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24 Nov 2008 : Column 1128W—continued

Departmental Electronic Equipment

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department, its predecessor and its agencies have spent on (a) flat screen televisions, (b) DVD players and (c) stereo equipment in each of the last three years. [237436]

Mr. Khan: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost by the Department.

The Fire Service College spent the following on flat screen TVs in the last three years but has not purchased any DVD players or stereo equipment:

£

2008

1,000

2007

9,000

2006

0


The other agencies, Ordnance Survey, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the Planning Inspectorate could supply this information only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Internet

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for which Government websites her Department is responsible; how many visitors each received in the last period for which figures are available; and what the cost of maintaining each site was in that period. [235036]

Hazel Blears: For information relating to costs and visitors relating to the Department's main website:

I refer the right hon. Member to the answers given by the hon. Member for Gloucester to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 3 November 2008, Official Report, column 119W.

In addition, during the period April 2007 to March 2008, the Department maintained the websites tabled as follows:


24 Nov 2008 : Column 1129W
Website 2007-08 cost (£) 2007-08 total visitors

www.cleanersafergreener.gov.uk

14,200.00

43,442

www.homeinformationpacks.gov.uk

72,295.00

(1)

www.mcisproject.co.uk

846.00

1,112

www.iggi.gov.uk

264.00

23,284

www.tesaproject.co.uk

846.00

46,593

www.xoq83.dial.pipex.com

165.00

(1)

www.nlud.org.uk

376.00

(1)

www.spkweb.org.uk

14,100.00

177,481

www.planningportal.gov.uk

1,332,868.00

2,504,876

www.spdirectory.org.uk

414,230.00

(1)

www.info41ocal.gov.uk

(1)

596,056

(1) Not held in the format requested.

In line with the Government's Transformational Government Strategy to reduce the number of Government websites, some sites closed during the period in question. These sites are not included in the table. Where information is not held in the format required for the period in question, it could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many press officers were employed in her Department in each year since 1997-98; what the total cost was in each year; and if she will make a statement. [239115]

Mr. Khan: For press office costs, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) to the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Julia Goldsworthy) on 17 July 2008, Official Report, column 580W.

For numbers of press officers, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) on 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 14W. For our predecessor Department, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the hon. Member for Poplar and Canning Town (Jim Fitzpatrick) to the hon. Member for Sutton Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on 20 July 2005, Official Report, column 1772W.

The hon. Member may also wish to refer to the White Book, published by COL. This is available in the Library of the House and contains a listing for members of the Department's Communications Directorate. The book is updated twice yearly.

Departmental Marketing

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff in her Department are responsible for branding activity; and what the cost of employing such staff was in 2007-08. [237458]

Mr. Khan: No staff are employed full-time on branding activity.

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) her Department and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on (i) publicity and (ii) advertising in each year since her Department's inception; and if she will make a statement. [238949]


24 Nov 2008 : Column 1130W

Mr. Khan: Figures for public information campaigns in the financial year 2007-08 were published in the Department's Annual Report, which is available in the Library of the House and from the Department's website.

For figures relating to previous years, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Maidenhead, on 27 June 2007, Official Report, column 807W.

Figures for external agencies could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many full-time equivalent staff in her Department assist special advisers; and what the cost of employing such staff was in each of the last three years. [237321]

Mr. Khan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) on 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 874W.

Departmental Press Releases

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many press releases have been issued by her Department in each year since 1997-98; and if she will make a statement. [238984]

Mr. Khan: The Office of The Deputy Prime Minister was formed in May 2002. It issued the following number of press releases:

Number

May 2002 to 31 December 2002

162

1 January to 31 December 2003

283

1 January to 31 December 2004

332

1 January to 31 December 2005

287

1 January to May 2006

92


The Office of The Deputy Prime Minister was succeeded by the Department for Communities and Local Government in May 2006. It has issued the following number of press releases:

Number

May 2006 to 31 December 2006

185

1 January to 31 December 2007

266

1 January to 19 November 2008

275


Fire Services: Manpower

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firefighters per 100,000 residents there were in (a) Staffordshire and (b) the West Midlands in each year since 1997. [237328]

Mr. Khan: Information on the number of firefighters per 100,000 population in Staffordshire and West Midlands, fire service areas, is set out as follows.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 1131W
Firefighters per 100,000 population

Staffordshire West Midlands

1997-98

80

79

1998-99

81

79

1999-2000

82

79

2000-01

81

79

2001-02

83

79

2002-03

85

77

2003-04

83

77

2004-05

83

76

2005-06

79

71

2006-07

80

74

2007-08

79

75

Source:
Annual returns to Communities and Local Government

Homelessness

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps the Government have taken to assist the third sector in providing services to people who are homeless. [237207]

Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 20 November 2008]: In December 2007 we announced homelessness grant funding of at least £150 million over the next three years to support local authorities to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. They, in turn, fund the voluntary sector. In addition, we have also allocated over £50 million of homelessness grant over three years directly to the voluntary sector. This £200 million investment is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.

On 18 November we launched a new rough sleeping strategy “No One Left Out: communities ending rough sleeping” which is a 15 point action plan that sets out our vision to work with partners to end rough sleeping by 2012. This includes action to develop a community training programme for local community and faith-based groups who work with rough sleepers, to support these groups and to strengthen the skills and knowledge they need for their work. This will build on existing training resources already being delivered through the faith based and community sector.

We have also funded 258 projects through the £170 million Places of Change programme and its predecessor, which improve hostels and day centres used by rough sleepers through local authorities working in partnership with voluntary organisations.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government are taking to reduce levels of street homelessness in the west midlands. [237209]

Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 20 November 2008]: We have long recognised that the most visible form of homelessness is that of people sleeping on the streets. In 1998 the then Prime Minister set a target that by 2002 the number of rough sleepers should be reduced by at least two thirds. The target was met ahead of time and is being sustained.

Clearly there is more to be done to help those in need and to drive down rough sleeping numbers to as close to zero as possible. Therefore, on 18 November, we launched a new rough sleeping strategy “No One Left Out:
24 Nov 2008 : Column 1132W
communities ending rough sleeping” which is a 15 point action plan that sets out our vision to work with partners to end rough sleeping by 2012.

In addition, we have announced £200 million funding for local authorities and the voluntary sector over the next three years to help prevent homelessness and tackle rough sleeping. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services. We have also funded 258 projects through the £170 million Places of Change programme and its predecessor, with over £13 million invested in 16 projects in the west midlands.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will remind local authorities of their obligations to properly consider all the circumstances when people become homeless following repossession due to mortgage arrears and that a presumption of intentional homelessness is unlawful in such circumstances. [237253]

Mr. Iain Wright: We are working closely with all English local housing authorities to assist them in providing advice and assistance to households threatened with homelessness as a result of mortgage repossession, in particular to help them prepare for implementation of the new £200 million mortgage rescue scheme announced on 2 September. This includes briefing local authorities, through a series of regional summits, on their obligations under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) to households who become homeless following repossession.


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