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7 May 2008 : Column 1032W—continued

Surgery: Waiting Lists

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations were performed within (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four, (e) five, (f) six, (g) seven, (h) eight, (i) nine, (j) 10, (k) 11 and (l) 12 or more weeks of referral from a general practitioner, or specialist practitioner, in each quarter of each of the last five years, broken down by acute hospital trust; and if he will make a statement. [200371]

Mr. Bradshaw: Referral-to-treatment data have been collected since January 2007. The information requested has been placed in the Library. These data show the number and percentage of admitted patients treated in each month up to and including January 2008, along with the quarterly totals. The figures include patients referred by general practitioners, specialist practitioners and other sources of referral.

By December 2008, patients who want it, and for whom it is clinically appropriate, can expect to start their treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral. Published data show that at a national level, performance for admitted patients increased from 49 per cent. in January 2007 to 69 per cent. in January 2008.

Working Conditions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government has taken to help employers provide healthy working environments. [202983]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 1 May 2008]: The Government have done a good deal to help employers provide healthy working environments in recent years: the publication of the White Paper “Choosing Health—making healthy choices easier” (2004) the cross-Government strategy “Health, work and well-being—Caring for our future” (2005), and, finally, the more recently published review of the health of the working age population, “Working for a healthier tomorrow” (March 2008) by Professor Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work. In addition the Government have sponsored a number of workplace health awards for both public and private sectors, including the prestigious Business in the Community Health at Work awards.

As the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions set out in a written ministerial statement on 17 March 2008, Official Report, columns 50-52WS, the Government will consider Dame Carol’s findings carefully and, over the coming months, will develop detailed proposals to make a real difference to all working environments. Success in this agenda will benefit individuals, families, communities, businesses and the economy as a whole.

Communities and Local Government

Adoption: Standards

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities had performance targets in their local public service agreements or local area agreements on (a) adoption and (b) stability of adoption placements, where such performance was incentivised with reward grants; and what the target was in each case. [202621]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 670W to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (John Hemming).

Bus Services: Subsidies

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what level of local
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authority grant has been made to enable the subsidy of uneconomic bus routes for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09 in (i) Plymouth and (ii) Devon. [203697]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

Plymouth city council and Devon county council have received Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG) and funding from the Department for Transport’s Urban and Rural Bus Challenge and Kickstart schemes. These grants have provided financial support towards new and existing bus services including those which may have previously been uneconomic. The following table shows the amounts that the two authorities received in 2007-08 under these grant schemes; projected figures for 2008-09 are also shown:

Authority 2007-08 2008-09

Plymouth city council



Devon county council



(1) The reduction as compared with the Plymouth figure for the previous year reflects the completion of funding in 2007-08 for the authority’s project under the Urban Bus Challenge scheme.

Local authorities may also use funding from the Government’s unhypothecated Revenue Support Grant to support local bus services.

Bus companies operating throughout Devon also receive Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) from the Department. This is a payment equivalent to about 80 per cent. of the fuel duty that operators incur in providing local bus services. However, as BSOG is paid directly to operators, statistics are not kept for payments by local authority or geographical area.

Caravan Sites: Council Tax

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether Traveller caravans are liable for council tax where the pitch is not charged business rates. [202592]

John Healey: A pitch for a caravan which is a person’s sole or main residence will be liable for council tax.

Connect Public Affairs

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what payments her Department has made to Connect Public Affairs since her Department was created; on what dates; and for what purpose in each case; [203793]

(2) what payments the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Neighbourhood Renewal Unit made to Connect Public Affairs; on what dates; and for what purpose in each case. [203794]

Mr. Dhanda: The following payments have been made to Connect Public Affairs since the Department (as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) was formed in 2002. These include payments made by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit. Connect Public Affairs provided a range of conferences and events covering the delivery of neighbourhood renewal programmes, policies, and related themes including, in March 2008, a national conference on the future development of regeneration policy and community empowerment.

