|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his statement at the UN Conference on Disarmament on 5 February 2008 that the UK is willing to host a technical conference of P5 nuclear laboratories on the verification of nuclear disarmament before the next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2010, what (a) date has been set and (b) practical arrangements have been made for the meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: In my offer to host a P5 conference between the laboratories of the nuclear weapon states, I proposed that it should take place within the current NPT review cycle ending in 2010. My intention remains that this should be a P5 conference hosted by the UK rather than a UK conference to which the P5 partners are invited. We are actively engaging with our P5 partners to ensure that this conference will also meet their requirements in terms of timing and content. I will keep the House informed of progress.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is responsible for filling the specific requirements of NATO operations. However, we lobby regularly, most recently at the Bucharest summit, for allies to commit more troops to Afghanistan. We also continue to press for reform within NATO to allow the organisation to deal better with the requirements of current operations.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in what circumstances and under what authority local authorities may (a) withdraw and (b) place conditions on permitted development rights for mobile phone masts permitted under a general permitted development order; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local planning authorities can make a direction seeking the withdrawal of permitted development rights under article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (the GPDO) where they are satisfied that it is expedient that development should not be carried out unless permission is granted for it on application.
A direction made in respect of electronic communications code operators apparatus will require the approval of the Secretary of State, who may approve the direction with or without modifications under article 5 of the GPDO. Planning Policy Guidance Note 8: Telecommunications sets out the policy on removing permitted development rights granted under part 24.
The permitted development rights contained in part 24 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 grant planning permission for a range of electronic communications developments subject to a number of conditions and limitations. The conditions limiting the use of these rights are set out within the order, including the need to apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required to the siting and appearance of the development, in certain cases.
In the Governments view, there is an implicit power to attach conditions to the approval of the details of the siting and appearance of the proposed development. The use of such conditions should not be attached as a matter of course, should be confined to matters relating to siting and appearance, and should only be used in exceptional circumstances.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many times Ministers in her Department have visited (a) commercial leisure organisations, (b) licensed bingo clubs and (c) dance schools in each year since 2003. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of her Department's employees are (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The numbers and proportions of staff in the various demographic groups are as listed in the following table. These figures are correct as at 30 April 2008 and exclude staff in our executive agencies and Communities staff working in the Government office network. Ethnicity, disability and sexuality are reported on a voluntary basis and are known for around 73 per cent. of staff. For these factors the given proportions are based on these known populations.
|Number of employees||( 1) Proportion of known population (percentage)|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1392W, on departmental overseas visits, what the (a) country of destination and (b) purpose was of each visit, excluding those to Brussels and Strasbourg. 
|Destination||Number of trips|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1392W, on departmental overseas visits, what the cost of the overseas visits was. 
362 European visits total£79,267
26 rest of the world visits total£72,633
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of employees in her Department who received a performance-related bonus at their last appraisal were (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The following table gives the numbers receiving annual performance-related bonuses in the various demographic groups. These figures refer to the performance year 2006-07, which is the last year for which figures are available. They exclude staff in our executive agencies and Communities staff working in the Government office network. Ethnicity, disability and sexuality are reported on a voluntary basis and are known for around 60 per cent. of staff who received a bonus. For these factors the given proportions are based on these known populations.
|Number receiving a bonus||Proportion of bonus recipients (percentage)|
|(1) Based on known population|
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of (a) the research on return path capability among the elderly and (b) the draft return path costed option annex referred to in the minutes of the Emerging Technologies Group meeting on 27 February in relation to the digital switchover assistance scheme. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department has not commissioned specific research on the usage of services by the elderly that are provided through a set top box with a return path. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 20 May 2008, Official Report, column 265W.
The Department has explored with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport the opportunities of providing return path functionality for recipients of the digital switchover Help Scheme, and the meeting of the Emerging Technologies Group formed part of the discussion on this issue. The minutes of that meeting refer to a draft costed option annex which the Department agreed to provide to the group following the meeting to illustrate what could be asked of industry. A copy of the costed option annex will be placed in the Library. Two paragraphs have been redacted to avoid the risk that the document gives the misleading impression that this is a real invitation to industry to tender for this work.
Mr. Iain Wright: There are 87,159 empty properties across London, of which 69,485 are privately owned. Of these privately owned empty properties, 27,437 have been empty for longer than six months. It is important to draw a distinction between properties that have been left empty for less than six months and those that are vacant for longer, as properties empty for less than six months are most likely to be transactional vacancies which are a natural function of any housing market.
We recognise the problems caused by the high number of long-term empty properties and continue to encourage local authorities to put measures in place to reduce this number, supported by the legislation that we introduced in the Housing Act 2004 which has given councils the powers to apply to make an Empty Dwelling Management Order in respect of properties that have been vacant for over six months. When an Empty Dwelling Management Order has been made, a council takes over management responsibility for that property, which includes ensuring that it becomes occupied.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|