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14 Jan 2008 : Column 915W—continued

Labour Turnover

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many civil servants have left the (a) Prime Minister's Office and (b) Cabinet Office to work elsewhere (i) in and (ii) outside the civil service since 27 June 2007. [173148]

Gillian Merron: The Prime Minister's Office forms part of the Cabinet Office.

There has been a total of 348 staff who have left the Cabinet Office since 27 June 2007. Of these:

Ministers: Official Residences

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which Ministers of the Crown have (a) one, (b) two and (c) three or more residences consequent on his or her office. [176514]

Gillian Merron: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him and the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 17 October 2007, Official Report, column 1135W.

National Identity Register

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans his Department has to make use of data on the national identity register when it is established; and what the estimated cost to his Department of that use is. [174030]

Gillian Merron: The Cabinet Office will be working with the Home Office prior to the introduction of the national identity scheme to establish how identity
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information held on the proposed national identity register might be used to provide easier access services for our customers. It is too early in the process to establish the detailed costs and benefits.

Official Hospitality

Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what Government policy is on (a) Ministers and (b) civil servants making bets on political events (i) with and (ii) via a commercial organisation. [177380]

Gillian Merron: Ministers and civil servants are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the requirements of the ‘Ministerial Code’ and the ‘Civil Service Code’ as appropriate.

Public Participation: Incentives

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1344W, on public participation: incentives, if he will place in the Library a copy of each of the handouts provided to participants at the forum. [174875]

Gillian Merron: The handouts provided to participants at the forum are available on the Cabinet Office website at:

A copy has also been placed in the Library.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1344W, on public participation: incentives, what the cost to the public purse of the forum was. [174878]

Gillian Merron: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara) on 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1083W, by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, North (Edward Miliband).

Regulation

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for which regulators and inspectorates his Department has had responsibility in each year since 1997; what the budget was of each such body in each year; and what the cost to the public purse was of any restructuring of each such body in each year. [175316]

Gillian Merron: Details on all Cabinet Office sponsored public bodies, including those with regulatory and inspection functions, are published annually. Information covering the period 1997-2006, including details of expenditure, is available in the "Public Bodies" publication which can be downloaded from the Civil Service website (www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/public/bodies.asp). More detailed information on expenditure appears in individual bodies' annual reports and accounts.

Information for 2007 will be published on the site in due course.


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Social Exclusion Task Force: Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the budget of the Social Exclusion Task Force was in (a) each of the last five years and (b) each year of the 2007 comprehensive spending review period. [173158]

Gillian Merron: The Social Exclusion Task Force was created in 2006.

Details of its budget for 2006-07 can be found in the Cabinet Office resource accounts, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Details of its budget for 2007-08 will not be finalised until the spring supplementary report is published in February 2008.

The Social Exclusion Task Force's budget for each year of the 2007 comprehensive spending review period has not yet been agreed. It will be a portion of the overall Cabinet Office budget.

Communities and Local Government

Aerials: Health Hazards

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent research her Department has commissioned into the potential effect on health of mobile telephone masts. [176206]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

Research on the potential health effects from mobile phone technology is evaluated by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The HPA’s Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation, in its comprehensive scientific review of Health Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, concluded that

Further information is available on the HPA’s website at:

Responding to continuing concerns however, the independently managed Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme, jointly funded by Government and Industry, has supported a number of studies into the possible health effects of technology relating both to masts (base stations) and hand-held mobile phones. These studies, some in progress and some already published, are described on the MTHR website at www.mthr.org.uk. None of the research published in its 2007 report so far demonstrates that biological or adverse health effects are produced by radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones or base stations.

The HPAs Radiation Protection Division continues to keep the science under review.

Audit Commission: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the running costs were of the Audit Commission in 1996-97; and what the expected costs are in 2007-08. [176161]


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John Healey: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the Chief Executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Peter Wilkinson, dated 8 January 2008:

Departmental Responsibilities

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Department’s powers are in respect of (a) each of its non-departmental public bodies, (b) each of its executive agencies and (c) the Government Offices of the Regions to (i) grant and withdraw delegated personnel responsibilities, (ii) oversee and control the exercise of delegated personnel responsibilities, including those for pay, and (iii) ensure compliance with all equality legislation. [178497]

Mr. Dhanda: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 12 September 2007, Official Report, columns 2124-25W.

