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The building is used for a range of purposes including the testing and development of FireControl IT systems and also technical workshops which bring together Fire and Rescue personnel. It is also used for meetings of Fire and Rescue Authority elected members who are responsible for setting up and running the new Regional Control Centres. Additionally, the Regional Project Team also works out of the South West Regional Control Centre.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firefighters in England and Wales have been trained (a) at the Fire Service College and (b) in Texas in the last 36 months. 
Mr. Khan: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs statement of 17 December 2008, Official Report, columns 1098-1100. A copy of the full Government response has been placed in the Library of the House which sets out a detailed implementation plan.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average difference was between the estimated value of houses on which mortgages have been defaulted and the re-sale price of such houses following repossession in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff the Institute of Community Cohesion employs; and what funding her Department will provide to the Institute in (a) 2008-09 and (b) each of the following two years. 
Mr. Khan: The Institute of Community Cohesion is independent of Government and Communities and Local Government is not responsible for its staffing. Therefore, I am not in a position to comment on the Institute's staffing levels.
In line with its policy objectives on cohesion, in 2008-09 Communities and Local Government has provided the Institute with £223,000 of funding for a range of work aimed at helping local partners build more cohesive and integrated communities.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of the Islam and Citizenship Education project will be in (a) 2008-09 and (b) the two following years; how many staff the project employs; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: The Islam and Citizenship Education project is jointly funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The total costs of the project are as follows:
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff the Local Government Association employs; and how many of these work on issues relating to cohesion and integration. 
Mr. Khan: I do not hold the information on the number of staff the Local Government Association employs as it is a voluntary lobbying organisation acting on behalf of its members, not a government funded organisation.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have not met the 10 day invoice payment target to small and medium-sized enterprises. 
John Healey: In the pre-Budget report, in order to help businesses manage their cash flow, the Government announced that it will aim to pay its suppliers as soon as possible and within 10 days. This commitment has been adopted by a number of local authorities.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of commission structures on the quality of investment advice to local authorities, with particular reference to advice to local authorities on investment in Icelandic banks. 
John Healey: Financial advisers are regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and it is for the FSA to determine whether or not any particular firm is meeting its regulatory obligations. Local authorities are responsible for their own investment decisions and guidance issued by Communities and Local Government requires them to produce an annual investment strategy which is approved by the full council.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 1152-53W, on the Communities in Control White Paper, what steps her Department is taking to implement the proposals on voting incentives. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether retention of the status quo is a possible option for the future structure of local government in Suffolk and Norfolk. 
John Healey: Under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 it is open to the Secretary of State to decide to take no action in relation to the unitary proposals submitted to her by Ipswich borough council and Norwich city council or any alternative unitary proposals made to her by the Boundary Committee in response to her request for advice of 6 February 2008.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to include the status quo as an option in consultation on the future structure of Suffolk and Norfolk local government. 
John Healey: Before making any decisions on any alternative unitary proposals in Norfolk and Suffolk made to her by the Boundary Committee in response to her request for advice of 6 February 2008, the Secretary of State will consider all representations received during the statutory four week period, beginning with the date13 February 2009by which she has requested the Committee to provide that advice.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy that local referendums be held in Suffolk and Norfolk on the reorganisation of local government; and if she will include the option of retaining the status quo in the referendum. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what exemptions from business rates have been applied to properties damaged by the Buncefield oil storage depot explosion. 
John Healey: Following the Buncefield oil storage depot explosion, 94 properties were removed from the ratings list as a result of not being capable of beneficial occupation as a result of the Buncefield explosion, and 22 had their rateable value reduced by the Valuation Officer, resulting in these properties either not being liable for rates or having a reduced liability respectively.
I have announced that we are amending the regulations on collection and enforcement to allow back-dated rate charges to be paid over a number of years in certain circumstances, rather than being due when the bill is issued as at present.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the letter sent by her Department to local authorities on the take-up of small business rate relief. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) name and (b) address of each regional observatory is; and whether these bodies are classified as public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
The name and address of each regional observatory; and whether these bodies are classified as public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act 2000) is set out as follows:
|Region||Name||Address||Whether classified as public authorities for the purposes of the FOI Act 2000|
Intelligence East Midlands is part of Regeneration East Midlands, which is the regional centre of excellence for sustainable communities in the East Midlands. Regeneration East Midlands is a Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered Charity and does not have public authority status for the purposes of the FOI Act.
There is no formally constituted Greater London Regional Observatory. However, various organisations combine to fulfil similar functions. Discussions are under way which will seek to establish a single website linking appropriate material, and may in addition result in the establishment of a formal Regional Observatory.
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