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Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, which individuals and organisations responded to her Department's consultation on the extension of the Mayor of London's powers and responsibilities; and if she will publish a summary of those responses. 
Mr. Iain Wright: A summary of the responses was published on the Government Office for London website in March 2008, at http://www.gos.gov.uk/gol/Planning/624901/?a=42496. See the final link on that page, Summary of responses to consultation on draft Mayor of London Order and draft Circular, which lists the organisations that responded and their responses. Question 4 of the consultation concerned proposed amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004 to give the Mayor of London power to direct changes to local development schemes. This power is now included in the 2008 Regulations. I have placed a copy of the consultation responses in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of the Millennium Dome to public funds (a) was in 2007-08 and (b) is expected to be in 2008-09; and how much the public purse received from the New Millennium Experience Company Limited in each year since the inception of the Dome. 
Mr. Iain Wright: English Partnerships, the national regeneration agency, were responsible for the costs for staff and the maintenance and management of the millennium dome from July 2001 until the opening of the arena in June 2007. During the 2007-08 financial year the amount spent by English Partnerships was £205,000. English Partnerships handed over full responsibility for the dome (now the O2) to Anschutz Entertainment Group in June 2007, when the arena inside the former millennium dome was completed. No further costs were incurred by EP in 2008-09, therefore the amount spent from public funds in 2008-09 is nil.
The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) was the company set up to run the millennium exhibition in the dome. Following the end of the exhibition, it was placed in voluntary, solvent liquidation in December 2001. The public purse did not receive any money from the New Millennium Experience Company Limited.
However, because of the structure of the deal for the continued regeneration of the site, the Government expects a substantial return from the development of the land around the O2 and will also receive a share of the profits arising from the successful operation of the O2.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 20 June 2008, Official Report, column 63WS, on a correction to a
parliamentary Question, in what circumstances her Department opts to correct an answer given to a parliamentary Question by means of (a) a Written Ministerial Statement and (b) a Ministerial Correction. 
Mr. Khan: Corrections to answers given to parliamentary questions are made in accordance with the guidance issued to Departments by my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House on 18 October 2007, Official Report, column 56WS.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has made an estimate of the number of families which are more than three months in arrears with mortgage payments in (a) Cumbria and (b) Copeland. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Information on mortgages which are more than three months in arrears with payments is only available for the United Kingdom as a whole and is collected independently by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This data are available on their website at
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of housing repossessions; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: On 2 September, the Government set out a package of measures to help the housing market, including a £200 million mortgage rescue scheme, which will help up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households facing repossession over the next two years.
In addition, the Government recently strengthened the £560 million advice network for home owners at risk of repossession, by extending free legal representation at county courts, expanding the National Housing Advice Service to provide a new comprehensive debt advice service, and increasing specialist training for citizens advice bureau staff and local authorities on debt advice.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the speech by the Minister for Local Government to the Local Government Association conference on 2 July 2008, why the introduction of multi-area agreements is not a policy for cities. 
Any group of two or more top-tier (county) or unitary local authorities in England can enter a multi-area agreement (MAA). An MAA is a voluntary agreement between two or more top-tier or unitary local authorities, their partners (including district
councils) and Government to achieve certain collective targets to improve economic prosperity in their local area. The first seven MAAs were signed in July and include a wide representation of urban and rural areas and different tiers of Government from across the English regions.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a residential house may be used as a house of multiple occupation involving five or more residents without planning permission. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) is intended to be a deregulatory mechanism which removes the need for planning permission between certain specified uses by grouping into classes land uses which have similar implications for local amenity. The Use Classes Order defines dwelling houses under the C3 use class as houses used by a single person, any number of persons living together as a family, or by no more than six people living together as a single household.
The current definition of a dwelling house implies that up to six people living together as a single household should not, prima facie, be considered as a HMO. However local planning authorities may determine individual cases on the basis of fact and degree and may decide that dwellings with fewer than six people living together other than as a single household constitute a HMO.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers local authorities have to enter private properties which are subject to (a) discretionary and (b) mandatory licensing of houses of multiple occupation for inspection purposes; and what are the penalties for refusing or obstructing entry. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities have the power under sections 239 and 240 of the Housing Act 2004 to enter and inspect private properties which are subject to either discretionary or mandatory HMO licensing. The penalty for obstructing entry is a criminal offence subject to a maximum fine of £2,500.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information her Department holds on the number of unlicensed houses of multiple occupation used by Castle Point Borough Council within Castle Point (a) in each of the last five years and (b) at the latest date for which information is available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not collect or hold information specifically on the number of unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). However, the Department does collect information on privately rented licensed HMOs through the Register of Licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation. As at 14 August 2008, Castle Point reported no applications for licensing of privately rented HMOs on their return for the ROLHMO data collection.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on the New Deal for Communities in each year since it was established; and what the budget is for each of the next three years. 
Between 2000-01 and 2006-07 the New Deal for Communities Programme spent a total of £1.3 billion(1). In 2007-08 over £250 million was allocated to the NDC programme but amounts spent by NDCs have not yet been confirmed through audit. As we announced on 1 July, this year we have allocated over £240 million. Indicative allocations for 2009-10 and 2010-11 total over £255 million. These amounts include monies for programme support, such as evaluation.
(1) Figures for spend are not final as audited records for a small number of NDCs are still to be completed.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the proposed minimum rateable value threshold for liability for business rate supplements will be increased in 2010 following the business rates revaluation to reflect higher average rateable values. 
John Healey: Business rate supplements: a White Paper, published in October 2007, set out the Government's intention to exempt non-domestic properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less, across England, from paying the supplement.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the increase in (a) aggregate rateable values and (b) annual revenue from the Valuation Office Agencys decision to backdate new business rate revaluations of port businesses at designated ports. 
John Healey: The estimated effect of the review of large statutory ports in England is expected to be an increase in the number of occupations separately assessed for business rates at 1 April 2005 from 1,600 to 2,000, with an increase in the aggregate rateable value from £181 million to approximately £200 million. Individual ratepayers have the right of appeal against the notices served if they believe the facts or other information on which the assessments are based are incorrect.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Valuation Office Agency decided to revalue business properties in the Port of Hull; what back-dated changes to business rates have been made as a result; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The Valuation Office Agency formally advised the port operator that a change might be needed to the rating list for properties within the Port of Hull in May 2006. This is part of a review of the rating assessments within ports to ensure, following clarification from a major rating appeal in Southampton, that properties which should be separately assessed, rather than being included in the assessment for the port operator, are consistently and correctly treated. Details of revised valuations are available on the VOA's website.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 18 June 2008, Official Report, column 988W, on non-domestic rates: valuation, on what valuation grounds the Valuation Office Agency lost the rating challenge made by representatives of the Ministry of Justice; what assessment she has made of the likely implications of the judgment for other businesses of a similar nature; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The challenges were made on various grounds. In each case the valuation officer considered any changes to the physical state of the properties and their localities, the points raised on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and, as he was satisfied that revised rateable values were proper, entered them in the rating list. Each case was considered on its individual merits and there are no wider implications apparent.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings (a) the Minister for Local Government and (b) the Minister for Housing has had with (i) non-governmental environmental organisations and (ii) non-governmental business organisations since her appointment. 
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 629W, on official hospitality: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, what the cost to the public purse of the then Deputy Prime Minister is on entertainment of the Chinese Ambassador at Mr. Cha's China Palace on 2 April 2004 was. 
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