Previous Section Index Home Page

25 Apr 2007 : Column 1187W—continued

Training: Expenditure

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 29 March 2007, Official Report, column 1685W, how the percentage of the train to gain budget not accounted for by training and skills brokerage is spent. [133090]

Phil Hope: Train to gain is a new service aimed at supporting business improve their productivity through increased investment in the skills of their workforce. By the end of February 2007, more than 30,000 employers have engaged their workforce in training with more than 107,000 learners engaged on training activity. Almost 70 per cent. of these were employers that fell within the definition of hard to reach.

For 2006-07, the total budget for train to gain was £281 million of which a total of £269.5 million was allocated to training and brokerage. The remaining budget is allocated to marketing and communications, evaluation and administration. In 2007-08, the planned budget is £414.4 million, of which £397.4 million is planned for training and brokerage. The remainder will be allocated to marketing and communications, evaluation and administration.

Communities and Local Government

Centrica: Canvey Island

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will set a target timetable for dealing with all stages of the Calor Gas and Centrica appeal in respect of their proposal to install a liquid natural gas importation plant on Canvey Island. [132716]

Yvette Cooper: The appeal will be dealt with in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000. The Planning Inspectorate have advised the parties of the timetable that the rules apply to the submission of their documents and will aim to arrange a public local inquiry date within 22 weeks from the starting date for the appeal, 15 March 2007. Following the close of the inquiry a timetable will be set for the appeal to be determined, which will be notified to the parties.

Community Wardens

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the Government Office for the West Midlands to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North dated 12 March, on community wardens; why the letter was not acknowledged; and if she will take steps to ensure that correspondence to Government offices (a) is acknowledged and (b) receives a substantive reply within a reasonable period. [133138]

Mr. Woolas: A substantive response was sent on 18 April.


25 Apr 2007 : Column 1188W

The Government office has a system in place to issue acknowledgements in respect of correspondence where a substantive reply is unlikely to be provided in 15 working days. Unfortunately, on this occasion this was not adhered to and I offer my hon. Friend sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Departments: Oral Questions

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many oral questions tabled by hon. and right hon. Members to her Department have been transferred to other Departments since May 2005. [133803]

Angela E. Smith: Since May 2005, the Department for Communities and Local Government (and its predecessor Department the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) has transferred nine oral questions to other Departments.

Energy: Conservation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans (a) to make proposals and (b) to provide incentives to improve the energy efficiency of district heating schemes. [124714]

Yvette Cooper: The decent homes standard is the major mechanism by which the Government are encouraging greater thermal and energy efficiency in social housing. The standard requires that homes have both efficient heating and effective insulation and this covers district heating systems.

The proposals in the consultation paper “Building a Greener Future” that all new homes will have to be zero carbon by 2016 could also drive the use of energy efficient district heating systems. This is supported by an incentive announced by the Chancellor in Budget 2007. The Chancellor announced a time-limited stamp duty exemption for zero carbon homes with all new zero carbon homes costing up to £500,000 paying no stamp duty.

Equal Opportunities: Adoption

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether an adoption agency expressing a preference to place a child with (a) a black or Asian family, (b) a family of a specific faith and (c) a heterosexual couple would constitute discrimination under the Government’s proposed equality legislation. [117924]

Meg Munn: An adoption agency (i.e. a local authority or a voluntary adoption agency) may assess a person as regards their suitability to adopt a child, but the decision on whether to place a child for adoption with particular prospective adopters is taken by the local authority adoption panel. The paramount consideration in any decision on whether to place a child for adoption with particular prospective adopters is the welfare of the child throughout his or her life, taking account of the child’s religion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.


25 Apr 2007 : Column 1189W

Housing: Hampshire

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) individuals and (b) families are in housing need in each local authority area in Hampshire; and what strategy she has for meeting this need. [131174]

Yvette Cooper: Communities and Local Government does not make estimates of housing need in each area, local authorities are required to assess housing need assessments as part of their strategic local housing market assessments.

Communities and Local Government 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.

Maps: Databases

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the cost was of developing the Maps on Tap database; [128444]

(2) what datasets are incorporated into her Department's Maps on Tap database; [128445]

(3) what (a) geospatial, (b) geo-demographic and (c) cadastral data her Department's Maps on Tap database holds; [128446]

(4) whether the Valuation Office Agency has access to her Department's Maps on Tap database. [128557]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Maps on Tap database at:

The Valuation Office Agency has access to the Maps on Tap database.

The cost of developing the Maps on Tap database was £3.03 million.

Non-domestic Rates: Children’s Centres

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what level of business rates Sure Start children’s centres pay when located within primary schools; [133765]

(2) what level of business rates is paid by (a) maintained and (b) private, voluntary and independent nurseries when located within a primary school. [133766]

Mr. Woolas: All occupiers of non-domestic property, known as hereditaments, pay business rates as a way of contributing to a range of local services. Business rates are payable regardless of ownership and are based on the rateable value of the hereditament in question. The level of business rates payable by a ratepayer depends on the circumstances of the particular case. Depending on the facts, a building may for rating purposes constitute more than one hereditament. In such cases, the occupiers of those separate units would be liable for rates.


