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9 July 2008 : Column 1622W—continued

Women and Equality

Departmental Coordination

Mrs. May: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, columns 528-29W, on departmental coordination, of which cross-departmental groups the Government Equalities Office is a member. [210928]


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Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Offices supports Ministers in their work on Cabinet Subcommittees, for example attending the Domestic Affairs (Communities and Equalities), Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Economic Development Official Committee. The Government Equalities Office is also a member of several cross-departmental groups. These include the Cross Departmental Equality Board, the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) Board of Management, the Race Equality Forum and the Employment PSA Delivery Board.

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what the average cost to the Government Equalities Office was of employing a press and media officer in 2007-08. [215184]

Barbara Follett: The average monthly cost to the Government Equalities Office since its introduction on 12 October 2007 of employing a press officer and a media officer in 2007-08 was £11,801.

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many permanent staff in the Government Equalities Office are classed as (a) staff without posts and (b) part of a people action team. [215579]

Barbara Follett: None.

Departmental Planning Permission

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what (a) planning applications and (b) licensing applications the Government Equalities Office has submitted since its establishment. [215542]

Barbara Follett: No such applications have been submitted by the GEO since it was established on 12 October 2008.

Departmental Press

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much was spent by the Government Equalities Office on subscriptions for magazines, newspapers and other publications in each of the last 24 months. [215221]

Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office only subscribes to newspapers and only started doing so in May this year. The cost in that month was £45.63 and we should spend a similar amount each month.

Departmental Security

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many departmental identity cards or departmental passes have been reported lost or stolen by staff in the Government Equalities Office since its creation. [215614]


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Barbara Follett: Since the creation of the Government Equalities Office on the 12 October 2007, no ID cards or departmental passes have been reported lost or stolen by staff.

Females: Public Sector

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government has taken to encourage more black and minority ethnic women to (a) apply and (b) stand as candidates for public office. [204167]

Barbara Follett [holding answer 12 May 2008]: Government are committed to increasing women’s representation in political and public life, and recognises that black and minority ethnic women remain particularly under represented. The empowerment of black, Asian and minority ethnic women is one of the Ministers for women’s priorities announced in July 2007.

In 2002 the Government introduced legislation that allowed positive measures to be taken by political parties to increase the number of women candidates. In March 2008 we announced an extension to the period during which parties can use all-women short lists for candidate selection for local, national and European elections from 2015 to 2030.

Less than 1 per cent. of local councillors are black, Asian and minority ethnic women. To be more reflective of society this number needs to increase to around 1,000. That is why the Government have established a cross party taskforce to encourage more black, Asian and minority ethnic women to become councillors. This is chaired by Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman to sit in the House of Lords.

The taskforce will take into account the findings of the independent Councillors Commission which was set up last year by the Department of Communities and Local Government. This reported in December 2008 and made recommendations to encourage a more diverse range of people to become councillors so that communities are better represented. The Government’s response will be published in the summer.

The Department of Communities and Local Government also helps fund Operation Black Vote, an independent organisation which works to increase civic engagement by people from ethnic minority communities. Programmes run by OBV include shadowing schemes for MPs, councillors, and magistrates.

Morning Star

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many copies of the Morning Star publication the Government Equalities Office subscribes to each week; and at what cost. [215672]

Barbara Follett: The Government Equalities Office does not subscribe to the Morning Star publication.

Duchy of Lancaster

Death: Children

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many deaths of children have been attributed to (a) brain cancer and (b) leukaemia in the last three years. [216378]


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Mr. Watson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 9 July 2008:

Table 1: Deaths with an underlying cause of (a) brain cancer and (b) leukaemia,( 1 ) children aged under 16 years,( 2) England and Wales, 2004 - 06( 3)
Deaths

Brain cancer Leukaemia

2004

82

65

2005

79

54

2006

88

75

(1) The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes C71 for brain cancer and C91-C95 for leukaemia
(2) For the purposes of mortality statistics, children are defined as persons under the age of 16. Figures exclude deaths at ages under 28 days.
(3 )Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) how many (a) new builds and (b) major refurbishments were completed by his Department for a cost in excess of £0.5 million in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08 to which the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method or equivalent was applied; how many such buildings were assessed as (A) pass, (B) good, (C) very good and (D) excellent; and if he will make a statement; [213687]

(2) how many (a) new builds and (b) major refurbishments for a cost in excess of £0.5 million were completed by his Department in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08. [213715]

Mr. Watson: The Cabinet Office has not completed any new builds or major refurbishments during the period 2005-06 to 2007-08.

