departure dates.

Armed Forces: Drugs

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the Directorate of Army Personnel Strategy following its examination of factors which lead to drug use among soldiers referred to in the answer of 17 May 2006, on armed forces (drug offences), Official Report, columns 952-3W. [132212]


20 Apr 2007 : Column 800W

Derek Twigg: The Directorate of Army Personnel Strategy's examination of factors which lead to drug use among soldiers is not yet complete. I will consider placing a copy of the report in the House Library when it becomes available.

Bombs

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what munitions testing has been undertaken of the ERBS M85 cluster bomb; and what the failure rate is of the self-destruct mechanism. [131014]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 April 2007]: There have been a number of trials of the 155 mm L20A1 Extended Range Bomblet Shell, which contains M85 bomblets. When the totality of test and acceptance firings is analysed over the life of the munition, the average bomblet failure rate is approximately 2 per cent. As part of its ongoing quality and performance regime the MOD continues to actively monitor the performance of this system and explore ways of reducing the failure rate still further in partnership with the supplier.

Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel were redeployed to (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan within (i) one month, (ii) two months, (iii) three months, (iv) four months, (v) five months, (vi) six months, (vii) one year and (viii) two years of completing their last deployment in each of the last three years. [128237]

Mr. Ingram: Deployment figures are currently provided at aggregate levels based on manual returns. They are not available in central individual level databases. As such these data could not be collated without incurring disproportionate cost.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason UK forces operate north of Baghdad; and if he will make a statement. [132619]

Des Browne: UK forces operate in and around Baghdad, including north of the city, in order to provide support to coalition operations, mentoring and training of Iraqi Security Forces and the provision of Force Protection to UK military and civilian personnel based in and around the city.

Iraq: Police

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of militia infiltration into the Iraqi Police Service; what risk this poses to joint patrols; and if he will make a statement. [131980]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 157W.


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Nimrod Aircraft

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he has received representations on the safety of Nimrod aircraft from fleet flight crew since September 2006; [126588]

(2) whether he received representations on the safety of the Nimrod fleet before September 2006; [126589]

(3) what representations he has received on the use of fuel lines on Nimrod aircraft. [126481]

Mr. Ingram: Representations has been defined as parliamentary questions and letters from third parties to Ministers.

Defence Ministers did not receive any official representations on the safety of the Nimrod fleet or the use of fuel lines on Nimrod aircraft from January 2006 to September 2006. Looking back beyond this date could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Since September 2006, whilst Defence Ministers have received official representations on the safety of Nimrod aircraft from members of the public, none of these referred to the use of fuel lines on the aircraft. I have no evidence to suggest that any of these representations were from serving flight crew.

In recent weeks the Department has received three requests under the Freedom of Information Act on the safety of Nimrod aircraft and on the use of fuel lines on the aircraft. There is no evidence to suggest that any of these requests are from serving flight crew.

War Pensions

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many letters the Veterans Agency has written to personnel in March 2007 waiting for (a) war disablement pensions and (b) Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments; and if he will make a statement. [131721]

Derek Twigg: We do not hold specific data on the total number of letters sent to those claiming war disablement pensions and payments under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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