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Chapter 1 of part 1 of the Housing Act 1980 (the right to buy) came into force on 8 October 1980. Between that date and 31 March 1981, 2,328 properties were sold under the scheme in England and 307 in Wales, a total of 2,635 properties.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much each county council spent on communications and marketing in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department has no central record of requests to work from home as these arrangements are made by local agreement between individual staff and their line manager. Collection of this information from individual line managers would be at disproportionate cost.
The Department is committed to improving work/life balance. It values diversity and tries to accommodate different work patterns including the use of home working where operational/business constraints permit.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average pay per hour worked by (a) permanent and (b) temporary staff in her Department in the last period for which figures are available, broken down by pay band. 
|Average pay per hour|
|Pay band||Permanent staff (£)||Temporary staff (£)|
The Departments hourly rate is calculated as annual salary (plus reckonable allowances) divided by 52 (weeks) multiplied by the net weekly conditioned hours. For the purposes of this answer, temporary staff have been defined as those employees who are directly employed by the Department for fixed period of time.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department and its predecessor spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) art and (c) new vehicles in each of the last three years. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what procedures her Department follows for checking the criminal records of employees; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: All new entrants to the Department are required to complete a Baseline Security Standard Criminal Record Declaration Form. The Department is registered with Disclosure Scotland to carry out one in five criminal record checks on our behalf and we are working towards carrying out 100 per cent. checks.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of successful applicants for jobs in her Department are subjected to a criminal records check; how many (a) successful applicants and (b) criminal records checks there were in each of the last 10 years; how many successful applicants were found to have a criminal record after a criminal records check took place in each of the last 10 years; whether the selection of successful candidates to be subjected to a criminal records check is random or targeted; and if she will make a statement. 
All new entrants to the Department are required to complete a Baseline Security Standard Criminal Record Declaration Form. The Department registered with Disclosure Scotland on 20 May 2008 to carry out random one in five criminal record checks on
our behalf and we are working towards carrying out 100 per cent. checks. 100 per cent. checks are carried out on employees in posts where national security vetting is applied.
Information on numbers of successful candidates, criminal record checks and applicants found to have a criminal record in the past 10 years is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when Chorley borough council entered into partnership with NCH for delivery of the vulnerable families scheme; and what progress has been made in identifying vulnerable families in the Chorley area under the scheme. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Vulnerable Households project is run in partnership between Chorley and South Ribble LSPs (Local Strategic Partnerships). It moved into partnership with NCH during the development phase of the project at the outset the 2007-08 financial year.
The project is currently moving into its second phase of development which is focused on identifying families for support, with the intention to identify 15 families in Chorley and another 15 in South Ribble. These families are being selected using Common Assessment Framework (CAF) methodology based on their impact on local communities and the demands which they are currently placing on public services.
Caroline Flint: Summary descriptions for each of the shortlisted eco-towns locations are set out in the consultation document, Eco-townsLiving a greener future, and further information about the schemes, including the site are available through the Department's website. Many of the shortlisted bids make significant use of previously developed (brownfield) land. However, in some cases development on greenfield land may be appropriate.
Caroline Flint [holding answer 26 June 2008]: The members of the Eco-towns Challenge were announced by press releases on 9 April and 19 May. They have expertise in sustainable development, design, environment, green living and energy and their role is to work with bidders to help them develop and improve their plans. Feedback from the panel's first round of meetings has been published on my Department's website and shows that they are challenging bidders on biodiversity and green infrastructure where they think this is an issue with the scheme.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 19 May 2008, Official Report, column 38W, on the Eco-towns Challenge Panel: political impartiality, whether the members of the panel are required to declare other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests. 
Caroline Flint: All members of the Eco-towns Challenge Panel were asked to declare pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in the shortlisted locations ahead of their participation. The panel will work with bidders to help them develop and improve their plans and have no responsibility for assessing proposalsthis will be the responsibility of Government, and Ministers will make the final decision on locations with potential to go forward as eco-towns.
Caroline Flint: Following further consultation and assessment over the summer we expect to announce the final shortlist of locations with potential to go forward as an eco-town later in the year. Schemes will then need to be taken forward into the local planning process, where they will undergo further testing and consultation.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued to emergency planning departments on the provision of fuel to essential users during times of shortage. 
Contingency plans are in place at local level to deal with fuel shortages resulting from events such as industrial action. The National Emergency Plan for Fuel (NEP-F) provides guidance to those responsible for emergency planning on the provision of fuel to essential users such as the emergency services and other essential service providers in the event of a significant disruption to fuel supplies.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether charities which own property that they lease or rent out, but do not occupy for charitable work, are liable for empty property rates when that property is empty. 
John Healey: Where the liable ratepayer of an empty property is a charity the property will be exempt from empty property rates if it appears that when next in use the property will be wholly or mainly used for a charitable purpose.
Mr. Dhanda: The role and responsibilities of the chief executive of the Fire Service College are as set out in the 2005 Framework Document. The chief executive is responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency, its overall performance and the efficiencies of its operations. As the accounting officer for the college's Trading Fund, the chief executive is responsible for ensuring that proper procedures are followed for securing the propriety and regularity of the public funds for which he or she is responsible.
Mr. Dhanda: The Department's medium-term financial strategy for the Fire Service College is to ensure that it can consistently fulfil its obligations as a trading fund to cover its costs and achieve a return of 4 per cent. on capital employed. The Department is working with the college to achieve this.
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