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16 Jan 2008 : Column 1258Wcontinued
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the expenditure from the public purse has been in the Stroud district on (a) social housing and (b) affordable housing in each year since 2002. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The following table shows expenditure through the Housing Corporations Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) between 2002-03 to 2006-07 including expenditure on major repairs and works to RSL stock in Stroud district and through Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LASHG). LASHG was abolished from 1 April 2003.
|Social housing||Low Cost Home Ownership (LCHO)||Major repairs and works to stocks through AHP||Total expenditure AHP||Total expenditure LASHG||Total annual expenditure|
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment her Department has made of the use of the Planning Policy Statement 22 viability clause in the practical application of local authority Merton rules; and what estimate she has made of the number of developments under the Merton rule that have achieved at least a 10 per cent. carbon dioxide reduction from the use of onsite renewables; 
(2) what assessment she has made of the effect of the Merton planning rule on the uptake of micro-renewables; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The information required to make the assessments sought is not held centrally and could be assembled only from local authorities at a disproportionate cost. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker) on 29 October 2007, Official Report, 682W. This answer explains that assessments of the type sought by the hon. Member will vary substantially according to the assumptions made on matters such as the range of developments to which local policies are applied, the expected numbers of developments to be completed, their energy demands, the extent to which the provision of installed equipment complies with the original planning permission and whether the technologies installed in practice provide the predicted savings.
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her most recent estimate is of the number of additional new households which will be formed in the next 25 years beyond those expected in a zero net migration scenario; and what proportion of total household growth such households will represent over the same period. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The latest 2004 based household projections showed annual average household growth of 223,000 per year from 2004 to 2026 in England, of which 73,000 (33 per cent.) are attributable to net migration.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government by what means her Department ensures that park home residents are informed of changes in legislation governing park homes. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government publish information on changes to park home legislation through various mediums, including press notices, on the departmental website, and direct communication with site owners, national trade bodies, national resident stakeholder groups and those local authorities in England in which park home sites are situated.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions her Department has had with developers on the Merton Rule. 
Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker) on 29 October 2007, Official Report, 680W. This refers to the many discussions we have had with a wide range of interested stakeholders, in consulting on and developing our measures to drive higher environmental performance standards in new development. Developers are amongst the stakeholders that we have had discussions with in this context.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Governments policy is on the EUs proposed definition of indirect discrimination in the draft Race Directive. 
The European Race Directive was agreed by all members of the European Union, including the UK, in June 2000. As I stated in my reply to my hon. Friend on 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 26W, we intend to amend domestic law to meet concerns set out in a Reasoned Opinion from the European
Commission that the UK has not fully transposed the directive in relation to the definition of indirect discrimination.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the merits of a ban on extensions to second homes in national parks. 
Mr. Iain Wright: I am aware that the impact of second homes is a particular concern in some areas, but it is for local authorities to adopt policies that will allow them to deal with local issues when they are determining an application for planning permission.
Certain types of householder development can, however, proceed without the specific approval of the local planning authority. Permitted development rights are set nationally and are intended to allow householders to make relatively small-scale and uncontentious improvements to their homes.
We announced on 30 November, following consultation, our intention to amend the current system. This is intended to ensure that what is permitted development reflects better the potential impact on others. Our proposals provide for a generally more restrictive approach to extensions in certain designated areas, including national parks, compared to non-designated areas.
Local planning authorities also have powers to remove these rights locally by using an article 4 direction to require that an application is made and their approval sought. It will then be for them to determine whether a proposal is acceptable based on relevant planning considerations, including local policies. An article 4 direction can apply to a particular type of development and/or a specific area, but could not impose restrictions based on the ownership of a particular property. The planning system regulates the use of land and the residential status of an applicant would not be material.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many self-employed people were under contract to (a) her Department, (b) the Government offices for the regions and (c) the Planning Inspectorate in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Dhanda: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many days of agency work were paid for by (a) her Department, (b) the Government offices for the regions and (c) the Planning Inspectorate in 2007. 
Mr. Dhanda: This information is not held centrally in the format requested and could be extrapolated only at disproportionate cost.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what consideration will be given to local development frameworks when considering planning applications for eco-towns; 
(2) what is the proposed process for determining planning applications for eco-towns. 
Yvette Cooper: Eco-towns will need full planning application. 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. Some areas will also want to consider reviews of the development plan or mini reviews of the Regional Spatial Strategy. As set out in the Eco-towns prospectus, there may be circumstances where use of the New Towns Act powers might be used.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he will answer Question 166020, on engagements of the Minister for Sport, tabled on 15 November 2007 by the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: This question was answered on 14 January 2007.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether Ministers in his Department received requests for a meeting with GCap Media to discuss the radio licensing regime operated by Ofcom, with particular reference to XFm during 2007. 
James Purnell [holding answer 14 January 2008]: No.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how long stakeholders were given to comment on a draft of the guidance on Expedited Licence reviews under the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 before that guidance was finalised. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: In issuing guidance on the use of the new expedited review process, the priority was to provide advice as soon as possible to help the police tackle issues such as gun and knife crime on licensed premises. The guidance is non-statutory and non-binding and, while there was no requirement to conduct a public consultation, we were nevertheless able to give stakeholders sight of the draft and four days in which to comment.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received on the future funding proposals for the London Bubble Theatre Company by Arts Council England. 
Margaret Hodge: DCMS has received seven letters on the future funding of the London Bubble Theatre Company since 18 December 2007. There are no other recorded representations.
The Arts Council operates at arm's length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them. The arm's length principle ensures that the arts are not run' by the Government and are not subject to political interference: individual funding decisions are taken independently by people with expert knowledge of the sector.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with officials in his Department on negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Prime Ministers statement to the House on 12 December 2007, Official Report, columns 303-07, where he made the UKs position clear. We are not negotiating with the Taliban leadership and we do not propose to do so. However, we support President Karzais efforts to bring disaffected Afghans into societys mainstream, providing they renounce violence and accept Afghanistans constitution.
In my regular discussions with officials on Afghanistan, we have covered support for Afghan-led efforts to reach out to Taliban elements who no longer want to continue their armed opposition, in order to weaken the insurgency and isolate its leadership.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether a further round of the ad hoc EU-India human rights dialogue has been scheduled. 
Dr. Howells: A further meeting of the ad hoc EU-India human rights dialogue is planned to follow the EU-India Summit of 30 November 2007 and discussions to find a mutually convenient date are in hand. The UK will continue to work closely with the EU and India on human rights issues including through this important dialogue.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his US counterparts on
Irans nuclear programme and the use of (a) sanctions and (b) other policies; and whether the impact of those policies on UK troops was discussed. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discusses the issue of Irans nuclear programme regularly with the US Secretary of State. The US is also part of the E3+3 group of countries that is leading the international community in seeking a negotiated solution to this issue and which therefore meets regularly to co-ordinate our approach. That approach is based on a generous offer to Iran should they suspend their proliferation sensitive activities and the threat of sanctions should they continue to refuse to do so. Through the E3+3, the Government and the US have played an important role in securing three United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Iran, two of which have focused on sanctions. The E3+3 are committed to a diplomatic solution to the concerns of the international community about the Iranian nuclear programme. We have not specifically discussed the impact of these policies on UK troops.
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