Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will increase resources used to provide information to self-assessment taxpayers on the need for them to make timely tax returns; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Information on making timely tax returns is provided to taxpayers through a number of channels including direct mail, generation of press coverage and media advertising. The effectiveness of these communications is monitored and the resource involved kept under review.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 299W, on departmental buildings, what the cost of the refurbishment was. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what IT projects (a) her Department and (b) each of its agencies is undertaking; and what the most recent estimate of (i) the cost and (ii) the completion date of each is. 
|Communities and Local Government (including regional co-ordination unit and Government offices in the regions)
|Expected completion date
|Estimated costs (£000)
|Expected completion date
|Estimated costs (£000)
|QEII Conference Centre
|Expected completion date
|Estimated costs (£'000)
(1) A project to rebuild the Info41ocal website was approved in November 2004 at a cost of £244,000. The project was deferred for later incorporation into the Departments Website Rationalisation Project at a final cost of £400,000 on top of the £3,600,000 included above for web rationalisation.
Estimated costs are the build costs only.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she intends to take following the comments of Mr. Justice Collins in his ruling relating to the Bard Campaign v. the Secretary of State, that the Secretary of State may have disqualified herself from considering any planning applications for eco-towns because of perceived bias. 
Margaret Beckett: Any planning decisions taken by the Secretary of State will be taken in line with the published guidance on planning propriety issues. We do not accept that the Secretary of State has disqualified herself from considering any planning applications for eco-towns.
Margaret Beckett: We shall continue to work closely with the independent Empty Homes Agency to encourage local authorities to tackle empty homes in their areas. We have introduced new powers to allow local authorities to take over the management of private sector empty homes (Empty Dwelling Management Orders) where a voluntary approach is not successful. We are supporting the Empty Homes Agency's new guidance on Empty Dwelling Management Orders, and Ministers will be providing a foreword to the guidance.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of guidance issued by her Department on investments and deposits made by local authorities. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) responsibilities are and (b) budget is for the (i) London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and (ii) Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 4 November 2008]: The statutory purpose of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation is to secure the regeneration of its area. The Department has allocated it a capital budget of £120 million and a revenue budget of £19 million over the three-year period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2011.
The purpose of the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation is to regenerate the borough of Thurrock. The Department has allocated it with a capital budget of £90 million over the three-year period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2011 and a revenue budget of £17.6 million over the same period.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the procedure is for a council in a village that forms part of a borough council area to apply for parish council status. 
John Healey: The procedure for a village, or any other area, irrespective of whether it forms part of a borough is set out in part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. That procedure provides for local government electors for the area concerned to petition the principal council which, on receipt of a valid petition, must conduct a community governance review and decide, having regard to that review, whether or not to establish the parish.
Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will review planning policy regulations to ensure that they facilitate the Governments objectives relating to small-scale renewable energy schemes and the protection of green belt land in a consistent manner. 
Margaret Beckett: In our plan-led planning system, planning applications must be determined in accordance with the statutory development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The regional and local plans which form the statutory development plan should be consistent with the Governments objectives relating to small-scale renewable energy schemes and protecting green belts set out in national planning policies. Our Planning Policy Statement 22 on renewable energy makes it clear that the very special circumstances required to justify the grant of planning permission for inappropriate development in a green belt may include the wider environmental benefits associated with increased production of energy from renewable sources. Planning authorities have also been advised not to reject planning applications simply because the level of output is small.
This summers consultation on the Governments Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) has underlined the importance of a clear planning framework which provides as much certainty as possible on whether a project for renewable energy is likely to gain consent. The RES has acknowledged that with a rapidly evolving set of national policy and guidance affecting renewable energy projects, including the RES itself, it may not always be clear to local planning authorities, applicants and other users how elements of this framework come together in any given case. We have therefore said we will ensure our planning policies for renewable energy are updated quickly to reflect the new RES when in place next year.
Margaret Beckett: Whether a structure is temporary or permanent will be for the local planning authority to determine. This will ultimately be a matter of fact and degree based on a number of factors, for example, its use, permanence and size.
More generally, the status of polytunnels within the planning system was addressed in a letter the chief planner in Communities and Local Government sent to all local planning authorities on the issue of polytunnels on 25 July 2007. This is available at:
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to her Department's consultation on the review of sub-national economic development and regeneration, what the role of district councils in the regional planning process is; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The consultation on the review of sub national economic development and regeneration proposed that local authorities form a Leaders' Forum to work with the Regional Development Agency on regional strategy and that such a body should be representative for all local authorities in the respective region, including district councils. We intend to publish our response to that consultation shortly.
|Budget at main estimates 2008-09 (£ million)
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what projects her Department funds through (a) the Government Offices for the Regions and (b) regional development agencies; and what the budget for each project for 2008-09 is. 
Mr. Khan: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is directly administered by the Government offices and has a budget of £10.3 million at the main estimate 2008-09. This figure does not take account of budgetary changes to be effected at the winter supplementary estimates which are due to be published later this month.