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25 Feb 2008 : Column 1218Wcontinued
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 283W, on working parties, what (a) working parties, (b) task forces and (c) steering groups were set up by his Department in each of the last five years. 
The Department has not routinely collected information centrally on working parties, task forces and steering groups. It would incur disproportionate cost to seek to identify this information retrospectively. The survey referred to in the reply given on 26 November 2007, Official Report, columns 263-64W was a one-off project, carried out in autumn 2006 which identified over 200 extant working parties which engaged stakeholders. For a list of those groups and the survey questions I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 January 2008, Official Report, column 1009W, to the
hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley). The Department is planning to improve its information systems so that knowledge of working groups is captured routinely as a by-product of day-to-day work.
Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the projected financial outturn of the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority is for 2007-08. 
Ann Keen [holding answer 22 February 2008]: At the second quarter of 2007-08, the Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority is forecasting a financial year-end surplus of £271.5 million.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government have taken to tackle community tensions since 1997. 
Mr. Dhanda: Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: The Government's strategy to increase race equality and community cohesion (published in 2005) and its related two annual progress reports set out some of the steps that the Government have taken since 1997 to tackle community tensions that can undermine community cohesionfor example, in their work with partners to monitor tensions and provide support for local areas experiencing particular challenges. More recently The Government's Response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion (published in February 2008) provides a new clarity on, and commitment to, delivering cohesive and integrated communities. This includes a commitment to the new public service agreement 21 to build cohesive, empowered and active communities; increased investment in community cohesion; and a commitment to establish specialist cohesion teams to provide advice and support to local authorities facing cohesion challenges.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many public request to order disposal applications have been received by the Government. 
Mr. Dhanda: Available records show that since 1997 the Government have received 42 public requests to order disposal under Section 98 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. Of these, 37 have been received since 2004.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken on the public request to order disposal applications made in relation to Prescott Villas in Prescott Drive in Liverpool. 
Mr. Dhanda: In 2006 a notice was issued stating that the Secretary of State proposed to direct Liverpool city council to dispose of land at numbers 14, 16, 18 and 20 Prescott Drive. After consideration of the councils representations the decision was taken not to direct in respect of 20 Prescott Drive, as the council had by then disposed of its interest.
In respect of 14, 16, and 18 Prescott Drive, the decision was taken not to direct at present, but it was decided that a notice of the proposal to direct should remain in place and be reviewed after 12 months (October 2007) in order to give the council time to resolve land issues, finalise redevelopment plans and make tangible progress towards the development of the land.
In December 2007 Government office officials met with Liverpool city council to look at progress and consider whether a new notice should be issued. The Secretary of State will shortly be considering what further action to take.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was awarded in disabled facilities grants in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2006-07; and what the average size of grant was in that period. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In 2006-07 the Department awarded £693,000 to Newcastle upon Tyne city council to contribute to its disabled facilities grant (DFG) programme.
Authorities submit data to the Department on DFG expenditure and the number of grants through the annual housing strategy statistical appendix (HSSA). The 2006-07 return is due to be published shortly. The latest available data are for 2005-06, where the average grant was £,500.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account her Department took of shift patterns in determining the size of regional fire control centres. 
Mr. Dhanda: None. Shift patterns have no material impact on the size of the Regional Control Centres. The size of the buildings was based primarily on the number of staff required to provide a resilient 24 hour operation.
Shift patterns for regional control centre staff will be the responsibility of the eight regional Local Authority Control Companies and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons estimates of the cost of the FiReControl Project have varied between October 2005 and December 2007; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The October 2005 cost estimate is taken from an options analysis which preceded the establishment of the FiReControl project. We have fully defined the business requirements and have a more detailed understanding of the solution and how it will be delivered. For example, lease agreements have been signed for the nine regional control buildings and the national IT infrastructures services contract has been awarded. Furthermore, there has been price inflation of around 10 per cent. since the options analysis was published in 2003.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what factors she took into account in determining the grant award to (a) North Yorkshire fire authority and (b) Humberside fire authority for 2008-09 to 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The distribution of formula grant takes into account the relative needs and potential to raise income locally (resources) of an authority, relative to all other authorities providing the same service. It also contains a central allocation and a floor damping mechanism.
For fire and rescue authorities, the needs component is measured through the Fire and Rescue Relative Needs Formula (RNF) and the Capital Finance RNF. The Fire and Rescue RNF takes into account the resident population, coastline, deprivation, high-risk sites, property and societal risk and community fire safety. The capital finance RNF takes into account assumed outstanding debt and supported capital expenditure (revenue).
The resources element uses a measure of the council tax base (number of band D equivalent properties).
The Government consulted on the formula grant distribution system between 17 July and 10 October 2007, and on the provisional grant settlements for the next three years from 6 December 2007 to 8 January 2008. I announced the 2008-09 and provisional 2009-10 and 2010-11 settlements on 24 January 2008. Within this, I confirmed that:
(a) North Yorkshire fire and rescue authority also receive £1.71 million, £1.5 million and £1.3 million from the floor damping mechanism in respective years. This will ensure that they receive increases of 1 per cent., 0.5 per cent. and 0.5 per cent. in grant on a like for like basis respectively; and
(b) Humberside fire authority also contribute £2.1 million, £1.5 million and £1 million to the floor damping mechanism in respective years. However, they receive increases of 5.8 per cent., 3.5 per cent. and 3.3 per cent. in grant on a like for like basis respectively.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what risk assessment her Department and Firebuy have undertaken of the decision to sign the integrated clothing project managed service contract; and what conclusions have been drawn. 
[holding answer 22 February 2008]: The fully managed service and purchase with managed services elements of the integrated clothing project contract are expected to be signed this month between
the service provider and Firebuy Ltd. The purchase- only element of the contract was signed in October 2007. The decision to proceed to contract signature was made following a full assessment of the benefits and risks.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many ill-health retirements in the fire service there were between April and October (a) 2006 and (b) 2007, broken down by fire authority. 
Mr. Dhanda: Available information, for the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006, is set out in the following table:
|Ill-health retirements in the fire service 2005-06|
| Source: Annual returns to Communities and Local Government.|
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