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14 May 2008 : Column 1628W—continued


14 May 2008 : Column 1629W

Jane Kennedy: The Valuation Office Agency’s Programme Board for the now postponed council tax revaluation generally met monthly between March 2003 and November 2005.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1688W, on the Valuation Office, how many households in England received a visit from a Valuation Office Agency official in each year since 2003 for which figures are available. [204878]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Valuation Office: Cole Layer Trumble

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency uses Cole Layer Trumble’s (a) OASIS, (b) ORION and (c) iAnalyze products. [204888]

Jane Kennedy: (a) Yes (b) No (c) No.

Valuation Office: ICT

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1688W, on Valuation Office: ICT, how many localities there are in each individual billing authority area in England. [204866]

Jane Kennedy: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1688W, on Valuation Office: ICT, what correspondence there is between the boundaries of localities and other (a) local government or (b) statistical geographical divisions. [204867]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Minister for Local Government on 19 June 2006, Official Report, column 1600W.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency’s Automated Valuation Model is used for the valuation of houses for (a) right-to-buy sales and (b) inheritance tax. [204892]

Jane Kennedy: It is not used for the purposes specified.

Valuation Office: Measuring Instruments

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, columns 1689-90W, on the Valuation Office: measuring instruments, what the reasons were for the differences in expenditure in 2007-08 and 2006-07. [204874]

Jane Kennedy: The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) undertakes various types of valuation and surveying work on behalf of a number of public sector clients for
14 May 2008 : Column 1630W
a wide range of purposes and requires the appropriate professional equipment to perform these roles effectively.

At the end of 2007-08, the VOA placed an order for 1,100 laser measures across the network, to include both additional and replacement units, where the current units were beyond their economic life. This bulk order has contributed to the increase in expenditure on surveying equipment from 2006-07.

Laser measures are used in all work areas, including non domestic rating, council tax and district valuer services.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, columns 1689-90W, on the Valuation Office: measuring instruments, if he will place in the Library the invoices for the purchases in 2007-08. [204875]

Jane Kennedy: The tendered contract price for individual items is commercial in confidence. I am therefore unable to place copies of the invoices in the Library, as they contain information regarding the cost of specific items.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, columns 1689-90W, on the Valuation Office: measuring instruments, who the designated supplier is. [204876]

Jane Kennedy: The Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) contracted supplier of surveying equipment is Survey Express Services Ltd (SES), based in Catford, London.

Valuation Office: Publications

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the answer of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 399W, on the Valuation Office Agency, if he will place in the Library copies of the Agency’s staff magazine produced since June 2007. [204868]

Jane Kennedy: The Agency has produced no staff magazines since June 2007.

Valuation Office: Video Recordings

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1690W, on the Valuation Office: video recordings, what the (a) title and (b) purpose was of the video produced since January. [204877]

Jane Kennedy: The title of the video was the “start of year message”. Its purpose was for the VOA chief executive to set out the year ahead for staff at the Agency.

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) of 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 42W, on tax credits, what the highest possible income is which a family which (a) claims and (b) does not claim the disability element for any
14 May 2008 : Column 1631W
children or adults with (i) one, (ii) two, (iii) three, (iv) four and (v) more than four children while being eligible for the child care element of the working tax credit. [204920]

Jane Kennedy: The highest level of income at which a family with maximum child care costs could benefit from the child care element depends on the number of adults and children in the household who claim the disability element, and whether they also claim the severe disability element.

The following table shows some examples based on different numbers of children in the family, and different members of the family claiming the disability element. They are based on the maximum eligible child care costs of £175 per week for one child, and £300 per week for two or more children. All incomes are rounded down to the nearest £1,000.

Highest level of income at which a family could benefit from the child care element
£
Number of children in the family
Individuals claiming disability element within the family 1 2 3 4 5

No-one

41,000

68,000

73,000

78,000

84,000

1 adult

47,000

74,000

79,000

84,000

90,000

1 child

48,000

74,000

79,000

85,000

90,000

1 adult and 1 child

62,000

80,000

86,000

91,000

96,000


Communities and Local Government

Blasphemy

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent progress has been made towards bringing forward proposals to abolish the offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. [205302]

Mr. Dhanda: Section 79 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which received Royal Assent on 8 May, contains provisions which abolish the common-law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. Section 153(2)(d) of the Act provides for these provisions to come into force two months after Royal Assent.

