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27 Mar 2008 : Column 392W—continued

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many participants have taken part in (a) the new deal for young people, (b) new deal 25 plus, (c) new deal 50 plus, (d) new deal for lone parents, (e) new deal for disabled people and (f) new deal for parents in West Lancashire constituency in each month since inception. [194834]

Mr. Timms: The available information has been placed in the Library.

Pension Credit

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of claimants who were underpaid pension credit in 2006-07 have now received their full entitlement for that year. [194669]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not available.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of children lived in workless households in each year since 1997. [185865]

Mr. Plaskitt: Since 1997, the proportion of children living in workless households has fallen from 18.7 per cent to 16 per cent. in Quarter 2 of 2007. This is a reduction of over 405,000.

The information requested is shown in the following table.

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P roportion of children living in workless households in each year since 1997 (Great Britain)

Quarter 2























(1 )There is no available calendar data for Q2 1998 and Q2 2000. This is because the figures for those years, published by the ONS, were erroneous and have been retracted while under review. For these two years, spring data has been inserted in the table above, although it is important to note that the spring data is not directly comparable with Q2 data.
1. Definition of the proportion of children living in a working-age workless household is the percentage of children aged under 16 in a working-age household where no adult works. A working-age household is a household that includes at least one person of working age (a woman aged between 16 and 59 or a man aged between 16 and 64). Workless individuals are those who are either International Labour Organisation unemployed or economically inactive (that is, not in employment).
2. Quarter 2 is April to June.
3. The data provided differs from the data on children in workless households published by the ONS for Great Britain: the data provided has been adjusted by DWP for households with unknown economic activity, while the ONS published data for Great Britain is unadjusted.
4. The DWP adjusted data for GB is used in measuring progress towards reducing the number of children in workless households to help inform the delivery of the child poverty PSA. The data has been previously published in a chart on page 19 of the 2007 DWP Autumn Performance Report.
DWP estimate using Labour Force Survey


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, columns 2806-7W, on Wikipedia, how many Wikipedia entries have been (a) created and (b) amended from IP addresses from the central pool. [195349]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department of Work and Pensions does not have a policy of regularly monitoring updates made to Wikipedia from DWP IP—internet protocol—addresses. Therefore the Department would not as a matter of course determine Wikipedia entries that have been created or amended. The cost of obtaining and analysing such data could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Communities and Local Government

Community Development

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had with the (a) Department for
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Innovation, Universities and Skills and (b) higher education sector on community cohesion issues. [196693]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department has worked closely with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) on community cohesion issues, particularly: on the citizens’ juries to examine provision of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) held in London and Hull in December 2007; and the DIUS stakeholder steering group established to discuss community cohesion, and tackling extremism throughout post-16 education, which includes bodies from both the further education and higher education sectors.

Construction: Inspections

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to revise inspection processes affecting the construction industry. [196524]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Future of Building Control consultation launched on 18 March puts forward plans to modernise the inspection regime for those seeking building control approval and also sets the expectation that planning and building control departments should work closely together to provide a seamless service to the customer.

The Government are consulting on the following changes that will have a direct impact on the current inspection regime applied to building projects.

The consultation closes on 10 June.


David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many claims for discrimination, based on (a) sex, (b) race and (c) sexual orientation, were brought by members of her Department and its predecessors and settled (i) in and (ii) out of court in each of the last five years. [194976]

Mr. Dhanda: Since the formation of our predecessor Department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, there has been a total of seven such claims, each of which was settled outside employment tribunal.

We cannot further disaggregate this information because of the risk of identifying individuals.

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Eco-Towns: West Sussex

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether her Department invited Wates construction company to submit an application for a proposed eco-town at Ford in West Sussex; [193508]

(2) what discussions she has had with Wates construction company on the proposed eco-town at Ford in West Sussex; and on what dates she has held meetings with Wates for that purpose since 1 January 2005. [193509]

Caroline Flint: No developers have been invited directly by the Department to submit an application for a proposed eco-town.

The Secretary of State has held no discussions or meetings with Wates Construction Co. since 1 January 2005.

Festivals and Special Occasions

Ms Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to mark Saint George’s day on 23 April 2008. [194440]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issue the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings. This includes recommending flying the St. George’s flag on St. George’s day on 23 April on buildings with two or more flag poles, provided it is flown alongside the Union flag with the Union flag in the superior position.

