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Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many employees in her Department took early retirement in each of the last five financial years; and at what total cost. 
Mr. Khan: The following table shows the number of staff who took early retirement from Communities and Local Government, and its predecessors, in the last five financial years along with the associated costs.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on employing press and communications officers in (a) her Department, (b) its non-departmental public bodies and (c) its agencies in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Khan: 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.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers have been employed by her Department in each year since its inception; and at what cost in each year. 
Mr. Khan: The Government publish on an annual basis the number and the pay bands of special advisers in each Department. I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my noble Friend, Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 22 July 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 150WS.
Mr. Khan: The Department has a contract with an external media agency (Durrants) to search for and cut relevant national newspaper items for inclusion in a daily cuttings pack. A list of keywords is made available to the agency for this purpose. This list is reviewed and updated as necessary on a regular basis. The current list used by the agency has been deposited in the Library, each keyword is accompanied by instructions that help editors only cut relevant items.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of provision of Government cars to special advisers in her Department has been in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Khan: Special advisers have no entitlement to an allocated Government car. As temporary civil servants, their travel arrangements are made in accordance with the rules and guidance set out in the Civil Service Management Code and the Departments staff handbook.
Mr. Khan: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) gave to the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond) on 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 538W.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department uses the Royal Mail as the primary company for sending its post, parcels and packages. 
Mr. Khan: With the exception of international mail, the Department for Communities and Local Government currently use Royal Mail for the majority of postal services. International mail accounts for less than 1 per cent. of all departmental post and is administered by Corporate Mailing Services (CMS) who are a private company sub-contracted to our facilities management services provider.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 3 November 2008, Official Report, columns 119-20W, and to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 303W, on departmental procurement, what payments were made to each of the individual organisations listed in the table placed in the Library during the period when the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister existed as a Government Department. 
Mr. Khan: A table has been placed in the Library showing payments made since 5 May 2006 to those organisations previously listed, in respect of expenses incurred by the Deputy Prime Ministers Office. The table shows the date on which the expenditure was recorded on the SAP accounting system.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether there has been any nugatory cost to her Department and its agencies relating to tendered procurement where the tender process has been cancelled prior to the award of the contract in the last three years. 
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department has spent on (a) focus groups and (b) opinion polls in each year since 1997-98; how much she estimates will be spent on each category in 2008-09; and if she will make a statement. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate she has made of the number of empty non-residential properties in each local authority area. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many vacant retail units there were in each principal seaside town in each year for which figures are available; and what proportion of the total retail units in each town this represents. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty properties there were in each (a) ward and (b) lower layer super output area of each principal seaside town in England in each year for which figures are available, ranked from highest to lowest (i) number of properties and (ii) percentage of total housing stock in each town. 
John Healey: Vacant dwellings statistics at ward level for 2003, 2004 and 2005 are published by the Office for National Statistics in the Housing domain of the Neighbourhood Statistics Service website and can be downloaded at.
http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/datasetList.do?JSAllowed=true&Function=&%24ph=60&Current PageId=60&step=l&CurrentTreeIndex=-1&searchString= &datasetFamilyId=l618&Next.x=10&Next.y=8
|Number of long-term empty dwellings (empty for more than six months)||Total number of empty dwellings|
Council Taxbase and Council Taxbase Supplementary (CTB1 and CTB1S) returns from local authorities.
Those dwellings vacant for less than six months are more likely to be empty for a short period following a sale and are seen as transactional vacant dwellings and are thus a characteristic of the housing market.
Mr. Khan: Our current assumption is that the first three Regional Control Centres in the North East, East Midlands and South West will cut-over in summer 2010 and that the full system will be in place by spring 2012.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the latest Part 1 business case for FiReControl, what the (a) current control room costs and (b) forecast regional control centre running costs are in each government office region in estimated cash prices during the periods in which the control rooms will go live. 
Current control room costs and forecast RCC running costs are detailed in the following table. Where a region is forecast to incur a net cost,
Communities and Local Government has committed to making a resilience payment.
|Current control room costs||Forecast RCC running costs||Cost/saving||Resilience payment|
1. All figures in financial year 2006-07 prices
2. Resilience payments subject to periodic review
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