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Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her Answer of 25 February 2008, Official Report, column 1220W, on Fire Services buildings, what (a) primary and (b) other considerations were taken into account in determining the size of regional control centres. 
Each Regional Control Centre is part of a resilient network. It has been designed to deal with both its own workload, whilst also providing extra capacity to take on the work of other Regional Control Centres should they, for whatever reason, become overloaded or unavailable. Each building will contain a large control room, operations room, emergency planning room, and space to accommodate other staff or agencies as required for large scale incidents.
Each facility is designed to be self-supporting for seven days, and has been designed to incorporate uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), generators and fuel storage, with the ability to replenish fuel supplies from outside the secure area. Each also has significant water and effluent storage capacity.
Regional Control Centres will provide space for training new personnel, meeting rooms and provide adequate staff facilities, such as, canteen and locker rooms. Each building will also contain space for building services machinery and the main IT equipment room.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to ensure that local authorities act upon guidance offered by the Food Standards Agency in respect of (a) food provision for older people and (b) food served to adults in institutions in the provision of (i) meals on wheels, (ii) luncheon clubs, (iii) sheltered accommodation, (iv) staff catering and (v) other civic catering services. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her Answer of 21 February 2008, Official Report, columns 904W, on Government Offices for the Regions: Finance, what estimate she has made of the cost to her Department of managing centrally each Government Offices estates budget. 
The Government offices are funded by contributions from 10 sponsor Departments and the above costs are therefore not solely provided by CLG. The proportion of total spending provided by CLG is c.40 per cent. of the total, thus the CLG contribution to the cost of managing the network estates budget is £480,000.
Mr. Dhanda: On 31 January 2008 66 per cent. of the staff in Communities and Local Government were based in central London offices. This figure includes Communities staff who work in the Government Office network. Information for our Executive Agencies is not held centrally.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the running costs for her Departments central London offices were in 2007-08; and what they are budgeted to be in each of the next four years. 
Mr. Dhanda: The running costs for Communities and Local Governments central London offices in 2007-08 are forecast to be £47,520,156. At present the planned expenditure for 2008-09 is £41,836,460, however this is under active review since we are looking at options for further rationalisation of our estate. In addition we have a rent review pending which will impact the operating costs in later years.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much was spent by Castle Point Borough Council on improving homes for disabled people in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Iain Wright: Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a mandatory grant used to provide adaptations to the homes of disabled people. Local authorities in England report their annual Disabled Facilities Grant expenditure and the number of recipients of Disabled Facilities Grant through the Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix. The 2006-07 Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix report will be published shortly. The 2003-04 to 2005-06 expenditure is provided in the following table. Communities and Local Government provide 60 per cent. of the value of the Disabled Facilities Grant to local authorities. Local authorities fund the remaining 40 per cent. from other sources. In addition to Disabled Facilities Grant local authorities may improve the homes of disabled people with other funding streams not reported as part of the Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix. Communities and Local Government do not hold this information or information on how many people have applied for home improvement grants. The following table sets out Disabled Facilities Grant expenditure for Castle Point borough council:
Mr. Stewart Jackson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the likely number of residential properties to be built on the tidal or fluvial floodplain
in the Thames Gateway area over the next eight years; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: Because much of the new housing expected in the Thames Gateway has yet to be planned, it is not possible to determine accurately the amount that will be built within the floodplain. However, only some 35 per cent. of the entire Thames Gateway area itself is at risk from tidal or fluvial flooding.
Under PPS25Development and Flood Riskall local planning authorities (LPAs) are required to notify the Environment Agency when they become aware of an application for house building in the functional floodplain. The LPA will then make a judgment as to the acceptability of the risk, and also of the likely effect of the development on floodwater run-off rates. Flood-risk mitigation measures (such as land-raising, improvements to flood defences or porous paving) can then be devised and, if these will render the risk acceptable, make these a condition of planning consent.
The tidal flood defences in the Thames Gateway are of among the highest standards anywhere in the UK (exceeding a 1 in 2000 year event standard in the development areas) and, through its Thames estuary 2100 project, the Environment Agency is devising a detailed programme for maintaining those standards into the future.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate (a) her Department and (b) the Lifting the Burdens Task Force has made of the cost to local authorities of publishing statutory notices. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many complaints were (a) received, (b) investigated and (c) upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman for England in each of the last 10 years, broken down by the council or agency for which the complaint was filed. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to make a decision on extending protection of the Rule of 85 for the Local Government Pension Scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: My statement to the House on 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 49WS, announced that the Local Government Pension Scheme Policy Review Group, with the assistance of the Government Actuarys Department, had been asked to undertake a fresh costings exercise of extending the current levels of protection in the scheme, following the removal of the Rule of 85, using 2007 actuarial valuation data. An announcement will be made as soon as the current work is completed.
As Ministers have consistently made clear, to maintain the schemes viability and to meet the Governments policy of ensuring no adverse effects on taxpayers, the costs of any amendments to improve the level of protections would need to be provided from within the scheme, and be affordable and legal.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many litres of bottled water were purchased by her Department and its predecessor in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. 
|Central Department||Executive agencies|
Figures for 2005 and 2006 are approximate.
Cities of London and Westminster
Hammersmith and Fulham
Hornsey and Wood Green
North Southwark and Bermondsey
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department provided to the National Community Forum in each of the last three years; what funding it plans to provide in each of the next three years; and if she will make a statement. 
|Financial year||Funding allocated (£)|
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her Answer of 25 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1228-29W, what (a) non-cash allocations and (b) funds for a voluntary early release scheme Government Offices for the Regions have received in financial year 2007-08; and what the purpose of such funding was in each instance. 
Mr. Dhanda: The total non-cash allocation received by the Government offices is £3.2 million. This is principally to cover the cost of dilapidation provisions, depreciation and cost of capital incurred by the Government office network. It also however includes the non-cash funding of the release schemeswhich is a net allocation of £702,000.
The Government offices have received £5 million from sponsor Departments for the 2007 release scheme, which includes the £702,000 non-cash referred to in (a) above. This pays for the in-year costs of the staff who have volunteered to take early release from the Government offices as well as setting up a provision for the future costs of those staff who will receive payments in future years.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2008, Official Report, column 1229W, on regional Ministers: finance, which programme budgets are administered by the Government Offices for the Regions, broken down by sponsoring Department. 
|Sponsor Department||Programme funding (£)|
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