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29 Oct 2008 : Column 1128W—continued



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Table 2: The 20 local education authorities in 2007 with the highest proportion of the working age adult population qualified to at least NVQ Level 4 or equivalent.
Local education authority Percentage of working age population qualified to at least level 4

England

30.2

City of London

75.4

Richmond Upon Thames

58.7

Wandsworth

57.7

Westminster, City of

55.5

Hammersmith and Fulham

55.0

Camden

52.8

Kensington and Chelsea

51.0

Kingston-Upon-Thames

50.6

Lambeth

48.0

Islington

47.7

Merton

45.8

Haringey

44.4

Southwark

44.4

Wokingham

44.0

Brighton and Hove

43.8

Royal Windsor/Maidenhead

42.1

Barnet

42.1

Ealing

40.7

Surrey

40.2

Hackney

38.7

Notes:
1. The working age population is defined as males aged 19-64 and females aged 19-59.
2. Local authority is based upon individual's home postcode.
3. People are counted as being qualified at level 4 or above if they have achieved a foundation, first or higher degree, an NVQ level 4 or 5, a recognised degree-level professional qualification, an HNC/HND or other higher-level vocational or management qualification, a teaching or nursing qualification, or a diploma in higher education.
4. LEA attainment estimates are subject to revision.
Source:
January-December 2007 Annual Population Survey, England

Taxis

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much was claimed in expenses for taxi travel by officials from (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2005-06, (iii) 2004-05, (iv) 2003-04 and (v) 2002-03; and if he will make a statement. [227042]

Mr. Simon: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was created as a result of machinery of government changes in June 2007. Information on how much was claimed in expenses for taxi travel prior to this date is not held by the Department. In 2007-08 the Department spent £14,237 on taxi fares.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has a contract with a taxi firm. The amounts paid in respect of that contract in the financial years 2002-03 to 2006-07 are as follows:

UKIPO (£)

2002-03

3,916

2003-04

4,237

2004-05

3,712

2005-06

4,549

2006-07

8,461


The National Weights and Measures Laboratory make payments for taxi fares when reimbursing individual travel claims and estimates that it spends less than £50 per year on taxi fares.

The Department and the UKIPO also make payments for taxi fares when reimbursing individual travel claims, but these are not recorded separately for the years in question.

Communities and Local Government

2008 Annual Report

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration was given to making a written ministerial statement on the publication of her Department’s 2008 Annual Report. [229712]

Mr. Khan: None. There is no central requirement for a ministerial statement and it has not been our practice to make one.


29 Oct 2008 : Column 1130W

Audit Commission: Costs

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the running costs of the Audit Commission were in 2007; and what estimate has been made of such costs for 2008. [230307]

John Healey: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I will ask the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member directly. I will ensure a copy of his letter is placed in the Library of the House.

Letter from Steve Bundred, dated October 2008:

Best Value

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent by her Department on best value (a) inspection subsidies to public corporations and (b) interventions in the last year for which figures are available. [230336]

John Healey: The Audit Commission is a public corporation sponsored by Communities and Local Government, it receives grant funding from ourselves and other departments for its inspection work on best value authorities. These amounts are set out annually in the Commission’s annual accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. For 2007-08, the Commission received a total of £23.88 million from the Department under this heading.

During the same year, £2,003,924 was paid in capacity building grants directly by the Department to support improvement in poorly performing local authorities.

Buildings: Electronic Government

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government further to her Department’s plans for enabling electronic communication of building control documents, which public bodies other than local authorities (a) may and (b) will have access to this building control data, in whole or in part. [230874]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Building (Electronic Communications) Order S.I. 2008/2334 was made on 28 August 2008 and laid in Parliament on 4 September 2008. The provisions came into force on 1 October 2008. They simply enable building control bodies and competent persons to implement electronic communication capabilities and are entirely discretionary. As I indicated in my reply of 16 October 2007, Official Report, column 1024W, they in no way change access rights to building control documents held by local authorities. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) applies to all information (electronic or otherwise), held by local authorities, including building control documents, and FOI requests can be made by public bodies.