Caravan Sites: Valuation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the technical presentation on valuing caravan pitches referred to on page 10 of the Valuation Office Agency's Council Tax Referencing Manual. [202594]

John Healey: A copy of the technical presentation requested, which was created for training purposes, has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Council Tax: Valuation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library copies of the People Panels report produced
14 May 2008 : Column 1632W
as part of the council tax revaluation in England exercise to test the banding notifications. [204494]

John Healey: The People Panels report relates to internal discussion and advice to Ministers on the formulation and development of government policy. It is not therefore appropriate to place the report in the Library.

Departmental Orders and Regulations

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many statutory instruments have been (a) made and (b) revoked by Ministers in her Department and its predecessors since 1997. [204776]

Mr. Dhanda: The total number of statutory instruments made by the Department for Communities and Local Government and its predecessor the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister from 29 May 2002 to 30 April 2008 is 587. It would involve a disproportionate cost to provide details in respect of the predecessor Department for the period before the ODPM was created on 29 May 2002 and to provide details of the statutory instruments revoked since 29 May 2002 as no central record is maintained of this information.

Fire Services

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to publish the next version of the full business case for the FiReControl project; and if she will make a statement. [205340]

Mr. Dhanda: The next version of the business case (Version 1.1) will be published in June 2008. This will set out the full costs, savings and benefits of the FiReControl project. A key benefit of the project is increased resilience. The business case will set out the details. A copy of the business case will be placed in the House Library.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the outcome of the consultation on regional cost allocation with respect to the FiReControl project was; and if she will make a statement. [205349]

Mr. Dhanda: There has been no formal consultation on regional cost allocations for the FiReControl project. However, formal consultation will take place when the business case is published at the end of June 2008.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received on the incorporation of fireground technology in the implementation of the FiReControl project; and if she will make a statement. [205351]

Mr. Dhanda: There have been no representations received on the incorporation of fireground technology in the implementation of the FiReControl project.


14 May 2008 : Column 1633W

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will include consideration of resilience issues in the next version of the full business case for the FiReControl project; and if she will make a statement. [205702]

Mr. Dhanda: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today (PQ 205340).

Fire Services: Manpower

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many whole-time firefighters there were in each fire and rescue authority in each of the last five years. [202904]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 1 May 2008]: The number of whole-time firefighters employed in each fire and rescue authority in England, for the years 2003 to 2007 is shown in the following table.


14 May 2008 : Column 1634W
Whole-time firefighters in England as 31 April
Fire and rescue service 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Avon

639

678

669

690

682

Bedfordshire and Luton

319

330

323

317

321

Buckinghamshire

330

352

349

359

398

Cambridgeshire

273

285

273

258

277

Cheshire

623

616

602

567

562

Cleveland

586

570

563

561

562

Cornwall

192

205

201

200

193

County Durham and Darlington

407

402

385

372

387

Cumbria

274

271

274

268

274

Derbyshire

467

479

475

455

446

Devon

565

575

562

577

561

Dorset

304

309

302

307

298

East Sussex

423

453

434

424

426

Essex

937

920

936

981

945

Gloucestershire

233

238

239

234

247

Greater Manchester

2,139

2,100

2,028

1,902

1,938

Hampshire

799

808

790

808

802

Hereford and Worcester

351

347

319

330

342

Hertfordshire

564

574

564

569

560

Humberside

721

728

710

712

707

Isle of Wight

61

58

63

57

57

Isles of Scilly

10

11

11

10

11

Kent

938

942

892

901

930

Lancashire

1,008

990

957

912

898

Leicestershire

478

476

477

479

490

Lincolnshire

192

187

195

204

206

London

5,758

5,990

5,815

5,959

6,053

Merseyside

1,342

1,319

1,276

1,151

1,105

Norfolk

288

295

281

303

306

North Yorkshire

351

363

358

351

352

Northamptonshire

307

311

302

288

287

Northumberland

209

198

193

197

195

Nottinghamshire

589

587

549

564

577

Oxfordshire

233

245

237

240

243

Royal Berkshire

436

430

422

427

427

Shropshire

216

216

208

203

215

Somerset

181

179

184

180

179

South Yorkshire

914

918

878

870

834

Staffordshire

471

470

447

432

448

Suffolk

250

244

257

272

257

Surrey

693

669

673

655

639

Tyne and Wear

999

970

945

921

905

Warwickshire

279

284

276

277

262

West Midlands

1,971

1,968

1,944

1,836

1,904

West Sussex

395

409

394

400

373

West Yorkshire

1,678

1,658

1,602

1,550

1,512

Wiltshire

221

229

219

214

211

Total

31,614

31,856

31,053

30,744

30,804

Source:
Annual returns to Communities and Local Government

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