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Date paid Total amount

14 March 2003


1 June 2006


25 July 2006


22 August 2006


31 October 2006


9 November 2006


20 November 2006


21 December 2006


16 February 2007


22 March 2007


27 March 2007


10 May 2007


21 August 2007


12 September 2007


2 October 2007


14 November 2007


31 December 2007


4 February 2008


Construction Methods: Fire Prevention

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the fire resistance standards to be applied to materials used in the construction of public and community buildings; [203708]

(2) what steps she is taking to inform local authorities about the fire performance of certain composite panels; [203835]

(3) whether she plans to revise, loss prevention standard 1181, relating to the fire performance of composite panels used in the construction of schools and other community buildings; [203836]

(4) if she will meet the Loss Prevention Certificate Board to discuss the fire performance of composite panels. [203837]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Building Regulations 2000 (as amended) apply to building work in England and Wales, typically the erection, extension or material alteration of a building, including public and community buildings. For the purposes of securing reasonable standards of health and safety for persons in and around buildings, part B of the regulations sets out requirements for fire safety.

In support of these requirements, the Department issues technical guidance, known as Approved Document B, which sets out appropriate levels of fire performance and fire resistance for materials, products and structures, including composite panels, when tested to relevant British or European standards. The necessary level of performance that should be obtained will depend upon the type of building, the nature of the construction product and where it is located.

Specific guidance on meeting the fire safety requirements of the building regulations in the design and construction of schools is given in Building Bulletin 100, published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Information on hospitals in Health Technical Memorandum 02-05, published by the Department of Health.

7 May 2008 : Column 1035W

In existing buildings, fire safety risk assessment undertaken under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 should take account of the type of construction used in any building. The Department has issued technical fire safety risk assessment guidance which includes reference to composite panels.

LPS 1181 is a loss prevention standard produced by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) and 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. As such the Department does not utilise LPS 1181 within its guidance on fire safety.

Officials within the Department do, from time to time, communicate with the LPCB on a wide range of issues. However, as LPS 1181 is not utilised in our guidance, it is not of direct relevance to the Department’s work.

Construction: Sustainable Development

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she has taken to improve sustainability within local government procurement with regard to construction. [202543]

John Healey: Subject to their legal duties, including the duty of best value and public procurement law, local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions. There is a range of good practice guidance to which they can have regard to. For example, the Local Government Task Force, which is sponsored by the Department, recently published three guides on sustainable construction, which include specific advice for leaders, construction professionals and procurement managers.

Council Tax

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was raised in council tax for each precepting authority in 2006-07 in England. [202616]

John Healey: Details of the level of council tax precepting authorities in England expected to raise 2006-07 were published in table 8 of the statistical release “Levels of council tax set by local authorities in England 2006-07”.

This release is available on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Council Tax: Valuation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2008, Official Report, column 613W, on Council Tax: Valuation, for what reasons the sections on (a) future council tax revaluations, (b) the hon. Member for Meriden and (c) consequentials were
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redacted from the minutes placed in the Library. [202471]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to my previous answer of 19 February 2008, Official Report, column 613W. The reasons are stated in the redacted minutes.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2008, Official Report, column 613W, and 2 April 2008, Official Report, columns 924-5W, on Council Tax: Valuation, if she will place in the Library the initial analysis of the number of consequentials that informed the discussions at the Council Tax Revaluation Programme Board (England);[202475]

(2) how many consequentials that were identified were subsequently corrected as part of the Valuation Office Agency’s normal duty; and how many households had their records amended. [202476]

John Healey: No analysis has been undertaken.

Council Tax: Waste Management

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether joint waste authorities will levy a separate precept on council tax. [202612]

John Healey: Joint waste authorities will not have precepting powers, and will need to agree funding structures with their constituent authorities.

Departmental Manpower

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) permanent Civil Service posts, (b) permanent non-Civil Service posts and (c) temporary or agency workers in employment there were in her Department in each month since May 2005. [199630]

Mr. Dhanda: Our workforce statistics are compiled quarterly and published by the Office for National Statistics. They are based on numbers of employees rather than posts, and do not reflect vacancy information.

The latest available figures are for 31 December 2007 and show that there were 5,280 permanent civil servants and 70 temporary employees in the Department for Communities and Local Government. The figures are on the full-time equivalent basis and are rounded to the nearest 10.

Historical records are available from the recently launched UK Statistics Authority website:

7 May 2008 : Column 1037W

These figures will exclude temporary agency workers who are not employed directly by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Non-civil service permanent posts include special advisers. The Prime Minister gave details of special advisers to the House on 22 November 2007, Official Report, column 147WS.

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