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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her proposals to introduce powers to ballot on spending decisions would involve (a) the council and (b) the public. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell is receiving (a) payment from the public purse and (b) expenses for his review of land use and planning. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In accordance with Cabinet Office guidance, the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell is not receiving payment to conduct his review but is able to claim out-of-pocket expenses associated with the role.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of first-time buyers took out mortgages of 100 per cent. or more of the purchase price of the property in each year for which figures are available from 1997 to 2005. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average additional contribution is of a ground source heat pump to the rental value of a business premises in the assessment of its rateable value for business rates by the Valuation Office Agency. 
John Healey: Where business premises are heated this will normally increase the rental, and therefore the rateable value, as compared to similar premises that are unheated. This will be the case whether the heating plant is of traditional design or a ground source heat pump is used.
However, it is not possible, at reasonable cost, to identify premises with ground source heat pumps and calculate the average addition for that portion of the rateable value attributable to ground source heat pumps.
Mr. Iain Wright: The community infrastructure levy (CIL) proposals in the Planning Bill would empower local planning authorities (LPAs) and other authorities to levy a charge to help fund the infrastructure needed to support housing growth and other new development. LPAs would need to decide whether to introduce a CIL in their areas and the level at which it was set. The CIL has the potential to raise hundreds of millions of pounds of additional investment across England.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) central Government, (b) regional planning bodies or (c) regional development agencies will receive revenue raised by the new planning charges. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The community infrastructure levy (CIL) is a local mechanism designed to help fund the infrastructure needed to support the growth in housing and other new development. The charging authorities for the CIL will usually be local planning authorities (LPAs) but it may be appropriate for charging authorities to pass CIL revenue to other bodies to deliver infrastructure as is common under the current planning obligations regime. The Government will continue to work with stakeholders to develop the detail of how this could be achieved.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to publish changes to Planning Policy Statement 6; and whether she plans to consult on those changes. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The Governments response to Planning White Paper Consultation: Government response to consultation replies, which was published on 27 November 2007, reported that it remains our intention
to consult on revisions to Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for town centres (PPS6) early this year.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 settlement letter from HM Treasury sent to her Department. 
John Healey: Details of the DCLGs overall Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 settlement were published on 9 October 2007 as part of the 2007 pre-Budget report and Comprehensive Spending Review White Paper (Command Paper 7227). These were placed in the Library of the House at time of publication and can also be found on the HM Treasury website via
Further announcements of CLG programmes over the CSR period have been made following the CSR, including on 6 December 2007 as part of the provisional Local Government Finance settlement. Details of this can be found on the CLG website at:
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) communications, (b) marketing, (c) information and (d) press officers work for each regional chamber in England. 
John Healey: The following table sets out the number of staff employed by each regional assembly whose work includes (a) communications, (b) marketing, (c) information and/or (d) press officer duties.
|Regional assembly||Number of staff||Notes|
Figures given are totals for full-time equivalent staff
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the status is of the National Spatial Address Infrastructure; and what the public expenditure has been on the scheme to date. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what annual financial saving is expected following the relocation from London to Manchester of the Standards Board. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding was allocated to the Supporting People budget in each year since its inception; and what the planned expenditure is in the next three years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: I refer the hon. Member to the indicative allocations of funding for the next three years announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing on 6 December 2007, Official Report, column 81WS. Funding since the inception of the Supporting People programme in 2003 is set out in the table as follows:
|SP Grant (£ billion)|
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Geographic Information Panel has taken to engage the private sector in the development of the UK Location Strategy. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Place Matters: The Location Strategy for the United Kingdom was developed by the United Kingdom Geographic Information Panel (GI Panel) during 2006 and 2007. Membership of the GI Panel was approved by the Minister responsible for the Panel in 2004, and is drawn from both public and private sectors, including a representative from the Association for Geographic Information representing the wider UK geographic information industry: over 50,000 companies and individual professionals from the private sector are represented on the Panel.
The GI Panel appointed consultants to co-ordinate dialogue with a wide range of contributors from across the UK geographic information industry and related interests, representing both public and private sectors. Several workshops were arranged to gather views and discuss areas of concern. In addition wider contributions were invited by the consultants via the GI Panel website.
These views were drawn together by the consultants to formulate the draft Strategy which was then reviewed and refined by the Location Strategy Development Group, drawn from members of the GI Panel, and finally agreed by the GI Panel itself.
Ordnance Survey currently provides the secretariat to the GI Panel. This role involves administrative support and preparation and circulation of documentation for consideration by the GI Panel and others as appropriate, including during preparation of the Location Strategy.
Vanessa Lawrence (Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey) is currently Chair of the GI Panel. She was planning to stand down in April 2007, but on the recommendation of the members of the GI Panel, the Minister reappointed her as Chair for a further period.
In this role she has chaired meetings of both the GI Panel and the UK Location Strategy Development Group drawn from the Panel. She has facilitated meetings of relevant parties during the preparation of the Strategy, and on behalf of the GI Panel, has submitted the Location Strategy to Ministers.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding (a) her Department, (b) its predecessor and (c) the Government Office for the South West has provided for the sustainability of land use and transport in outer neighbourhoods project. 
Mr. Iain Wright: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing on 19 October 2006, Official Report, column 1424W. The situation has not changed since that time. The then ODPM contributed £35,000 to this project, which was part of a larger £1.75 million study being carried out by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 305, on Afghanistan, if he will make a statement on the national solidarity programme in Afghanistan. 
In his recent statement on Afghanistan, the Prime Minister announced funding of £21.65 million for the next phase of the Government of Afghanistans National Solidarity Programme (NSP). This reflects the UK Governments continued commitment to this important programme. The NSP has been running since May 2003 and has so far reached over 20,500 communities, providing over $400 million to support more than 31,000 development projects in the areas of agriculture, education, emergency response, health, irrigation, legal livelihoods, power, public buildings, rural development, transport, water supply and sanitation.
DFID has committed a total of almost £50 million to the NSP since 2003. We provided £17 million for Phase I (2003-06) and have made available up to £10.9 million for the roll-out of the NSP in Helmand (2006-09).
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral statement of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 303, on Afghanistan, what steps he plans to take to increase burden-sharing between partners and allies in relation to Afghanistan; and what assessment he made of the practicality of international policy on Afghanistan before his review of strategy. 
Dr. Howells: According to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), key shortfalls in Afghanistan at present, which will need to be met by greater burden-sharing, are trainers/mentors for Afghan National Security Forces and helicopters. The UK has launched, as a means to help meet helicopter deployability shortfalls globally, including currently notably Afghanistan and Darfur, a helicopter initiative in both the EU and NATO which involves developing an inventory of helicopter assets of partners and determining which enabling capabilities are necessary to ensure deployability on operations. We are also looking at other innovative approaches, including the potential development of consortia of countries with the right mix of helicopters, enablers and funding.
In support of the Government of Afghanistan, we have always worked closely with the international community on the creation and implementation of international policy. Mechanisms such as the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board are used to monitor the practical implementation of internationally agreed objectives, as detailed in the Afghanistan Compact agreed by international partners at the London conference in January 2006.
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