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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) longest and (b) average
waiting time for electric wheelchair provision was in the last 12 months; and what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times. 
With regard to waiting times, it is the responsibility of local health and social care organisations to prioritise and allocate funding for wheelchairs based on their knowledge of the needs of their local populations. To support this process the Government recently announced, through the comprehensive spending review, that local authority funding will increase by £2.6 billion by 2010-11 and national health service funding will increase from £35 billion in 1997-98 to £110 billion in 2010-11.
As part of the Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchair Services Programme the Department has been working collaboratively with service users and carers to develop a new model which will deliver an improved experience for the people who need equipment and wheelchairs, as well as those who care for them. The Department is currently undertaking a data collection process to develop a business case for change. The analysis of the information gathered has begun and a report will be provided in December.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the aggregate yearly additional revenue that would be raised were every local authority in England with the power to levy a supplementary rate to levy the maximum supplementary business rate. 
John Healey: An estimate of the aggregate yearly additional revenue by region that would be raised were every local authority in England with the power to levy a business rate supplement to levy the maximum business rate supplement is published in Table 3.4 of Business rate supplements: a White Paper. This is available on the Communities and Local Government website at the following link:
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the historic debt outstanding against council house construction was in each year since 1990 in (a) cash terms and (b) as a proportion of the public sector borrowing requirement; and what the projection for these figures is, including borrowing supported by arms-length management organisations. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Data on historic debt outstanding against council house construction are not available, as local authorities do not differentiate the uses to which their capital borrowing for housing is put between, for
instance, new build, capital repairs, capital improvements or refurbishments.
The net amount of borrowing on council housing since 1993-94, as well as the proportion of public sector net borrowing that this represents for each year, is set out in the following table. Net, rather than gross figures are given for the value of housing debt in order to provide a comparison with the measure of public sector borrowingthis is expressed as a net figure and is negative where debt repayment exceeds borrowing for that year.
|HRA Borrowing (£)||Public sector net borrowing (PSBN) (£)||HRA Borrowing/PSBN (Percentage)|
1. From 2001-02 onwards the Department did not collect data on local authority borrowing for council housing from those authorities with no notional housing debt (used in calculating HRA subsidy entitlement)
2. Negative housing debt is an indication that housing authorities were repaying more debt than they were incurring. Negative PSBN is occasionally negative for the same reason but at a national level.
3. The figures are unaudited and based on claims submitted by local authorities.
4. Pre 1993-94 data is only available at disproportionate cost.
5. 2007-08 data is not available as the financial year is not finished yet.
6. Projections for future years are not available.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the annual percentage change in average Band D council tax was in England in real terms in each year since its introduction. 
John Healey: Details of the annual percentage change in the average Band D, 2 adult, council tax in England, in real terms, since the introduction of council tax can be found on page eight of the Communities and Local Government's publication Local Government Finance Key Facts : England that was published on 14 November.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the presence of ground source heat pumps would be taken into account in the valuation of a property for council tax purposes by the Valuation Office Agency. 
John Healey: Provisions in the Council Tax (Alterations of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993, which have been in force since council tax was introduced, mean that adding energy efficient measures, such ground source heat pumps, or making any other improvements to a property will have no effect on its current council tax banding.
If a property is sold, improvements may have an effect, but only if they are such that they push the value of the property into the next band range. Only substantial improvements would be likely to move a property up a band when it is sold. Energy efficiency measures are, in isolation, unlikely to do so.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of her Department's internal guidance on (a) answering written parliamentary questions and (b) ministerial corrections to oral and written parliamentary questions. 
The Leader of the House made a written ministerial statement on "Corrections to the Official Report" on 18 October 2006, Official Report, column 1856WS. At the same time, my right. hon Friend issued guidance to Departments a copy of which was deposited in the Library of the House. Communities and Local Government follow that guidance for any ministerial corrections to oral and written parliamentary questions.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to reply to Question 165129, on the Thames Gateway Forum tabled by the hon. Member for Thurrock on 13 November 2007. 
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date the European Commission suspended approval for European Regional Development Fund payments to the Government Office North West and Government Office North East; when those suspensions were lifted; and what interim transitional payments were made to those regions by the Government. 
John Healey [holding answer 11 December 2007]: The European Commission suspended ERDF grant payments to the North West Objective 1 and Objective 2 programmes, and the North East Objective 2 programme on 11 April 2007. The temporary suspension was formally lifted for the North East and North West Objective 1 programmes on 11 September 2007. In the case of the North West Objective 2 programme we are carrying out urgent further work to re-assure the Commission before a final decision is taken. I have also met with Commissioner Hubner and held a further discussion with her to offer the reassurance that we are taking all steps possible to deal with the Commissions concerns.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to revise Regional Spatial Strategies flood risk assessments, in light of (a) recent flooding, (b) climate change and (c) the Lessons Learned review. 
Mr. Dhanda: Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25) was published in December 2006 to provide stronger planning policy on development and flood risk. It incorporates the latest forecasts of climate change. It also requires regional planning bodies to ensure their regional spatial strategies include a broad consideration of flood risk from all sources and set out a strategy for managing it. This process is informed by regional flood risk appraisals (RFRAs), which are based on the most up to date information on flood risk. RFRAs should be updated in line with future revisions of the regional spatial strategy. We will be taking careful note of the recommendations of Sir Michael Pitts review of the lessons learned from the summer floods, and will be looking at whether any of the detail of PPS25 needs to be revised.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate the Valuation Office Agency has made of the number of domestic dwellings with (a) wind turbines and (b) solar panels. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the changes in local authority expenditure on adult social services expected to result from demographic change over the next three years. 
The local government settlement and the scope to deliver efficiency gains is sufficient to cover increases in demand on social care. The settlement is informed by
an analysis of all cost pressures, including modelling of demographic changes within the age group 18-65 years and people over 65 years.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what proportion of the £5 billion reduction in ring-fenced and specific grants by 2010-11 will be re-allocated to (a) revenue support grant and (b) area-based grant; 
(2) what proportion of the reduction in ring-fencing by 2010-11 will be achieved by transferring specific grants to (a) revenue support grant and (b) area based grant tied into Local Area Agreements. 
John Healey: By 2010-11, £5.6 billion of former specific grant funding will be moving to either formula grant or area based grant. The £5.6 billion is comprised of £0.9 billion re-allocated to formula grant and £4.7 billion being provided as area based grant.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to announce the local government funding settlement for Herefordshire council; and if she will make a statement. 
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