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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. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which property attributes will form part of the Valuation Office Agencys multiple regression analysis in its proposed automated valuation model for business rates; 
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. 
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 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. 
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:
Clauses 135-149 provide for a moratorium on the disposal of land by a housing association which is a registered provider subject to conditions and exemptions, where the housing association's creditors take steps to enforce their security over the association's land. During the moratorium the regulator can make proposals about the future ownership and management of the housing association's land. The regulator may appoint a manager to implement the proposals.
Clauses 157-159 permit the regulator to transfer land held by a housing association which is a registered provider and which is dissolved or wound-up, to another registered provider or to the regulator.
Clauses 160 to 165 of the Bill provide that any disposal of land by a registered housing association require the regulator's consent unless they fall within an exception. They list those exceptions, and outline the procedure for consent.
Clauses 168-169 give the regulator the Housing Corporation's powers of consent over disposals of grant-aided land held by unregistered housing associations.
Clauses 229-230 allow the regulator to direct a housing association which is a registered provider to transfer its land to another registered provider, or to the regulator, if satisfied
following a statutory inquiry that there has been a breach of standards set by the regulator or mismanagement or that management would of the land is likely to be improved by a transfer.
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.
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; 
|UK regional European office||Expenditure 2006-07 (£000)||Notes|
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)
Yorkshire Europe is the regions 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
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. 
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.
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 
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.
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.
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. 
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 draftfrom which point it will have effector 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.
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. 
|Regional Centre of Excellence||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07|
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