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Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has produced on the (a) minimum and (b) maximum length of the consultation period for each stage of regional spatial strategies. 
public consultation on Draft RSS, 12 weeks minimum;
public consultation of Secretary of State's Proposed Changes, eight weeks minimum.
There are no proposals in the East of England or South East Regional Spatial Strategies for amending Green Belt boundaries in the Thames Gateway area. Any planning applications for development on Green Belt land must satisfy the national planning policies on Green Belts set out in
Planning Policy Guidance note 2. Under this policy, strict planning controls in Green Belt land are in place and there remains a general presumption against inappropriate development within Green Belts. As we reaffirmed in last years Planning White Paper, the Government have no intention of making fundamental changes to this policy.
I would also point out that one of the reasons land may be included in the Green Belt is to assist in the urban regeneration of urban land, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other land. The opportunities for urban regeneration in the Thames Gateway are recognised in the Governments investment programme for the area.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate she has made of the number of businesses eligible for small business rate relief in each financial year since April 2005; and how many of these claimed the relief in each year; 
John Healey: Local authorities reported there were 392,000 businesses in England in receipt of small business rate relief as at 31 December 2006, the only year for which this information is currently available. Information on the number of businesses who are eligible for small business rate relief is not available.
It is not possible to say how many post offices claim small business rate relief or the value of the relief granted as we do not collect data on the type of business claiming small business rate relief or the value.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 1223W, on stamp duties: tax allowances, how many transactions claimed stamp duty tax relief for new zero carbon homes in March 2008. 
The tax relief will help kick-start the market for new highly efficient technologies in homes, both for the fabric of the building and in the use of microgeneration, and sets a gold standard for green homes.
We expect the numbers of qualifying transactions to rise as more properties eligible to claim the relief go on the market. For example, in December 2007 the Government announced details of 200 new homes to be built to a zero-carbon standard in Hanham Hall, near Bristol. The media release can be found at:
The Government are committed to conducting an interim review of the relief in 2010 which will examine the effectiveness of the relief in stimulating the innovation necessary to ensure that all new homes are built to a zero-carbon standard from 2016.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department has offered to Bangladesh to (a) promote the development of greener technologies, (b) counter the impact of climate change and (c) prevent flooding. 
Mr. Malik: We are helping the Government of Bangladesh to develop its national climate change strategy and action plan and we provide support to the comprehensive disaster management programme, which includes disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation. On flood adaptation, we support a 50 million programme which assists poor people to cope with severe floods by raising homesteads. In response to the direct needs from last year's floods and cyclone, we have provided £15 million as disaster relief and early recovery activities to Bangladesh.
We have recently committed £30 million to climate change adaptation. The programme will protect around £10 million poor and vulnerable people against climate change related disasters such as flood, drought, tidal surges and cyclones. The climate change programme will facilitate access for Bangladesh to major global funds, such as the environmental transformation fund and the multi-billion-dollar global environmental facility. These funds support low-carbon development initiatives through adaptation of greener technologies.
The World Bank has also carried out assessments on renewable energy and currently supports solar panels in several thousand villages through Grameen Bank's "Shakti" branch. Germany, Japan and France are also funding various renewable energy and technology transfer projects in Bangladesh.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to (a) provide humanitarian assistance to internally-displaced people and (b) alleviate the humanitarian situation in Karenni state. 
the UN Development Programme's Human Development Initiative to improve the livelihoods of poor families in rural areas;
the Three Diseases Fund which supports the work of CARE, World Vision, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation in fighting HIV, TB and malaria in Karenni State;
the Thailand-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) which allocates part of its funding to assistance for internally displaced people inside Karenni State; and
local faith based organisations which are able to reach internally displaced people in Karenni state from inside Burma.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his most recent estimate is of the unfunded liability in present value terms of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; and on what assumptions for (a) discount and (b) longevity the estimate is based. 
Gillian Merron: Staff employed by the Department for International Development (DFID) are members of one of the five principal civil service pensions schemes and as such DFID cannot identify its share of the underlying assets and liabilities of these schemes.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the unfunded liability in present value terms was of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1990-91. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the effect on his Department's expenditure would be from increasing the employee contribution to each pension scheme for which his Department is responsible by one per cent.; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Staff employed by the Department for International Development (DFID) are members of one of the five principal civil service pension schemes. Only the Partnership scheme offers the possibility of DFID increasing its expenditure as a result of an increase in employee contributions. In the Partnership scheme DFID matches member contributions up to 3 per cent. of pensionable earnings. Currently 25 DFID staff are members of the Partnership scheme and have varying contribution levels. A 1 per cent. increase will have a very minimal increase to DFID's overall expenditure.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) surveys, (b) questionnaires and (c) other services were provided by polling companies for his Department in financial year 2007-08, broken down by company. 
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Gillian Merron: The UK Government are pushing G8 colleagues to ensure that fulfilling and implementing previous summit commitments is a priority at the G8 Leaders' Summit in July this year. In 2007, the G8 committed to scale up their efforts to achieve Universal Access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, including providing with other donors a projected $60 billion over the coming years. The UK will be pressing G8 and other colleagues to contribute their share towards the goal of Universal Access.
The UK Government announced an unprecedented long-term commitment of £1 billion for the Global Fund for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (GFATM) to 2015 at the GFATM replenishment conference in September 2007 and encouraged other governments and agencies to consider committing long-term, predictable financing. At this conference, international donors pledged a total of around $6.3 billion for the three-year period to 2010. The Global Fund Secretariat estimates that a further $3.4 billion has been pledged since then, making a total of $9.7 billion.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which countries the head of his Department's field office acts as the senior UK representative for diplomatic purposes. 
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