Eco-Towns

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what (a) criteria and (b) process will be used to determine the geographical (i) location and (ii) distribution of eco-town sites; and what her policy is on the distribution of such towns across the English regions. [166916]

(2) what the timescale is for decisions on new eco-towns; and what steps she will take to integrate such decisions with local (a) core strategies and (b) development frameworks. [166918]

Yvette Cooper: Our approach to taking forward eco-towns is set out in the eco-towns prospectus, and as the Prime Minister has indicated we would like to see a spread of schemes across the regions. We expect to publish the proposals for eco-towns shortly, once we have completed an initial assessment of the applications received. There will be considerable opportunity for consultation on the proposals including the local authorities and the public before the process is completed.

Once potential eco-towns have been selected their planning and development can be delivered through the operation of the spatial planning system, which may require the review of existing plans. Where necessary, the Government will commit resources to facilitate the operation of the planning process, so as to minimise delay. As set out in the eco-towns prospectus, there may be circumstances where use of the New Towns Act powers might be used.


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Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proposals she has received for eco-towns situated wholly or partially in Worcestershire. [166920]

Yvette Cooper: We expect to announce proposals shortly, once an individual assessment has taken place. There will be considerable opportunity for consultation before the process is completed.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will run the citizens’ juries for the design of the new eco-towns; what procurement process has been undertaken in the selection of that individual, organisation or company; and how much has been allocated from what budget for such juries. [173339]

Yvette Cooper: On 30 October I confirmed that an ideas competition would be run to develop and set the design standards for 10 new eco-towns. As part of this there will also be an opportunity for public involvement to judge the short-listed eco-towns designs through a citizens’ panel. Final details of the competition, being undertaken with CABE, the Prince’s Foundation and RIBA, will be announced shortly. We expect to undertake the procurement process to select the organisation to run the citizen’s jury shortly.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what planning process will be used for construction of an eco-town that is not (a) supported and (b) proposed by the relevant local authority. [173873]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 17 December 200 7 ]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him today to questions 166916 and 166918.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to announce the sites which she will take forward to the next stage as possible sites for eco-towns; and what processes will be adopted to ensure the full engagement of (a) local authorities and (b) the public before final decisions are taken. [174390]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 December 2007]: We are consulting with local authorities in the relevant areas covered by proposed eco-towns in January 2008 as part of an initial assessment of bids and expect to publish proposals shortly. There will be considerable opportunity for consultation and engagement involving local authorities and the public before the process is completed.

Where a planning application for an eco-town is submitted it will be determined in the normal way under the Planning Acts. Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory purchase Act 2004 requires that the application is determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. We will set out the full planning process as part of the announcement, and this may include reviewing the RSS or development plan. As set
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out in the Eco-towns Prospectus, there may be circumstances where use of the New Towns Act powers might be used.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has received on the proposed eco-town at Throckmorton; and if she will make a statement. [177311]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 10 January 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him today to questions 166920 and 174390.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans she has to designate eco-towns as healthy towns; [165552]

(2) what proportion of the new eco-towns are also expected to be designated as healthy towns. [165554]

Yvette Cooper: The eco-towns prospectus, launched on 23 July alongside the Housing Green paper, sets out the vision and outline criteria for eco-towns. The aim in terms of health is to promote a healthy and sustainable environment through design and planning to deliver physical and mental benefits.

Equality and Human Rights Commission: Public Appointments

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what factors she takes into account in appointing commissioners to the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and what assessment she makes of the experience or knowledge of appointees in (a) the field of human rights and (b) the rights of faith communities. [165827]

Barbara Follett: I have been asked to reply.

Commissioners are appointed on the basis of relevant experience or knowledge of discrimination and human rights and the desirability of the Commissioners together having experience and knowledge relating to the relevant matters.

Individuals with knowledge or expertise in human rights and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief were invited to apply for the post of Commissioner. Applicants were then asked to demonstrate at application and interview an understanding of issues relevant to discrimination on grounds of religion or belief and a commitment to human rights.


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