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10 Dec 2007 : Column 152W—continued

Schools: Transport

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average cost per capita of school transport in predominantly (a) rural and (b) urban local authorities; and if she will make a statement. [170878]

Jim Knight: I have been asked to reply.

The predicted average cost of school transport for the financial year 2007-08 per pupil in predominantly rural and urban local authorities is shown in the following table. The estimated costs are averaged across all pupils attending maintained schools: most do not use school transport. The costs in urban areas mainly relate to transport arrangements made for children with special educational needs.

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The Education (Budget Statements) (England) Regulations 2007, budgeted net expenditure per pupil( 1, 2) by local authorities( 3) in England on school transport( 1) : 2007-08( 4) , cash terms figures( 4, 5) as reported by local authorities as at 30th November 2007
Budgeted net expenditure on school transport( 1) per pupil( 2) (£)



Predominantly urban local authorities(3)


Predominantly rural local authorities(3)


(1) Includes all elements of school transport for school pupils. This is drawn from local authorities' 2007-08 Section 52 Budget Statements (Table 1 lines 1.2.5 - SEN transport, 2.4.6 - Home to school transport [SEN transport] and 2.4.7 - Home to school transport [other home to school transport]).
(2) The January 2007 pupil numbers used to calculate the per pupil amounts are as reported by the local authority on their Section 52 Budget Statement (Table 2 column 13a) comprising of the full-time equivalent number pupils registered at the school used for the initial determination of the school's budget share under the local authority's allocation formula.
(3) The classification of local authorities into those which are predominately urban and predominately rural is based upon The Rural and Urban Area Classification (2004) sponsored by the Countryside Agency (CA), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and the Welsh Assembly Government. Predominantly rural local authorities are classified as those which consist of more than 50 per cent. rural Output Areas.
(4) 2007-08 data remains provisional and subject to change by the local authority.
(5) Figures are rounded to the nearest £10.

Shared Ownership Schemes

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many shared ownership completed sales were facilitated through her Department's homebuy schemes in 2006-07. [171560]

Yvette Cooper: There were 14,656 shared ownership completed sales through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme in 2006-07.

Shared Ownership Schemes: North East Region

Mr. Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her forecast is of the number of home purchases through (a) New Build Homebuy and (b) other shared ownership schemes in the North East over the next 12 months; and how many such purchases were made in each case in the last 12 months. [168302]

Yvette Cooper: The New Build HomeBuy scheme was launched in April 2006 to enable social tenants, key workers and other priority groups buy a share of a newly built property while paying rent on the remainder.

Details of the number of purchases over the next 12 months are not yet available. The Housing Corporation are currently analysing the bids received for their 2008-11 programme following the bidding round which closed on 2 November.

119 homes have been purchased through the New Build HomeBuy and other share-ownership schemes between April 2006 and September 2007 in the North East.

Rough Sleepers

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether funding for rough sleepers announced by her Department on 13 November was transferred funding from another area within the Government’s spending plans over the last three years. [171590]

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Mr. Iain Wright: The £70 million Places of Change programme announced on 13 November is new funding from the recent comprehensive spending review (CSR) for the next three years. This funding will continue the work over the past three years under the £90 million Hostels Capital Improvement Programme (which runs until March 2008) and will build upon its success. In total, the Department has invested £160 million since 2005 towards helping rough sleepers to move away from the streets and to enable them to move into independent or more appropriate supported accommodation.

Small Businesses: Non-Domestic Rates

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firms, defined as small businesses, were on the Valuation Office Agency's Ratings List in the latest period for which figures are available. [171528]

Mr. Dhanda: There were 1,049,791 non-domestic properties, known as hereditaments, in England as at 17 November 2007 with a rateable value up to £10,000, the threshold for potentially qualifying for relief under the small business rate relief scheme. In addition, there were 57,908 hereditaments with rateable values between £10,001 and £21,499 in Greater London and 130,532 such properties with rateable values between £10,001 and £14,999 outside Greater London who may also qualify to have their rate liability calculated using the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. However, as well as not exceeding the relevant rateable value threshold, one of the conditions for relief is that the ratepayer may occupy only one hereditament in England. Those occupying multiple properties are not therefore eligible for relief, although small hereditaments with a rateable value below £2,200 are disregarded when considering whether the occupancy condition is met.

Social Rented Housing: Antisocial Behaviour Orders

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what right tenant management organisations and arm's length management organisations have to obtain antisocial behaviour orders. [167550]

Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities have been provided with the discretion to decide whether they wish to delegate some or all of their antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) functions to arm’s length and tenant management organisations since 11 May 2007 when regulations were made.

This means an arm’s length management or a tenant management organisation may apply to the courts for an ASBO when they and the parent local authority have agreed this is appropriate.