25 Apr 2007 : Column 1190W

Rateable values are generally based on the assumed rent the property would attract if let on the open market on a specific date. These values are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an independent agency of HM Revenue and Customs, in line with well-established rating principles and methodology. If ratepayers disagree with the rateable value of their property, they may challenge it by making an appeal to the VOA.

We are aware that the impact of business rates is greater on small businesses compared with larger concerns. The small business rate relief scheme that we introduced with effect from 1 April 2005 therefore provides up to 50 per cent. rate relief for eligible properties irrespective of the use to which the property is put.

Parking: Planning Permission

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes Planning Policy Statement 3 has made to the number of car parking spaces allowed in new housing developments; what status Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 has in this context; and if she will make a statement. [129765]

Ruth Kelly: Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing gives local authorities the ability to set their own standards for density and car parking. PPS3 says that local authorities should, in partnership with their communities, develop residential parking policies for their areas, taking account of expected levels of car ownership, the importance of promoting good design and the need to use land efficiently.

PPS3 Annex A cancelled the guidance on residential parking in paragraphs 12-17 of Planning Policy Guidance note 13: Transport (PPG13) as the general principles of PPS3 supersede this section, by outlining the wider duty of local authorities to consider promoting sustainable transport choices and local circumstances when developing car parking policies.

Planning: Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her Department’s observations of 22 February 2007 on the petition presented to the House on 26 April by the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes whether her statement that overall responsibility for planning policies and delivery in Milton Keynes remains with Milton Keynes council applies to all land within the boundary of the unitary authority. [126225]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 8 March 2007]: Milton Keynes council is responsible for all local planning policies i.e. development plan documents that apply within the boundary of the unitary authority. This includes those local planning policies which form part of the development plan for the purposes of section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The relevant planning policies within the Regional Spatial Strategy, in particular the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Sub-Regional Strategy, also forms part of the development plan for the Milton Keynes area.


25 Apr 2007 : Column 1191W

Planning: Wind Power

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department is considering changing the guidelines for any planning policy relating to energy producing wind turbines in (a) national parks and (b) areas of outstanding natural beauty. [126691]

Yvette Cooper: We have recently consulted on a draft planning policy statement (PPS) “Planning and Climate Change”. This sets out our proposals on how planning should contribute to reducing emissions and stabilising climate change. Planning is expected to make a full contribution to delivering the Government’s Climate Change Programme and energy policies. This includes giving greater emphasis to local renewable sources for supplying the energy needs of new developments and looking favourably on proposals for renewable energy.

The draft PPS builds on our policies in PPS22 “Renewable Energy” which state that renewable energy developments should be capable of being accommodated throughout England in locations where the technology is viable and environmental, economic, and social impacts can be addressed satisfactorily. PPS22 sets out detailed considerations applicable to determining planning applications for renewable energy projects, including on sites in areas with nationally recognised designations such as those within national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Planning permission for renewable energy projects on these sites can be granted where it is demonstrated that the objectives of designation of the area will not be compromised by the development, and any significant adverse effects on the qualities for which the area has been designated are clearly outweighed by the environmental, social and economic benefits.

Temporary Accommodation

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on the progress of the research commissioned by her Department into the experiences of homeless households in temporary accommodation. [133730]

Yvette Cooper: This research is expected to be published in the autumn this year.

The publication date reflects the need for detailed analysis to ensure that the findings reflect a full understanding of the data.

Written Questions

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to reply to question 126691, on guidelines for planning policy regulations, tabled by the hon. Member for Cotswold on 6 March 2007. [133886]

Yvette Cooper: I have now replied to question 126691.


25 Apr 2007 : Column 1192W

Health

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she intends to take following the recommendation of the National Screening Committee, that a national screening policy should be implemented by her Department for abdominal aortic aneurysm. [133523]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 23 April 2007]: The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (NSC) has advised that screening for men aged 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) can be recommended in principle subject to further work, particularly on the appropriate configuration of treatment services and the provision of men to make an informed choice about whether to undergo screening. The NSC considered further work undertaken by the AAA screening working group at its meeting in March 2007. More detailed work will now be undertaken on the practical issues that would be involved in implementation.

Acute Beds

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed transfers of care from acute beds there have been in each NHS trust in the last 12 months; and what proportion of the total number of transfers of care from acute beds this represents in each trust. [131879]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Acute Beds: East Sussex

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed discharges there were in acute hospitals in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex in the last 12 months. [130968]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The number of patients with delayed transfer of care at East Sussex hospitals national health service trust is available in the following table:


25 Apr 2007 : Column 1193W
Month

2006

Patients with delayed transfer of care

March

52

April

59

May

56

June

55

July

55

August

68

September

64

October

58

November

34

December

34

2007

January

38

February

46

Note:
The number of delayed transfers of care is a snapshot taken at Midnight every Thursday.
Source:
Department of Health SitReps

Next Section Index Home Page