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17 Dec 2007 : Column 1154W—continued


I announced the provisional settlement for local government for the years 2008-09 to 2010-11 to the House on Thursday 6 December 2007.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she gave to the average household income in (a) Staffordshire and (b) Tamworth when determining the local authorities' grants allocation; and if she will make a statement. [173516]

John Healey: Household income is not a factor that has been shown to influence the relative costs to local authorities of delivering any particular service. However, various measures of deprivation are included within the Relative Needs Formulae, for example the number of income support claimants and the number of people receiving unemployment-related benefits.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the letter of 18 September from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Ref: YC/WR/025283/07), when she expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 19 October. [174326]

Mr. Iain Wright: I replied to the hon. Member’s correspondence on 7 December.

Non-Domestic Rates: Combined Heat and Power

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a combined heat and power (CHP) certificate issued by the Secretary of State provides a discount or exemption on the business rates liability of the CHP system. [173333]

John Healey: Where, in the case of a combined heat and power station, the Secretary of State has provided a certificate of either full or partial exemption in accordance with paragraph 148(2) or, as the case may be, paragraph 148(3) of schedule 6 to the Finance Act 2000, then certain items of plant and machinery will be disregarded in whole or in part when valuing the station for non-domestic rates.

Non-Domestic Rates: Valuation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which property attributes will form part of the Valuation Office Agency’s multiple regression analysis in its proposed automated valuation model for business rates; [173224]

(2) how much has been spent by the Valuation Office Agency on an automated valuation model for business rate valuations. [173328]

John Healey: The VOA is investigating the use of outputs from the use of multiple regression analysis techniques as a tool to assist valuers when making judgments about appropriate value levels for the next revaluation of non-domestic property in 2010.

The investigation covers office and industrial property and the attributes used within the analysis are location, age of property and floor area. In the course of this investigation the VOA has spent in the region of £155,000 to include the full pay costs of relevant VOA staff.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the rateable value of a business premise changes between statutory revaluations if there is a material change to the property. [173292]

John Healey: The rateable value of a business premises, known as a hereditament, may be altered between statutory revaluations if there has been a material change of circumstances. Rate payers may make a proposal to the Valuation Office to alter the rateable value, or Valuation Officers may alter the rateable value of the hereditament as part of their duty to maintain the rating list.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether Ordnance Survey plans to use an automated valuation model for the 2010 business rates revaluation. [173320]


17 Dec 2007 : Column 1155W

John Healey: The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), not Ordnance Survey, is responsible for the 2010 revaluation of non-domestic property.

An AVM is a tool that could support valuers in the valuation process, through the use of multiple regression analysis techniques. The VOA are investigating the use of such a tool.

Office for Tenants and Social Landlords

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers the proposed Office for Tenants and Social Landlords will have over land and properties held by (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations. [171526]

Yvette Cooper: The Housing and Regeneration Bill proposes that the new social housing regulator, the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords, (OFTENANT) should retain the Housing Corporation's current powers to secure land and properties owned by housing associations which are registered providers of social housing under the Bill. These include:

The Housing and Regeneration Bill does not give the regulator any powers over land and properties held by local authorities. We intend that local authorities will be brought within the scope of the new regulator within two years of housing associations being regulated by it, through further primary legislation.

Regional European Offices: Expenditure

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding the Government provides to the North West Brussels Office. [173483]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

The North West Development Agency provided funds of £61,231 to the North West Brussels Office in 2006-07.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much was spent by the North East of England Brussels Office in the last year for which figures are available; [173290]

(2) how much was spent by the South West UK Brussels Office in the last year for which figures are available; [173291]

(3) how much was spent by the East Midlands European Office in the last year for which figures are available; [173294]

(4) how much was spent on the North West Brussels Office in the last year for which figures are available; [173305]

(5) what the expenditure was of the West Midlands in Europe office in the last year for which figures are available. [173310]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

The following table shows the expenditure of UK regional European offices in the last year (2006-07).


