|Annex A3: Membership of the housing and communities (HCA) expert panel
|(1) Denotes membership of more than one expert panel
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 537W, on departmental pay, who conducts the assessments of senior staff for bonuses. 
Mr. Dhanda: The process for performance assessment and differentiation for all senior civil servants is fully outlined in the SCS Performance Management Guidance 2008/09 produced by Cabinet Office and available through their website:
Under the SCS Performance Management Framework, managers may seek wider feedback from staff, peers and/or customers regarding an individual's leadership, performance management and capability building skills/behaviour. The manager and job-holder will then review individual performance against objectives, plus leadership behaviour demonstrated throughout the year. Proposed performance grouping and associated bonus recommendations are submitted to the Department's Senior Pay Committee for final moderation and ratification.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 537W, on departmental pay, how many bonuses were awarded to members of the home information pack team in 2007-08; and at what cost. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 538W, on departmental procurement, if she will place in the Library a copy of the list of names and addresses of each organisation that supplied goods or services to her Department in 2007-08, from purchase order data held in the departmental financial system. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 312W, on the index of deprivation, whether permission has been gained to publish the underlying indicators. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps the Government have taken to work with voluntary organisations to reduce levels of homelessness. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Tackling homelessness is a key priority for the Government. We hold regular meetings with voluntary organisations such as Homeless Link and Shelter to help us drive forward our homelessness agenda.
We provide significant grant funding to voluntary organisations to tackle homelessness. In December 2007 we announced homelessness grant funding of at least £150 million over the next three years 2008-11 to continue to support local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.
In addition, we have also allocated £51 million of homeless grant for the period 2008-11 directly to the voluntary sector and £79.6 million capital funding has been allocated for 2008-11 to local authorities who will work in partnership with voluntary organisations to build on the success of improving hostels and day centres.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the annual funding to the National Housing Revenue Account necessary to ensure that improvements to housing stock condition are sustainable. 
Mr. Iain Wright: This is work that is currently being taken forward in the context of our Review of Council Housing Finance. The review is due to report to Ministers in spring 2009, after which there will be a period of wider consultation on proposals.
Mr. Iain Wright: On 14 May we announced three initiatives. The first is a £100 million expansion of the open market homebuy scheme, available for new build homes only. In 2008-09 this will enable 2,500 more first time buyers to purchase a new build home of their choice on the open market under our shared equity scheme.
The second is that the Housing Corporation will be spending up to £200 million in 2008-09 on funding RSLs to purchase unsold new build stock from developers, either for social rent, or for sale to first time buyers through our homebuy low cost home ownership scheme.
Finally, we have expanded the eligibility criteria so that all first time buyers with a household income under £60,000, who could not otherwise afford to buy, will be eligible for all our homebuy products.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the research commissioned by her Department on the Evaluation of Social Homebuy Scheme for Affordable Housing (reference RAE 3/6/135); and what the cost was of the research. 
The total cost of the research was £160,877.40. This comprised a contract for £157,734.25 with the University of Birmingham to conduct the research and £3,143.12 typesetting and publication preparation costs.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials from her Department plan to attend the Beijing Olympic Games; to what purpose in each case; and what estimate she has made of the cost. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2008, Official Report, column 980W, on squatters, when her Department or its predecessors last issued guidance to (a) the police and (b) local authorities on managing squatting. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date in June 2008 she plans to publish an annual report on the Thames Gateway in June 2008; and if she will make a statement. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of Thames Gateway funding for Castle Point was allocated to (a) Canvey Island and (b) other areas of Castle Point constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support or funding Planning Aid has given to Traveller groups on (a) planning applications, (b) planning appeals and (c) High Court challenges. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Planning Aid offers support to Traveller groups on planning applications and appeals both through its casework and community planning activities. Planning Aid would normally refer cases involving a High Court challenge to organisations that specialise in supporting this process.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on the additional guidelines for seeking travel permission and aid distribution clearance put in place by the Burmese authorities on 9 June; and what representations his Department has made to the Burmese authorities on this matter. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: On 9 June the Ministry of Planning issued a new set of Guiding Principles to be followed by the UN, INGOs and NGOs in carrying out cyclone relief. The new guidance stated that all visas and permissions for internal travel and for the import and distribution of relief supplies were to be obtained through relevant line ministries, rather than centrally through the Ministry of Social Welfare. On 20 June the Government of Burma retracted the Guiding Principles and reverted to the previous system where all visas are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all travel permits by the Ministry of Social Welfare. We hope that this will be a positive move in facilitating access.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government has taken to widen accessibility to treatment for people with AIDS in developing countries. 
Gillian Merron: On 2 June the UK Government launched their updated AIDS strategy Achieving Universal Accessthe UK's strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world. The strategy sets out the UK's response to tackling HIV and AIDS in developing countries to 2015, including access to treatment. Working with others, the UK will work to reduce drug prices and increase access to more affordable and sustainable treatment over the long-term. This could yield cost efficiency savings of at least £50 million per annum, enough to fund medicines for an additional one million people every year.
The UK Government launched the Medical Transparency Alliance (MeTA) in May. By disclosing information on the price, quality and availability of medicines, MeTA will help to increase public accountability and improve access to medicines, including HIV treatment. The UK will also continue to support UNITAID, the international drugs purchase facility, to reduce the cost of HIV treatment.
Starting in 2008, the Department for International Development will support a new regional programme on Access to Medicines in Southern Africa. The programme will spend £10 million over the first three years to deliver more affordable, quality medicines and diagnostics, including for HIV and AIDS.