Two of CLG’s HQ buildings, Eland House and Ashdown House, have a second flag pole, and the St. George’s flag will be flown on these to celebrate St. George’s day.

The Secretary of State has also written to the Local Government Association urging them to encourage all local authorities to think about how they might mark St. George’s day in their own area.

Fire Safety: Construction Methods

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the LPS1181 standard in ensuring the fire safety of public buildings, with particular reference to the use of cladding panes in combustible foam plastic insulation. [196764]

Mr. Iain Wright: LPS1181 is a loss prevention standard used primarily by the insurance industry. This standard provides a method for assessing the fire performance of cladding systems with respect to potential economic loss in the event of a fire.

Current statutory provisions and supporting standards for fire protection in buildings are made only for the purposes of securing the health and safety of people in and around buildings, not to reduce economic loss. No such assessment, therefore, has been made.

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Higher Education

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress the task force on studentification has made; and which higher education sector bodies have been involved in the taskforce. [196712]

Mr. Iain Wright: We have commissioned researchers to undertake a short evidence-gathering exercise to identify a range of planning and non-planning measures that could help to create and maintain balance in areas of high student population. The researchers will present the emerging findings of this work to invited participants at a seminar on 9 April. We have invited representatives of local planning authorities, residents groups, the national HMO—houses in multiple occupation—lobby, universities, landlords, and interested charities to the seminar. Their contribution will assist in formulating the way forward on this issue. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will also be represented. External bodies invited to participate in the seminar include Universities UK, the Guild of Higher Education, Unipol, the College and University Business Officers and individual universities.

Housing: Planning

Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she issues to local authorities on the management of annual quotas of planning applications for residential development. [196688]

Mr. Iain Wright: ‘Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing’ (PPS3) sets out the national planning framework for delivering the Government’s objectives for high quality housing in suitable locations which will contribute to the creation of mixed and sustainable communities. PPS3 asks local authorities to identify specific, suitable sites in their plans, including a rolling five year supply of land for housing, to enable them to deliver the housing numbers and brownfield targets allocated to them in regional spatial strategies. These sites should take into account the spatial vision for the local area and objectives set out in the relevant regional spatial strategy, and reflect clear and informed strategies for the location of housing development, and for the infrastructure needed to service it.

The policies in PPS3 should be taken into account by local planning authorities in the preparation of their local development frameworks. They should also be regarded as material considerations in determining planning applications for new housing development which may supercede the policies in existing development plans.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service: Standards

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the recent performance of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service; and if she will make a statement. [197046]

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Mr. Dhanda: The Audit Commission regularly assesses the performance of all fire and rescue authorities.

In 2005's Comprehensive Performance Assessment the Audit Commission assessed Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority as “Excellent”. In January 2008, the Audit Commission published its Performance Assessment for Fire and Rescue Authorities. Merseyside Fire and Rescue was assessed as “Improving Well” in Direction of Travel with the highest score of four for “Use of Resources”.

Property Development

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what arrangements are in place to ensure building owners provide affected parties with adequate notice of their intentions to build under the Party Wall Act 1996. [189586]

Mr. Iain Wright: This is a civil matter between the relevant parties (the building owner and the adjoining owners). If a building owner starts work without having first given notice in the proper way, adjoining owners may seek to stop the work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress.

The Department publishes an explanatory booklet which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. It also gives information and guidance which individuals may find useful, such as sample letters.

Hard copies of the booklet are available free of charge from Communities Free Literature, PO Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7NB, tel: 0870 1226 236, fax: 0870 1226 237, textphone: 0870 1207 405, e-mail: It is also available to download from the Planning Portal at: and from the Department’s website at:

Public Lavatories

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the change in the number of municipal public conveniences in the last 10 years. [194822]

Mr. Iain Wright: The provision and maintenance of toilets in public places is at the discretion of local authorities who have, under section 87 of the Public Health Act 1936, a power to provide public conveniences, but no duty to do so. For this reason statistical data on changes in the number of municipal public conveniences is not held by CLG. The Department’s Strategic Guide on Improving Public Access to Better Quality Toilets, published on 6 March, includes information showing that a number of public toilets have closed over many years. This was based on figures compiled by the Audit Commission until 2000, and Valuation Office Agency data used for rating commercial and industrial property.

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