17 Dec 2007 : Column 1157W

17 Dec 2007 : Column 1158W
UK regional European office Expenditure 2006-07 (£000) Notes

West Midlands in Europe Brussels Office

757

The income for this office came from a large number of public and private sector subscribers in the West Midlands region

East Midlands European Office

335

This is not an overseas office focused only in inward investment, but a regional representation office (with wider partnerships, including local government, universities and other public and private sector partners)

North East of England Brussels Office

132

The office is primarily funded by One North East, The Regional Assembly and Local Learning and Skills Council with a number of associate partners making small subscriptions

North West Brussels Office

113

This office is jointly staffed and funded by the NW Regional Assembly and Northwest Regional Development Agency

South West UK Brussels Office

385

This office is a partnership office supported by all first tier local authorities in the South West, the South West RDA, the South West Regional Assembly and HERDA (South West Universities).

Yorkshire Europe

340

Yorkshire Europe is the region’s representation in Brussels, providing information and intelligence about Europe for Yorkshire and Humber as well as promoting the region within Europe. Yorkshire Europe is solely funded by Yorkshire Forward


Regional Government: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) function and (b) purpose is of the English Regions Network; and whether the Government plans to change its funding to the network following the Sub-National Review. [173312]

John Healey: The function and purpose of the English Regions Network is to represent the collective views of regional assemblies, share best practice and facilitate inter-regional networking and to commission work of mutual interest.

My Department is considering future funding of the regional assemblies and the English Regions Network following the recent Comprehensive Spending Review settlement for the Department.

Regional Government: Ministers

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether Ministers for (a) the North East, (b) the North West, (c) Yorkshire and the Humber, (d) London, (e) the South East, (f) the South West, (g) the East Midlands, (h) the West Midlands and (i) the East of England have taken decisions relevant to Government policy in relation to their regions [169120]

Hazel Blears: Ministers in their Regional Ministers role do not make policy decisions for their regions; they are central Government's advocates in the regions.

All Regional Ministers consulted with stakeholders on the Government draft legislative programme in September and October. In addition a number wrote to interested parties inviting their views. Among those consulted were representatives from local authorities, business, public institutions, voluntary and community sectors, Members of Parliament and Peers, and environmental groups.

Regional Ministers have contributed to the development of Government policy across a range of areas, including economic growth and sustainable development, since their establishment in June.

All Regional Ministers have taken part in a number of high level engagements within their regions, including meetings with local authorities and other organisations, attendance at stakeholder events and visits to local projects and communities.

Regional Planning and Development

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements there are for a local area agreement to be signed off by (a) the Secretary of State and (b) the Government Office for the Region; and whether either has a power of veto over a proposed agreement. [173334]

John Healey: The statutory requirements for the sign off of local area agreements are to be found at sections 106 and 107 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act (2007). These provisions require that the responsible local authority must submit the draft LAA to the Secretary of State by the date given in any direction. The Secretary of State may then either approve the draft—from which point it will have effect—or the Secretary of State may require that it be modified.

The Government offices for the regions have no formal role in the submission and sign off process for LAAs, but in practice they will perform an important function during the negotiations. The operational roles for the Secretary of State and Government offices, including those for the sign-off process for the next round of LAAs, were outlined in the operational guidance: Development of the new LAA framework, published on 20 November 2007, a copy of which is on the Communities and Local Government website.

Regional Planning and Development: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding has been provided to each of the regional centres of excellence and regional improvement partnerships. [173377]

John Healey: Funding allocations are set out in the following two tables.

£ million
Regional Centre of Excellence 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

East of England

1.28

2.02

1.51

East Midlands

1.15

1.60

1.00

London

1.25

2.03

1.08

North East

0.94

1.55

0.81

North West

1.32

1.77

1.14

South East

1.58

2.03

1.36

South West

1.24

1.69

1.07

West Midlands

1.18

1.81

1.02

Yorkshire and Humber

1.06

1.79

0.91


£ million
Improvement Partnership 2005-06 2006-07

East of England

2.25

1.96

East Midlands

0

2.97

London

1.75

3.52

North East

1.00

2.01

North West

2.90

2.88

South East

0

4.05

South West

0

1.92

West Midlands

3.95

1.03

Yorkshire and Humber

1.60

2.92


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