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30 Jun 2008 : Column 617W—continued

Nuclear Submarines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 44W, on nuclear submarines,
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what role his Department has played in the formulation of safety plans for berths as specified under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001. [213951]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence has put in place arrangements to comply in full with the legislation as interpreted and enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (Nuclear Installations Inspectorate) as the statutory regulator to accommodate nuclear powered submarines. This includes all required consultation with, and in support of, other agencies or authorities.

Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account he has taken of the environmental effect of the decommissioning of nuclear submarines and storage of nuclear material on the west of Scotland in formulating policy, with particular regard to (a) Faslane and (b) Coulport. [212947]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The nuclear submarines that are undergoing decommissioning are currently in afloat storage at HM Naval Base Devonport, in South West England, and Rosyth Dockyard, in the East of Scotland. An assessment of the environmental effect of this afloat storage on the West of Scotland is therefore not considered necessary.

The future dismantling of these submarines, including the disposal of Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste, falls within the scope of the Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines (ISOLUS) project. The ISOLUS project expects to undertake environmental assessments in accordance with the relevant statutes. At this point in the project, environmental effects are being considered generically and not in reference to specific sites.

The MOD's management arrangements for Nuclear Materials operations, including storage, are underpinned by the statutory requirements of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 and Radioactive Substances Act 1993. These arrangements are subject to scrutiny by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and continue to be assessed as satisfactory. These arrangements apply across all relevant MOD sites including Faslane and Coulport.

Warships

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many frigates and destroyers were identified in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review as being required by the Royal Navy to fulfil their tasks; how many are in service; and how many are expected to be in service in 2012. [214172]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 26 June 2008]: The 1998 Strategic Defence Review identified a requirement for 32 destroyers and frigates. This was changed to 25 in the 2004 White Paper “Delivering Security in a Changing World, Future Capabilities (Cm 6269)”, and this remains the number presently in service. On current plans, the number of destroyers and frigates in service in 2012 will fluctuate as the Type 42 destroyers are replaced by the
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new Type 45s, though we would expect there to be between 21 and 23 ships in service during the course of that year.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) destroyers, (b) frigates and (c) submarines are available for tasking. [214362]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As of the 25 June 2008 the Royal Navy has six destroyers, 14 frigates and six submarines available for tasking. These figures are subject to daily change as a result of maintenance and operational requirements.

Leader of the House

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Maude: To ask the Leader of the House how many permanent staff within her Office are classed as (a) staff without posts and (b) part of a people action team. [215568]

Helen Goodman: None.

Members: Allowances

John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House (1) what the average annual additional costs allowance claim was in each of the last three years; [214607]

(2) how many hon. and right hon. Members have received additional payments for security costs at their second home in the last five years; [214608]

(3) how many hon. and right hon. Members claimed mortgage interest through the additional costs allowance in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many claimed the full allowance. [214609]

Helen Goodman: The average amount paid to hon. Members who have claimed the additional costs allowance (ACA) in the last three years for which information is available is as follows:

Average amount paid to hon. Members (£)

2004-05

17,805

2005-06

15,804

2006-07

19,296


The general election in May 2005 means that the number of hon. Members claiming ACA in 2005-06 included some who left the House and had entitlement to a reduced amount of ACA.

Information is not available on the costs of security measures for Members’ second homes met through the ACA. A central budget can, in certain circumstances, provide top-up funds for security measures. One Member has received an additional payment for security costs at their second home. These costs related exclusively to a constituency office located at this address.

415 Members claimed mortgage interest through the ACA in 2006-07.


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173 Members claimed the maximum additional costs allowance available in the same year.

Members: Pay

John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House how many hon. and right hon. Members receive additional salary payments for governmental responsibilities in addition to the basic salary. [214735]

Helen Goodman: In accordance with the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975 limiting the number of paid Ministers, there are 88 hon. and right hon. Members who receive additional salary payments for governmental responsibilities in addition to their basic salaries.

A full list of all Government Ministers is kept up to date on the No. 10 website

Morning Star

Mr. Maude: To ask the Leader of the House how many copies of the Morning Star publication her Office subscribes to each week; and at what cost. [215665]

Helen Goodman: None.

