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3 Sep 2007 : Column 1680Wcontinued
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether any Government-owned sites in Warrington have been identified as suitable for the provision of social or low-cost housing; and whether any discussions have taken place with other agencies about whether any sites they own could be released for housing provision. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Three surplus public sector sites in Warrington are on the Register of Surplus Public Sector land. They are:
the former Police Training Centre, Bruche, owned by the Home Office/National Police Improvement Agency;
a small piece of land in Delenty Drive, owned by the local PCT; and
former railway/ viaduct land owned by British Railways Board (Residuary) Ltd.
Of these, the Bruche site has been identified as having the potential for housing development. English Partnerships is taking forward discussions with the Home Office over its purchase to enable the provision of housing including affordable homes. English Partnerships has also discussed the former railway land with the British Railways Board (Residuary) Ltd. Following these discussions, two other surplus sites have been identified recently which are currently being assessed for housing potential.
After considering the Delenty Drive site with the primary care trust, English Partnerships and Warrington borough council have ruled out its potential for housing development because of its size.
English Partnerships is also examining the results of the second round competition for the First Time Buyers Initiative for further housing development opportunities in Warrington. The competition closed on 16 July and is aimed at developing potential First Time Buyers Initiative schemes on current or former public sector land.
Further discussions are continuing with all central Government Departments and their agencies about bringing forward more land for housing development.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department is the lead Government Department for the EUs INTERREG programme. 
Hazel Blears: Communities and Local Government is the lead Government Department for the EUs INTERREG programme.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether residential gardens are included in the typology of previously developed land for the National Land Use Database. 
Yvette Cooper: The typology for previously-developed land used in the National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land (NLUD-PDL) comprises vacant and derelict sites, and sites in use which the local authority has identified as possibly available for redevelopment. It includes residential as well as other land, however there is an optional minimum threshold of 0.25 hectares and therefore it generally does not include small sites.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to change the arrangements for local area agreements. 
John Healey: The Local Government White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities put local area agreements (LAAs) at the heart of the new performance framework for local government.
From 2008 new LAAs will be the only means by which central Government can agree targets for those outcomes delivered by local government alone or in partnership, drawn from the new national indicator set.
Further information on the new arrangements for LAAs can be found in the publication Developing the future arrangements for Local Area Agreements on the Communities and Local Government website at:
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the reasons for the time taken for signing off local area agreements. 
John Healey: New local area agreements will cover the period April 2008 to March 2011 in line with the new public service agreement (PSA) framework. Targets in the new agreements will be drawn from the national indicator set to be published following the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 in the autumn.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many referendums have been held on whether to have a directly-elected mayor under the Local Government Act 2000. 
John Healey: There have been 34 such referendums in England and one in Wales.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the revenue grant to local authorities was, excluding education funding, in each year since 1997-98. 
John Healey: Formula grant, which 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, is an unhypothecated block grant i.e. authorities are free to spend it on any service. This, together with the method of calculating the distribution to authorities, particularly floor damping, means that it is not possible to say how much grant has been provided for any particular service such as education.
The following table shows the amount of formula grant provided to all local authorities since 1997-98. Prior to 2006-07, the services covered by formula grant included schools; from 2006-07 onwards support for schools has been funded through the Dedicated Schools Grant. The table therefore also shows the total amount of Dedicated Schools Grant provided to authorities in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
|Current year's Formula Grant)||Dedicated Schools Grant||Total|
Please note that it is not possible to compare these data directly due to transfers in funding and function.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding is being provided to each participating budget pilot area; and what the source of this funding is. 
According to data from the local authorities concerned, the funding which has been available for allocation under participatory budgeting
in pilot areas, and its source, is set out as follows. This funding covers more than one financial year:
|Area||Funding source||Amount (£)|
Local Authority Transport capital programme, other minor works funding devolved to Claremont and Weaste Community Committee
Local Authority core funds (spending priorities for these funds to be decided in September)
The funding to be available for allocation in the remaining four areas is being agreed.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether councils taking part in the participatory budget pilots are receiving additional funding from central Government. 
John Healey: No. However the Department sponsors the Participatory Budgeting Unit, a Third Sector project managed by the Church Action on Poverty, which is involved in the pilots. A grant of £210,000 over three years from 2004 to 2007; and an additional £30,000 for this current year until March 2008, have been awarded by the Department for funding the Unit's core costs.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the pilots taking part in the participatory budget pilots were already engaged in participatory budgets prior to the recent announcement by her Department. 
John Healey: Five of the participatory budgeting areas identified by the Secretary of State earlier this month were already engaged in the pilot process.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what index is used to calculate inflation in relation to the costs of providing local authority services. 
John Healey: In common with other Government Departments, Communities and Local Government uses the HM Treasury Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Deflator to measure money changes in real terms.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has had from the Better Government for Cumbria Group on Cumbria County Council's unitary bid. 
John Healey [holding answer 23 July 2007]: We received representations from the Better Government for Cumbria Group on 25 January, 28 March and 22 June 2007. These were taken into account before we announced our decisions on which proposals should proceed towards implementation in my statement on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 68WS.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Departments budget limit is for unitary local government bids. 
John Healey: We made it clear in the Invitation to Councils, published in October 2006, that all proposals will need to be self-financing and central Government will accept no liability for any miscalculation or cost overrun in the final outturn.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has given to local authorities on the flying of the Union flag on a daily basis at council offices; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.
Local authorities can decide for themselves when they wish to fly the Union Flag. However, as some choose to follow Government guidance, we have updated the flag flying section of the DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk/flagflying) and informed the Local Government Association. This follows the announcement by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport allowing all UK Government Departments to have the freedom to fly the Union Flag when they wish while the Department carry out a consultation on altering the flag flying guidance.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of local government revenue expenditure, excluding education, was financed by specific grants in each year since 1997-98. 
John Healey: The percentage of local government revenue expenditure financed by specific grants in England in each year since 1997-98 and the estimated figures for 2006-07 and 2007-08 are in the following table.
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