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11 Dec 2008 : Column 245Wcontinued
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Government's policy is, with reference to its policies on community cohesion, on encouraging those who have settled in the UK in the last 30 years to learn English. 
Mr. Khan: The Government believe that the ability to speak and write English is vital to integrating into British society and to improving equality of opportunity. Language skills help people get on in the workplace and make a contribution to their local community. Migrants who have a good level of English are employed at a higher level, are able to work safely and confidently in their jobs, find it easier to integrate into society; and are aware of the unwritten rules of behaviour. We are therefore promoting the learning of English through the immigration and citizenship process and the provision of English language classes.
Government have taken the following steps to encourage immigrants to learn English:
In December 2007, we published Guidance on Translation for local authorities. The guidance spreads existing good practice, which ensures that translation is only provided where it is necessary and acts as a stepping stone to speaking English.
The Home Office Green Paper on citizenship (published 20 February 2008) considers that it is right to allow ESOL further education courses at the home rate in order that migrants can acquire key skills needed for good community cohesion.
Funding changes for ESOL provision were introduced last August to improve accessibility for the most vulnerable learners, with those who can afford to pay for English classes currently contributing up to 37.5 per cent.
In October 2007 DIUS launched a new suite of ESOL for work qualifications. The new qualifications are shorter and more work-focused than traditional ESOL qualifications, giving learners practical English skills in essential workplace matters, such as health and safety and customer service. These provide more flexibility and choice for employers, agencies and learners. Employers should share responsibility for supporting employees with ESOL needs.
The DIUS consultation on ESOL earlier this year set out an approach to ESOL funding centred on integration and community cohesion outcomes, and placing the assessment of need at a local level. DIUS are currently developing more detailed proposals for future ESOL funding on the basis of the consultation response.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-7W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) her Department and (b) computers in the offices of (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. 
To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on Communities and Local Governments internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available188.8.131.52
and 184.108.40.206. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government Secure Intranet.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many individuals have worked in her Department on (a) paid and (b) unpaid work experience or internships in each of the last three years; on average how many hours a week were worked by such people in each year; what types of work each was involved in; what proportion were in full-time education; what proportion did not complete their set period of work experience; and how much those who received remuneration were paid on average per week in each year. 
Mr. Khan: 28 individuals have worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government on paid summer placements over the past three years. Individuals on summer placements are a mixture of undergraduates and recent graduates and work in a variety of posts across the Department. They are contracted to work 36 hours per week and are placed on the minimum executive officer salary, currently £24,461, which is paid pro rata for the duration of the placement. Of the 10 individuals who joined the Department in summer 2008 two did not complete their placements.
The Department does not keep a central record of how many individuals have undertaken unpaid work experience as this information is held locally by divisions.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on what contribution she expects to be made to the delivery of the eco-towns programme by the Environmental and Sustainability Standard 2008 issued by the Building Research Establishment. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We have set out the high standards that eco-towns must meet in the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS), which was published on 4 November 2008.
We are currently consulting on the draft PPS and want to hear views about whether these are the right standards. The BRE's standard is an issue that we would expect might be raised as part of this consultation, and which we would then consider in our analysis of the consultation responses before finalising the PPS.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has with regard to future funding of the Elevate East Lancashire housing renewal area; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Future allocations to 2010-11 for housing market renewal areas, including Elevate East Lancashire, were announced in the House on 28 February
2008. These amounts are currently indicative and may change by up to plus or minus 10 per cent. We hope to announce final allocations shortly.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what cost estimate her Department based its plans for the administration of each regional fire control centre between the date to which it became operational and the date on which the last Fire and Rescue Authority is expected to cut over to a regional control centre. 
Mr. Khan: As individual Fire and Rescue Services cut over to the Regional Control Centre they will pay their relative proportion of the total running cost, with the Department financing the remaining share until all FRSs within a region have cut over. It is for the FRAs within a region to collectively agree what their relative proportions will be.
The steady state total running cost estimates for the Regional Control Centres are currently those included in the FiReControl Business Case Part 1: the Regional Cases published in July 2008 and summarised in the following table.
|Region||Forecast RCC running cost (£000 pa)|
Copies of the Business Case Part 1 and 2 are available in the House Library or at
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) on what date each fire and rescue authority is expected to cut over to its regional control centre, broken down by (a) brigade and (b) region; 
(2) what contingency plans she has put in place for fire and rescue services to respond to the potential terrorist threat to the 2012 Olympic Games, in the event that not all fire and rescue authorities cut over to regional control centres by 2012. 
Mr. Khan: On 26 November 2008 I announced a rescheduling of the FiReControl cut over timetable. We have shared an indicative timetable with the Fire and Rescue Services and are validating the revised dates with them directly. The draft timetable, broken down by region and Fire and Rescue Service, is:
|Provisional revised FRS cutover timetable for FiReControl (November 2008)|
|FRS (by Region)||Provisional revised date( 1)|
|(1) As with any project of this nature, we will only have certainty about the timing of these later stages of the project once earlier stages have been completed successfully. We will be communicating progress on this directly with our stakeholders.|
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