Departmental Retirement

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the standard retirement age in the Prime Minister’s Office is; and how many people worked beyond the standard retirement age in each of the last five years. [214137]

Mr. Watson: From 1 October 2006 the Cabinet Office, including the Prime Minister’s Office, changed its retirement age from 60 to 65 years for all grades in line with Employment Equality (Age) Regulations. The expectation is that the Department will no longer have a standard retirement age by year 2011, but this is being kept under review.

The numbers of Cabinet Office people allowed to work beyond the standard retirement age in each of the last five years were:


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Number

2003

13

2004

15

2005

16

2006

(1)15

(2)0

2007

7

(1) Up to 30 September
(2) From 1 October

Communities and Local Government

Allotments: Waiting Lists

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued to local authorities on the use of waiting lists for allotments. [214937]

Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities are responsible for keeping and managing waiting list for allotments.

In liaison with CLG, the Local Government Association revised a good practice guide, “Growing in the Community”, in March 2008. The guide advises local authorities to reduce waiting lists for allotments by promoting vacancies across local authority boundaries. A free copy was sent to all local authorities and is now available on request from the LGA.

Planning Policy guidance 17 encourages local authorities to assess the needs of their communities for a range of open spaces, and to address deficiencies. It also suggests that authorities should allocate sites within their plans for the provision of new open spaces.

PPG17 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. Local standards should include:

Approved Premises: Planning Permission

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether planning permission is required to convert a domestic dwelling into a bail hostel. [216003]

Mr. Iain Wright: It is for local planning authorities to determine in the first instance whether a material change of use has occurred or would occur, and also whether planning permission is required. These decisions need to be made on a case by case basis taking into account individual circumstances, and by reference to the Town and Country (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended).

A bail hostel with the characteristics of a residential institution and where there is provision of accommodation and care may be considered to be a class C2 use. Alternatively, a bail hostel could be regarded as ‘sui
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generis’, that is, of its own kind, if it is not considered that it could fit comfortably into any use class. In general, if a local planning authority considers a bail hostel to be within class C2 or ‘sui generis’, then planning permission would usually be required for a change of use from a domestic dwelling.

Where there is a group of people living together in a single household in a domestic dwelling, it would not necessarily be the case that a material change of use would occur simply because the residents were subject to other restrictions or controls. If the amenity impacts are consistent with those typical of a residential dwelling, it is likely that there would be no requirement for planning permission. This, however, would be for the local authorities to determine.

Co-operative Wholesale Society

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what dates meetings have taken place between Ministers and officials from her Department and representatives of the Co-operative Wholesale Society since 1 May 2005 on the development of the Co-operative Wholesale Society’s land within Harborough District; where each meeting took place; and who attended each. [216536]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 7 July 2008]: There have been no meetings between Ministers at Communities and Local Government and the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) since 1 May 2005. As part of the process for taking forward the eco-towns programme officials have met with members of CWS, who have submitted proposals for an eco-town at Pennbury (Stoughton). The majority of these meetings have been as part of the further assessment of the proposal, in particular following its shortlisting in April and along with the relevant local authorities. This includes attendance at the eco-town joint technical group meetings and also the Eco-towns Challenge Panel. As we further consult and assess the shortlisted eco-town proposals we expect these meetings to continue.

Council Housing: Finance

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities are due to receive a negative housing revenue account subsidy in 2008-09; what the level of each negative subsidy is; and how many local authority tenants there are in each of these local authorities. [215903]

Mr. Iain Wright: The data are shown in the following table. We do not collect information on the number of tenancies in each authority; the table shows the number of relevant dwellings for each authority.


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