Communities and Local Government

Allotments

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what mechanisms exist to ensure that local authorities provide an adequate number of allotments. [213890]

Mr. Iain Wright: The provision of allotments is the responsibility of local authorities. Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 places a duty on local authorities (except for inner London boroughs) to provide sufficient allotments where they consider that there is a demand for them in their area.

Furthermore “Planning Policy Guidance, Note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation, 2002” encourages local authorities to ensure that they provide an adequate number of allotments for their community and ascertain what is sufficient for their local area. The accompanying guidance to PPG 17 advises local authorities on setting local standards.

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to ask local authorities for information on local quality and quantity provision standards for allotments as referred to in Planning and Policy Guidance Note 17. [213891]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Secretary of State does not have any plans to ask local authorities for information on the standards of provision for allotments. Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 places a duty on local authorities (except for inner London boroughs) to provide allotments where they perceive a demand for them in their area.


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Planning Policy Guidance Note 17(PPG17) encourages local authorities to assess the existing and future needs of their communities for open spaces more generally and, where appropriate, address deficiencies. It also states that authorities should allocate sites within their plans for the provision of new open spaces. PPG 17 advises local authorities to use the information gained from their assessments of needs and opportunities to set locally derived standards for the provision of open space, sports and recreation facilities in their areas.

Allotments: Finance

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make exceptional funding available for the provision of allotments. [213887]

Mr. Iain Wright: Funding for allotments is available through the financial support that all local authorities receive from central Government. It is up to local authorities to ensure that adequate funding is in place for allotments according to their local needs.

Caravan Sites: Council Tax

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 8 May 2008, Official Report, column 1092W, on travelling people: council tax, for what minimum period a caravan must be used as a residence before the Valuation Office Agency will consider that caravan to be a dwelling liable for council tax. [213578]

John Healey: No minimum period is defined by statute. It is established rating law, applicable to council tax, that a transitory occupation of land does not amount to rateable occupation. Whether the necessary permanence of occupation has been established for liability to arise will depend on the facts in each case.

Community Relations

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have held local forums on tackling extremism and Islamophobia referred to in the Preventing Violent Extremism report published in April 2007. [212935]

Mr. Dhanda: There are 16 forums against extremism and Islamophobia established and meeting, in the following local authority areas:


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Many local authorities have chosen alternative means to achieve the objective of engaging local communities in their work to tackle violent extremism locally. For example, the Southwark Parents Forum, the Government Office South West regional forum, Leeds’ Muslim Youth Forum, Haringey’s Women’s Forum, and Croydon’s Forum for Young People.

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 24 January 2008, Official Report, column 2161W, on community relations, how many peers have been accredited to work with local authorities on the Preventing Violent Extremism agenda; who the peers are; which local authorities they have visited to date; which local authorities they plan to visit in 2008-09; and if she will make a statement. [212963]

Mr. Dhanda: So far 30 peer mentors have been accredited and trained by the Improvement and Development Agency to work with local authorities on Preventing Violent Extremism. They are:

On 18 June the Improvement and Development Agency concluded a pilot review of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities. Following this, peer mentors will undertake pilot reviews of two local authorities in
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July—we will be selecting and notifying these authorities shortly. The peer mentors will conduct a further four reviews by April 2009.

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has published the best practice for different types of areas document referred to in her letter of 6 October 2007 to the Chairman of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, Darra Singh. [214767]

Mr. Dhanda: We plan to publish the first part of a cohesion delivery framework this summer. This will set out how local areas can build an understanding of the key issues for cohesion in their area and develop an action plan to reflect this local understanding. We are working with the Institute for Community Cohesion to make best practice on cohesion available on a searchable database. This will also be launched shortly.

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has set up the web-based One Stop Shop on Cohesion referred to in her letter of 6 October 2007 to the Chairman of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, Darra Singh. [214768]

Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government is supporting the Institute of Community Cohesion to implement a web-based one stop shop on cohesion, the first phase of which is due for launch at the end of July 2008. This will be an important resource for local authorities and partners as they build, and maintain, cohesive communities.


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