Standards Board for England: Sustainable Development

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has conducted a sustainability appraisal in the light of the recent relocation announcement of the Standards Board for England. [171062]

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Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 4 December 2007]: A sustainability appraisal was not conducted when the Standards Board for England recently relocated. The Standards Board for England is not covered by the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate targets and associated mandates, which include the requirement to conduct sustainability appraisals when relocating offices.

Tourism: West Midlands

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government have taken to promote tourism in the west midlands since 1997. [167512]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 26 November 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has provided the national tourism agency, VisitBritain (and its predecessor bodies), with funding since 1997 to promote Britain internationally, and England domestically, as an attractive tourist destination. The west midlands has benefited from this support for the sector, in common with the rest of the country.

From 1997-98 to 2002-03, funding passed from the English Tourist Council (ETC, formerly the English Tourist Board) to the Heart of England Tourist Board (HETB), which represented both the east and west midlands. In 2003, the regional development agencies, including Advantage West Midlands (AWM), took on strategic responsibility for tourism support in the regions. Since then, AWM has worked with partners in the region to reorganise tourism support structures, including the development of Tourism West Midlands to oversee the delivery of the West Midlands Visitor Economy Strategy, and has allocated revenue funding to the development and promotion of tourism.

AWM has led significant capital investment in tourism infrastructure and facilities through a number of funding streams, including European structural funds. Businesses in the tourism sector also benefit from access to skills and training programmes funded by the Learning and Skills Council, and business support schemes delivered through Business Link West Midlands.

In addition, DCMS has made substantial investment in heritage, arts and culture since 1997. These sectors, in addition to their intrinsic value to the nation's cultural life, benefit the visitor economy by attracting visitors.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bangladesh: Politics and Government

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the (a) political and (b) economic situation in Bangladesh. [172773]

Dr. Howells: We welcome the Caretaker government’s commitment to hold elections by the end of 2008. Credible elections are vital to sustaining democracy in
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Bangladesh in the longer term. In creating the conditions for those credible elections, and healthier sustainable democracy, it is vital that the Caretaker government retains respect for individuals’ rights and democratic and judicial processes.

The rising cost of living in Bangladesh is a matter of concern for all Bangladeshis. The impact of Cyclone Sidr is expected to place further pressure on the economy. Effective management of the economy will be key over the next year and beyond.

Bosnia: Politics and Government

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed the political and security situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the High Representative, Miroslav Lajcak. [170329]

David Miliband: Our ambassador in Sarajevo routinely discusses the political and security situation in the country with the High Representative Miroslav Lajcak.

Corporate Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions he has accepted corporate hospitality in the last 12 months. [171298]

David Miliband: Chapter 7 of the Ministerial Code sets out the rules on the registration of hospitality.

Crime of Aggression Special Working Group

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 28 November 2007, Official Report, column 497W, on Crime of Aggression Special Working Group, what the Government’s policy is on the proposal that a crime of aggression should not be investigated by the court in circumstances where the Security Council has not made a determination due to the use of the veto by one or more of the permanent members. [172704]

Dr. Howells: Under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court no proposal to amend the Statute may be made until July 2009 at the earliest. If a proposal is made, the Government will give it full consideration in the light of circumstances at the time.

The Government’s view, as we continue to state in the Special Working Group, is that any proposal in relation to the crime of aggression must reflect the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council for the maintenance of peace and security as enshrined in the UN Charter.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many security breaches regarding access to personal data have occurred within his Department in each year since 1997. [169981]

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David Miliband: It has been the policy of successive Administrations not to comment on security matters other than in exceptional circumstances when it is in the public interest to do so.

Departmental Manpower

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of posts in his Department were recategorised from back office to frontline posts as classified by the Gershon efficiency review in each year since 2004. [172253]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to achieving workforce reductions of 310 over the period April 2004 to April 2008. This is a net target and no posts reallocated to the frontline are included in this figure. The target for reduction excludes the FCO public services, Consular and UKvisas, which are fully funded by passport and visas income and have expanded in response to increased demand for their services.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) men and (b) women of each civil service grade are employed by his Department. [172740]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) publishes diversity statistics for its UK-based staff in its Annual Departmental Report (Table 10). The Office for National Statistics also publishes the statistics in its Annual Civil Service Statistics. The figures from the most recent departmental report (as at 1 February 2007) are:

FCO grade Civil service—wide equivalent Men Women

Senior management structure

Senior Civil Servant



D Band

Grades 6/7



C Band

Senior Executive Officer/Higher Executive Officer



B Band

Executive Officer



A Band

Administrative Officer/Administrative Assistant



Copies of the departmental report are available from the Library of the House.

Departmental Marketing

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines issued to staff maintaining his Department’s and its agencies’ corporate identity; and what the estimated annual cost is of (a) producing and (b) complying with such guidelines. [170234]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not produce guidelines on maintaining its corporate identity.

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