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Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what sanctions are available in cases of departmental staff found to have committed disciplinary offences; and how many times each has been used in each of the last three years. 
(a) written reprimand,
(b) suspension from duty for a specified period including where appropriate loss of pay (either wholly or in part),
(c) withholding performance related pay increases for a specified period (either wholly or in part),
(d) a ban on promotion, normally for a specified period,
(e) restitution (in whole or in part) by deductions from pay or otherwise for any loss of public funds caused by a breach or breaches of discipline, or for damage to, or theft of, departmental property caused by an employee,
(f) deductions from pay for any period of unauthorised absence from duty,
(g) an arranged move/transfer, or,
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library copies of the assessments and reports made by her Departments press officers, or outsourced press monitoring operations, of media coverage of her Department for the last month. 
Mr. Khan: The Communications Directorate monitors media coverage of issues relevant to the Departments agenda on a daily basis and provides short, informal summaries of coverage to Ministers and departmental officials as appropriate. It also subscribes to a number of external newspaper cutting and broadcast monitoring services.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which organisations provided media monitoring services to (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental public bodies it sponsors in each of the last three years; and what the cost of each such contract was. 
|Organisation||FY 2005-06||FY 2006-07||FY 2007-08||Total|
In addition to the aforementioned, the Department had an ongoing service agreement with the Central Office of Information for the provision of a range of regional media services, including regional print/broadcast news media monitoring. A break-down of costs specifically related to media monitoring provided by the COI during this period is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.
Information about media monitoring services provided to the Departments agencies and the non-departmental public bodies which it sponsors is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what projects her Department is undertaking through the Development of English Regions programme; and what the budget of each is. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made, and what legal advice it has commissioned, on the compatibility of her Departments promotion of the eco-town programme and specific sites with its role in the planning process for such sites. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In the event that any planning decisions on eco-towns are referred to the Secretary of State they will be dealt with under the published guidance on planning propriety issues. In line with that guidance we have already made it clear that the Minister for Housing and Planning would not be involved in such decisions.
Mr. Iain Wright: The eco-towns policy has been developed alongside our housing policies. The costs for developing the policy form part of the Department's running costs and are set out in the departmental annual report, Community, opportunity, prosperity. Future allocations to support infrastructure and local authority expenditure in relation to any of the sites will be drawn from the growth funding made available in CSR07.
Mr. Iain Wright: Housing projects will not be consented under the new regime being established under the Planning Bill for the determination of nationally significant infrastructure projects; there will not be a national policy statement on eco-towns.
However we expect to publish shortly a draft eco-towns planning policy statement on the standards that eco-towns will have to meet alongside a sustainability appraisal, which will set out more details about assessing the possible locations.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the whole-programme timetable for the consultations in relation to eco-towns planning and development plans is. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Until decisions on the final shortlist of locations with potential to be an eco-town have been made it is not possible to set out the timetable as it will be dependent on locations, the position with the relevant development plans at these locations and the planning permission process.
Mr. Iain Wright: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) gave him on 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 1159W, in which she confirmed that the Curborough eco-town proposal had been withdrawn from the eco-towns programme. The location is therefore being assessed as part of the Sustainability Appraisal (SA), and this will include details about development on greenfield land. We expect to publish the SA shortly and copies will be placed in the House Library.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what funding and other resources her Department is providing to run road shows or other events to promote eco-towns; 
Mr. Iain Wright: Exhibitions and roadshows will be taking place in venues close to the locations of potential eco-towns to provide the opportunity for local communities to express views and understand more about the potential eco-town proposed in their area. The dates of these events are still under consideration, and as soon as details are available my Department will publicise the dates and locations.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 1 September 2008, Official Report, columns 1421-42W, on empty property, what the timetable for (a) information gathering and (b) the publication of the conclusions is; 
(2) pursuant to the answer of 10 September 2008, Official Report, columns 1995-96W, on non-domestic rates: empty properties, which local authorities provided information on evasion of empty property rates. 
John Healey: The Government have requested information from local authorities to provide information on evasion of empty property rates. The Government requested information in June and September and intend to request further information throughout the first year of the reforms and we will set out in an appropriate form our general findings in due course.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 15 September 2008, Official Report, column 2082W, on the English Regions Network, if she will make it her policy to cease funding the English Regions Network. 
John Healey: The consultation on the Review of Sub National Economic Development and Regeneration included proposals to remove regional planning powers from regional assemblies. We intend to publish our response to that consultation shortly.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been paid (a) by (i) employees and (ii) employers into and (b) to those receiving pensions payments by the (A) new and (B) old firefighters pension schemes in each of the last five years. 
(1) These are locally administered schemes and data are provided by fire and rescue authorities. Prior to 2003-04, these data were not collected centrally. Final audited data not yet available for 2007-08.
|2003-04||2004-05||2005-06||New FPS 2006-07||Old FPS 2006-07|
|(1) Employee contributions are 11 per cent. of pensionable pay for the 1992 firefighters pension scheme and 8.5 per cent. for the 2006 new firefighters pension scheme.|
(2) Data on employee contributions not collected centrally in 2003-04.
(3) Prior to April 2006, fire and rescue authorities were responsible for paying pensions from their operating account. Since 2006-07, employer contributions are 21.3 per cent. of pensionable pay for the 1992 firefighters pension scheme and 11 per cent. for the 2006 new firefighters pension scheme. The figures in the table also include lump sum charges in respect of ill health retirements.
(4) Excludes outward transfers to other pension schemes.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications relating to development on green belt land have been called in by her or her predecessors since 1 October 2000; and how many such applications were ultimately (a) approved and (b) rejected. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Since 1 April 2002, the Secretary of State has issued decisions on 31 called-in planning applications relating to development on green belt land. Of these, 15 were approved and 16 were rejected. Information for the period before April 2002 is not available as the national database recording Secretary of State planning decisions was not in existence before that date.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the implementation of the conclusions of the Householder Development Consents Review. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The review recommended that it should be easier for people to improve their homes by removing the need for planning applications where development would have little impact on others. We implemented changes to householder permitted development rights, in response to these recommendations, on 1 October.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of her Departments research entitled Impact of Demographic Change on Housing, with project reference: RAE 3/16/16. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The report from this research project is entitled Housing Choices and Aspirations of Older People, and was published on the Communities and Local Government website in February 2008. I have placed a copy of this report in the Library.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will review provisions in the Land Compensation Act 1961 relating to the rebuilding of houses destroyed by Second World War ordnance following the recent Court of Appeal ruling in Greenweb Ltd. v. Wandsworth Borough Council  WLR (D), 286, with particular reference to the recommendations of the Law Commission on sections 15(3) and (4) of that Act. 
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