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Yvette Cooper: The Government set up the Affordable Rural Housing Commission to look into ways to improve the affordability of rural housing. Since its report in May 2006 we have taken a series of measures to help address rural problems, including changes to planning rules and a commitment to set a rural target for affordable housing over the next three years in light of the advice from regional housing boards which is done later in the year.
The Government set out measures in the Housing Green Paper which will help rural as well as urban areas. The detail of where new homes should be built is a matter for local planning authorities to determine.
In addition, the Prime Minister has asked the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) to conduct a review on how land use and planning can better support rural business and deliver more affordable housing. The review should be completed around July 2008.
The Housing Corporation is also exploring whether Community Land Trusts can add to the delivery of affordable housing: with Salford University it is supporting a number of pilot Community Land Trusts in rural areas in order to establish the pros and cons of a number of different models.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to encourage local authorities to establish strong links between their local area agreement and local compacts. 
John Healey: It is vital that non-statutory organisations such as voluntary and community sector groups and businesses are fully involved in partnership working to agree and deliver local area agreements. Indeed in most areas they are already involved in collaborative working through the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) for the area. The 2006 LSP survey showed that over 80 per cent. of LSPs have voluntary sector umbrella organisations among their membership and nearly two thirds involve businesses. We want LSPs to develop this further because these sectors have a valuable contribution to make to discussions and can help to deliver in ways in which mainstream public sector providers can find difficult.
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill, requires that the upper-tier or responsible local authority must consult such other persons as appear to it to be appropriate, during the preparation of both the Sustainable Community Strategy and Local Area Agreement. While this will allow local authorities to exercise their discretion in this matter, we would expect responsible local authorities to consult with appropriate representatives of the local voluntary,
community and business sectors. We will make this obligation clear through the statutory guidance to accompany the legislation.
In addition, all local authorities now have a local compact in place which, if utilised, can help deliver real change for communities by recognising the third sectors independence, partnership working, diversity and right to campaign. Local authorities and their partners should consider how compact principles can be embedded in local area agreements.
To help ensure third sector organisations are effectively involved in the LAA process we have also worked with national third sector organisations to develop guiding principles of representation, based on their experience of what has proved successful. We will shortly be releasing these principles as a discussion paper.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 October 2007, Official Report, columns 666-67W, on Local Authorities: Equal Pay, what criteria were used to determine how much funding would be provided for Bournemouth to meet pay and grading reviews in order to comply with the Equal Pay Act 1974. 
John Healey: On 4 April 2007, Communities and Local Government published a revised guidance note covering the policy and procedures for authorities seeking capitalisation of equal pay back-pay costs in 2007-08. This guidance is available at:
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the central Governments grant per capita was for each local authority in England in (a) 1997-98 and (b) 2005-06; and what the average grant per capita in (i) district councils, (ii) unitary councils, (iii) county councils, (iv) metropolitan councils and (v) London boroughs was in each of those years. 
|£ per head|
|Class of authority||1998-99||2005-06|
Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn (RO) returns.
Central Government grant is defined here as the sum of formula grant (revenue support grant, police grant and redistributed non-domestic rates) and specific grants inside aggregate external finance (AEF), i.e. revenue grants paid for a councils core services.
Figures exclude grants outside AEF (i.e. where funding is not for authorities core services, but is passed to a third party, for example, rent allowances and rebates), capital grants, funding for the local authorities housing management responsibilities and those grant programmes (such as European funding) where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) of 3 September 2007, Official Report, columns 1682-83W, on Local Government Finance, which years the funding covers for each of the participatory budget pilot areas indicated. 
John Healey: Pursuant to the reply given on 3 September 2007, Official Report, columns 1682-83W, on the amount of funding allocated by the participatory budgeting pilot projects, the following table shows the breakdown by financial year.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the percentage change in central Government funding provided to each local authority in London was in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on the formula by which area-based grant will be allocated to Oxfordshire from April 2008. 
John Healey: The overall allocation for Area Based Grant for an individual authority will not be allocated on the basis of formulae. Each Department allocating support to local authorities through Area Based Grant will be responsible for determining the distribution of their funding contribution to individual authorities. Total Area Based Grant allocations at local authority level will be the sum of the allocations made by each Department contributing funding.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the impact on public expenditure of treating the dedicated schools grant as part of a local authority's overall budget for the purposes of calculating the threshold over which Bellwin funding may be claimed; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The Government consider it appropriate to include dedicated schools grant within the threshold calculation since costs incurred by local authorities on schools are eligible for Bellwin funding provided other criteria are met.
Central government grant is defined here as the sum of formula grant (revenue support grant, police grant and redistributed non-domestic rates) and specific grants inside aggregate external finance (AEF), i.e. revenue grants paid for council's core services.
Figures exclude grants outside AEF (i.e. where funding is not for authorities' core services, but is passed to a third party, for example, rent allowances and rebates), capital grants, funding for the local authorities' housing management responsibilities and those grant programmes (such as European funding) where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities, classified by Government office region, have Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets which include adoption targets; what the target for adoption is in each case; and how much money each local authority will receive if it achieves all of its PSA targets. 
John Healey [pursuant to the reply 13 June 2007, Official Report, c. 1073W]: There are 64 reward targets in Local Public Service Agreements and Local Area Agreements which measure performance on adoption and/or stability of placements for Looked After Children. Reward would be payable to local authorities and their partners for achievement of these particular targets. Details on each target have been made available in the Library of the House.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which local planning authorities have included a Merton planning rule requiring onsite renewable energy in new developments in their draft local development frameworks; 
(2) how many local authorities (a) have adopted a Merton rule requiring onsite renewables in all major new developments and (b) have included a Merton rule requiring onsite renewables in all major new developments as part of their draft local development frameworks. 
John Healey: The current non-statutory Local Strategic Partnership guidance issued in 2001 does not prescribe a role for hon. Members, instead leaving the decision about how MPs are represented on individual partnerships to the discretion of local authorities, their partners and MPs themselves. Accordingly, the roles MPs take on Local Strategic Partnerships are varied and can range from non-representation through to chairing the partnership.
Government do not monitor individual Local Strategic Partnerships on these roles, but have collected data through a survey of LSPs. The 2006 survey indicated that 10 per cent. of LSPs included MPs or MEPs among their core membership and 27 per cent. among their wider membership.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to reply to the letters of 20 July and 21 September from the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean on the Planning White Paper and its impact on wildlife. 
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