|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the commencement of the new regime on empty property business rates will entail tax liability on only properties which have been empty for three to six months after 1 April 2008. 
John Healey: At present, the owner of any property that has been empty for more than three months is liable for empty property rates if none of the other exemptions apply. On and after April 1 2008, the owner of any property that has been empty for more than three months, or six months in the case of industrial buildings, will be liable for empty property rates if none of the exemptions apply. Regulations making the necessary changes will be laid shortly.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many times planning decisions have been made contrary to the Environment Agency's advice on flood risk in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of each of the responses from external organisations and individuals to the recent Planning White Paper consultation. 
Caroline Flint: On 27 November we published the Government's response to consultation on the Planning White Paper. Alongside this report, we also published two detailed background papers. Background Paper A sets out an analysis of the consultation responses and Background Paper B a summary of other comments received on the White Paper and a list of respondents to the Planning White Paper. All these documents are available on the CLG website:
However, copies of the individual responses to the Planning White Paper, as discussed in these publications, have not been placed in the Library because of the volume we received. They are available for inspection at Communities and Local Government.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local billing authorities in England now transfer property information via the Valuebill interface to the Valuation Office Agency. 
John Healey: All local billing authorities in England submit property identifiers to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) via the National Land and Property Gazetteer, utilising electronic interfaces developed in conjunction with Valuebill.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Valuation Office Agency's definition is of an outbuilding for (a) council tax valuation and (b) business rate valuation purposes. 
John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East and Saddleworth (Mr. Woolas) to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) on 29 March 2007, Official Report, column 1731W.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) parking tickets and (b) speeding fines were issued for vehicles used by her Department in each of the last 10 years; and what the cost to the public purse of those penalties was in each year. 
Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government (CLG) and its predecessor the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) were created following the Machinery of Government changes on 5 May 2006 and 29 May 2002, respectively.
CLG operates a general policy whereby the payment of any fixed penalty tickets (including parking tickets and speeding fines), either during the hire period of a vehicle or while a private car is being used on official business, is the responsibility of the individual undertaking the travel and not the Department. However, payment of parking tickets (not speeding fines) relating to allocated ministerial cars, incurred while carrying out official duties, is deemed to be the responsibility of the Department. Since the inception of ODPM, the annual amount incurred by the Department for payments of such parking tickets is as follows:
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 4 February 2008]: The Government are committed to encouraging all households to have a working smoke alarm. My Department has invested £25 million over four years (2004-08) to provide fire and rescue services with capital grants to install smoke alarms in the most vulnerable homes. The long-standing Fire Kills media campaign has as its central focus the importance of working smoke alarms and is currently running a TV advertising campaign to raise levels of awareness.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures are in place to prevent conflicts of interest arising following meetings and other contacts between her Ministers and officials and representatives of housebuilding companies seeking to build eco-towns; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: At this stage in the process, my officials are working with colleagues in other Departments and agencies to undertake a cross-government review of the eco-towns expressions of interest. Where necessary, they have been contacting developers to seek clarification of information submitted in the expression of interest. They are also contacting local authorities in the relevant areas covered by proposed eco-town schemes. Following this, we will publish proposals for public consultation, involving local authorities, wider stakeholders and the public before the process is completed.
When potential sites have been identified, they will be determined in the normal way under the Planning Acts, and as set out in the Eco-towns Prospectus, there may be circumstances where use of the New Towns Act might be used. I can assure the hon. Member that Ministers and officials will abide by the usual rules of propriety that relate to planning matters during this stage of the process.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings and other contacts have taken place between representatives of Eagle Star and her Ministers and officials in relation to eco towns over the course of the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what representations her Department has received from Co-operative Estates on the proposed development near Great Glen in Leicestershire; and what meetings have taken place between her Department and Co-operative Estates on the development; 
(2) what recent representations her Department has received from QinetiQ on the proposed development near Throckmorton in Worcestershire; and what meetings
have taken place between her Department and QinetiQ on the development; 
(3) what recent representations her Department has received from Banks Developments on the proposed development near Cambois; and what meetings have taken place between her Department and Banks Developments on the development; 
(4) what representations her Department has received from GMI Property on the proposed development near Selby in Yorkshire; and what meetings officials from her Department have had with GMI Property where the development has been discussed; 
(5) what (a) representations her Department has received from and (b) meetings her Department's representatives have had with representatives of Hallam Land Management and Commercial Estates Group in relation to the proposed development in Clifton Moor, Yorkshire. 
Caroline Flint: As one of a number of housing initiatives under way the Government are considering eco-towns, and as part of this have sought expressions of interest from developers and local authorities. To reveal the details of recent meetings and representations from developers when this process is under way would have the potential to be detrimental to the process, and those that have put forward eco-towns proposals.
John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the Valuation Office Agency's published Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07, available on the VOA's website. Total payment for the year is shown at page 60 under 'Other Operating Costs' against the cost head of 'Data Capture'.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what agencies under his Department's responsibilities use (a) 0845 and (b) 0870 telephone codes for customer enquiries; how many 0845 or 0870 telephone codes each agency uses; and how much revenue was generated by each of these codes for each agency in each of the last five years. 
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what definition of multiple exclusion the Government use; and what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of (a) working age and (b) older people who meet this definition; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of those defined as socially excluded who are (a) children, (b) adults under state pension age and (c) adults over state pension age. 
Phil Hope: There are a number of ways to measure exclusion. One method is to look at people or places that have a combination of linked problems, such as unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, bad health and family breakdown. Recent analysis by the Social Exclusion Task Force found that around 140,000 families with children (or 2 per cent. of all families with children) in Britain experienced five or more disadvantages in 2004.
Previous work commissioned by the former Social Exclusion Unit found that approximately 1.86 million (or 5.2 per cent.) of working age adults in Britain experienced five or more disadvantages in 2003, down from 2.43 million (or 7 per cent.) in 1997. For pensioners this was 1.8 million people (or 16.8 per cent.), down from 2.37 million (or 23 per cent.) in 1997.
Details of any payments made in 2007-08 will be available only when the Department's resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament. This is expected to be before the 2008 summer recess.
Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Gillian Merron) to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 24 January 2008, Official Report, columns 2175-6W.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the value was of each grant provided by his Department, its associated agencies and non-departmental public bodies to (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council, (b) Shropshire county council and (c) Telford and the Wrekin borough council in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and what grants have been planned for 2008-09. 
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the budget was for the work of the Social Exclusion Unit and the Social Exclusion Taskforce for each year since 1997; and what the planned budget is for each year covered by the 2007 to 2011 comprehensive spending review. 
Phil Hope: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Gillian Merron) to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 14 January 2008, Official Report, column 917W; the answers given by the then Minister for Local Government (Mr. Woolas) to the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) on 8 May 2006, Official Report, column 105W and to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) on 31 October 2006, Official Report, column 292W; and the answer given by the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Leslie) to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 13 March 2003, Official Report, column 420W.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will consider the merits of providing financial support to arts organisations in the North of England affected by the decision of the Northern Rock Foundation to stop funding arts and heritage projects. 
Margaret Hodge: My Department's support for the arts is channelled through Arts Council England. The Arts Council operates at arm's length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them.
The Arts Council is aware of the potential impact of the loss of Northern Rock funding in Cumbria and is actively in discussion with partners and arts organisations in the area to assess the risks and how they can best be addressed.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|