29 Oct 2008 : Column 1131W

Caravans

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Minister in her Department is responsible for policies related to (a) static caravans and (b) park homes. [230341]

Mr. Iain Wright: I am the Minister responsible for housing and planning policies within the Department relating to (a) static caravans and (b) park homes.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment her Department has made of the effects of introducing a community infrastructure levy in the current state of the property market; [230665]

(2) what assessment has been made of the effect of the community infrastructure levy on (a) house building rates and (b) the viability of brownfield regeneration projects. [230797]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Government recognise that these are challenging economic times, but believe it is appropriate for the community infrastructure levy (CIL) to be introduced in due course. The development industry agrees that CIL is the right instrument to put in place for the longer term.

As we made clear in our August policy statement, four particular features of CIL help to ensure it is fit for the full range of economic conditions.

First, local authorities will be able to decide whether the circumstances in their area make the introduction of CIL appropriate and at what level to set the charge. Local authorities will proceed at different speeds in establishing a levy and some may decide not to introduce CIL at all. This means there will not be a ‘big bang’ introduction of this instrument across the country. Rather its introduction will be gradual and local.

Secondly, if local authorities do decide to proceed with a CIL, they will need to set charges which reflect the economic circumstances of their areas, and will need to subject their CIL proposals to consultation with developers and the local community, and testing by an independent person. Chapter 3 of the August policy statement sets out the Government’s proposals for this process.

Thirdly, the Government expect that charges will need to be kept under review and revised if, for example, changes in land values led to charges becoming unviable. The Government will be considering what procedures for revision might look like, and how they can provide for appropriate levels of both flexibility and stakeholder scrutiny; and will work closely with stakeholders on these issues.

Fourthly, the Government propose that charges will be indexed against a measure of inflation, enabling wider change in costs or prices (including deflation) to be automatically reflected in charges. Charging authorities will need to make judgments about how far such automatic responsiveness can accommodate changes in the market; and when a more thorough revision of the charging schedule might be necessary.


29 Oct 2008 : Column 1132W

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the annual net change in revenue to accrue from community infrastructure levy, compared with the revenue accruing from existing section 106 regime. [230883]

Mr. Iain Wright: As the Government set out at paragraph 2.7 of its August policy statement on the community infrastructure levy (CIL), CIL will provide further new resources to support housing growth and the development of local communities. Estimates on CIL's revenue raising potential are heavily dependent on assumptions about the number of planning authorities who choose to implement a CIL and the level at which CIL is set in each area. However, the Government believe that CIL has the potential to raise hundreds of millions of pounds per year of extra funding for infrastructure.

Details of research estimating the value of planning obligations in the year 2005-06 are set out in the report “Valuing Planning Obligations in England: Update Study for 2005-06”. The report is available at:

Community Relations

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements local authorities will have to set up a tension monitoring committee or working group. [229638]

Mr. Khan: Tension monitoring is not a mandatory requirement for local authorities. “The Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion contingency planning and tension monitoring”, published on 6 May 2008, set a framework which each local authority can use to monitor local issues that may lead to tension and to put plans into operation if a problem is identified. It is the responsibility of each local authority to determine the scope of their tension monitoring and contingency planning.

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the budgets for (a) the Government Office Transformation programme, (b) the Community Empowerment Programme Board and (c) the Preventing Violent Extremism programme are for (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10, (iii) 2010-11 and (iv) 2011-12. [231266]

Mr. Khan: There is no separately allocated central budget for GO Transformation. The Regional Co-ordination Unit has a local budget of £288,500 for 2008-09 for projects planned to complete in December 2008. There are no local budgets set for future years.

The overall budget for Preventing Violent Extremism for this comprehensive spending review period, including funds to local authorities through the area based grant (ABG), is £84.5 million. £45 million is paid through the ABG to local authorities and the remaining funding supports projects on preventing violent extremism. For more detail I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave today—UIN 231265.

The budgets are set out in the following table.


29 Oct 2008 : Column 1133W
£ million
Programme 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Community Empowerment

16.0

26.5

31.3

Preventing Violent Extremism

20.5

27.5

36.5

Total

36.5

54.0

67.8


Only set budgets up to 2010-11. Budgets for 2011-12 onwards will be determined in the next spending review.

Compensation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the purpose of the compensation payments set out on page 62 of her Department’s latest resource accounts were. [230195]

Mr. Khan: In its 2007-08 resource accounts the Department has taken a provision of £3.8 million against compensation claims by staff and third parties. Most of this amount represents claims made by ex-Property Services Agency employees who have contracted lung disease because of exposure to asbestos.


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