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4 Nov 2008 : Column 337W—continued

GCSx

Parliamentary Counsel Office: Manpower

Anne Main: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff are employed by the Parliamentary Counsel Office on a (a) full-time equivalent and (b) headcount basis; and how many such staff were employed on 1 January (i) 2007 and (ii) 2008. [231783]

Mr. Watson: As at the end of September 2008 there were 83 people employed in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. This equated to 79.91 full-time equivalents.

87 people were employed in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel as at 1 January 2007. This equated to 84.42 full-time equivalents. 82 people were employed in the Office as at 1 January 2008. This equated to 81.5 full-time equivalents.


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Plain English

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much the Cabinet Office has spent on Plain English Campaign training courses in each year since 2005. [231236]

Mr. Watson: Management units across the Department arrange training to fulfil local skills needs—including for the use of plain English—with a wide range of external training providers.

Detailed information relating to training activity used by management units is not held centrally by the Department, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Voluntary Work: Young People

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage children and young people to volunteer. [232524]

Kevin Brennan: As outlined in the Third Sector Review, the Government are investing £117 million in youth volunteering through v from 2008 to 2011. This is the biggest ever investment in youth volunteering, and v has so far created around 750,000 volunteering opportunities.

The Office of the Third Sector has also provided funding in this financial year to the following organisations that provide or promote youth volunteering opportunities: Youthnet UK (£472,800), National Youth Agency (£315,200), Youth Action Network (£157,600) and the British Youth Council (£94,600).

Communities and Local Government

Architects Registration Board: Finance

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department has given to the Architects Registration Board in each of the last three years. [232682]

Margaret Beckett: None. The Architects Registration Board is funded by the registration fees paid annually by architects in the UK.

Beacon Council Advisory Panel

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) responsibilities are and (b) budget is of the Advisory Panel on Beacon Councils. [233261]

John Healey: The Independent Advisory Panel for the Beacon Scheme (constituted as a non-departmental public body) advises Ministers on the themes, the criteria for assessment and the award of Beacon status. The panel receives secretariat support, from the Improvement and Development Agency (IdeA). For 2008-09, the forecast is that the direct costs of administering the panel will be around £167,000.


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Community Allowance

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the piloting of community allowances, as referred to in the Communities in Control White Paper. [231486]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

We have always made clear that the CREATE consortium will be able to pilot the community allowance within the existing benefits and permitted work structure. We would want to see a full evaluation of the allowance and the impact on improving benefit claimants' chances of moving into work before we considered whether to introduce it more widely.

Community Relations: Islam

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to implement Recommendation 12 of the Preventing Extremism Together report of 2005 concerning the development of Muslim beacon centres around the UK at the heart of Muslim geographic concentrations. [232654]

Mr. Khan: Progress has been made in implementing 49 of the 64 recommendations in the 2005 'Preventing Extremism Together' (PET). Of the 27 that were for Government to take forward, 22 have been either completed, are under way or are being taken forward as part of other work on preventing violent extremism. Outstanding actions are being taken forward as part of the overall cross-Government Prevent strategy.

This recommendation, referring to the development of Muslim beacon centres around the UK at the heart of Muslim geographic concentrations was for Muslim communities to take forward. We remain open to the consideration of any requests for Government support in this area.

Departmental Liability

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what dates her Department informed the House of the creation of contingent liabilities relating to her Department or its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years. [232737]

Mr. Khan: Since 2003-04 the House has been informed twice yearly of the Department's and its predecessors' contingent liabilities. These were reported separately through their Main Supply Estimates and their Resource Accounts.

The Main Supply Estimates were published in April or May of each year. In 2007-08, the Department's Winter and Spring Supplementary Estimates also reported on contingent liabilities. They were published on 15 November 2007 and 20 February 2008 respectively.

The Resource Accounts were published on the dates set out in the table:


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Department Financial Year Publication dates

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Resource Accounts 2003-04

24 November 2004

Office of the Deputy Prime. Minister

Resource Accounts 2004-05

20 July 2005

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Resource Accounts 2005-06

25 July 2006

Communities and Local Government

Resource Accounts 2006-07

12 July 2007

Communities and Local Government

Resource Accounts 2007-08

21 July 2008


Elderly

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her estimate is of the number of over-80s households in (a) Eastbourne, (b) East Sussex and (c) the UK in the 2008-09 fiscal year. [231831]

Margaret Beckett: The following table shows the projected number of over-80s households in Eastbourne, East Sussex and England for mid-2008:

Over-80s households, 2008

Number (Thousand)

Eastbourne

5

East Sussex

35

England

1,690


The figures are from the Communities and Local Government Household Projections (revised 2004-based). These provide figures for England only.

Fire Services

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local fire authorities have signed up to the FireGuard contract; and if she will make a statement. [232429]

Mr. Khan: FireGuard is a collaborative procurement between 33 fire and rescue authorities to provide back- up emergency cover. We understand that no authority is currently signed up to the contract.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what arrangement has been made for the provision of fire cover in periods of industrial action in the absence of FireGuard; and which organisations will provide that cover. [232637]

Mr. Khan: The provision of fire cover during periods of industrial action is the responsibility of fire and rescue authorities. It is for them to determine the level of emergency cover they regard as appropriate.

Fire Services: Pensions

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average payment per person to members of the fire service pension scheme was in 2008. [232833]


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Mr. Khan: According to figures submitted by fire and rescue authorities, the average payment per pensioner in 2007-08 was approximately £11,200.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of active members in the firefighters’ pension scheme joined on or after 6 April 2006; and what projections she has made of how this figure will change over time. [233132]

Mr. Khan: In 2007-08, of the 34,700 active members of the firefighters’ pension schemes, 5,700 (16.4 per cent.) were members of the new firefighters’ pension scheme 2006 which came into operation on 6 April 2006. The firefighters’ pension scheme 1992 was closed to new members at that point.

It is estimated that 1,500 regular and retained firefighters will join the NFPS each year.

Home Information Packs

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will suspend the requirement for a home information pack to be procured by those selling property in order to stimulate the housing market; and if she will make a statement. [232605]

Margaret Beckett: There is no evidence to show that home information packs are contributing to the current problems with the housing market, and we have no plans to suspend them.

Housing: Evictions

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many housing benefit claimants have been (a) evicted and (b) deemed intentionally homeless as a result of rent arrears in each of the last three years. [229367]

Kitty Ussher: I have been asked to reply.

The information is not available.

Housing: Low Incomes

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the health and safety risk to social housing tenants caused by equipment installed for the purposes of illegal radio broadcasts. [232150]

Margaret Beckett: We have not made any assessment of the health and safety risk to social housing tenants caused by equipment installed for the purposes of illegal radio broadcasts.

Ofcom has extensive powers to prosecute those making illegal radio broadcasts.

Housing: Regeneration

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which local authorities took part in the first wave of the housing market renewal projects; and which authorities have expressed the intention of taking part in the second wave; [232681]


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(2) how much has been allocated to the second phase housing market renewal project area. [232683]

Margaret Beckett: The Housing Market Renewal pathfinder programme was established in 2003, with nine areas chosen for intervention, comprising the following 26 local authorities:

Birmingham/Sandwell:

East Lancashire:

Hull and East Riding:

Manchester/Salford:

Merseyside:

Newcastle/Gateshead:

North Staffordshire:

Oldham/Rochdale:

South Yorkshire:

Three areas of wider low demand were added to the programme in 2005:

Tees Valley:

West Cumbria:


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