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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the national implementation of the FireLink project; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: The project is making good progress. The existing radio communications infrastructure has been enhanced to provide a more resilient network. The project has now moved into the next phase, the provision of new digital radios into fire and rescue service appliances and cars. The installation of radio equipment is almost complete in the first region on the rollout schedule, the North East. Users have welcomed the improved clarity of the system and the better reception compared to the previous analogue networks.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which fire and rescue authorities did not meet the public service agreement sub-target of having an annual fatality rate from accidental fires in the home of no more than 1.25 times the national average in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Khan: Because of inherent fluctuations in the number of fatalities in individual Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) areas, the definition of this sub-target takes the average data across a five year period, and this runs from April 2005 to March 2010.
The comparable statistics that can be calculated now are for the five year period 2002-03 to 2006-07, and are shown in the table. However this should only be used for guidance purposes and not as a means of judging FRA performance or ability to meet PSA 3 targets.
|Fire authorities exceeding 1.25 times the national average rate of accidental dwelling fires|
|Area||Average fatality rate (per 100,000 population) based on 2002-03 to 2006-07 data|
|(1) The figure for South Yorkshire is higher than 1.25* the national average when taken to three decimal places.|
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many electrical fires occurred in (a) newly rewired and (b) newly built properties in England in each year from 1997 to 2003. 
Mr. Khan: Fire and Rescue Services in England do not collect information on property construction dates or a history of electrical maintenance in buildings when attending fires. Information on the number of building fires in each year from 1997 to 2003 started by electrics is available in the following table.
|Fires in buildings started by electrical appliances and sources of ignition, England, 1997 to 2003|
|Country and source of ignition||1997||1998||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003|
Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 1047W, on home information packs, if she will make gas safety certificates a mandatory part of home information packs where a gas supply is present. 
No. A gas safety certificate is authorised for inclusion in the HIP where one exists and the seller wishes to include it. The new property information questionnaire (PIQ) includes information on the service
history of heating systems. The PIQ will be completed by sellers and will become a required HIP document from 6 April 2009.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer from the Minister for Housing in the Communities and Local Government Committee on 23 October 2008, Q16, on home information packs, what recent discussions the Minister has had on (a) the updating of home information packs and (b) the period of validity of home information packs from the date of commission; with which authorities she has had discussions; what conclusions she has reached; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The stakeholder panel, which I chair, meets regularly to consider how to improve the home buying and selling process, including home information packs. My announcement of 8 December sets out, and makes clear how we plan to improve the content of HIPs to help realise their full potential for consumers. In particular, I have asked Ted Beardsall to convene a working group to consider local property searches. The group will consist of industry and consumer representatives and will consider consumers needs, utility and presentation of existing searches information. We will also be working with RICS and other key stakeholders to look at how to ensure consumers receive appropriate information about a propertys condition.
Margaret Beckett: The following table provides a break down of the Homes and Communities Agencys (HCA) budget. This gives the full HCA budget for 2008-09 for the reason set out in my response to the hon. Gentleman on 19 January 2009, Official Report, column 1076W.
|Planned 2008-09 budget (12 months)|
|(1) Total figures may not sum due to rounding to £ millions.|
(2) Of which £4 million is transitional costs incurred by the predecessor bodies.
(3) Net budget figures which exclude revenue and capital receipts. Revenue receipts include rent, interest receivable and non-trading revenue such as claw back. Capital receipts derive from sales of land.
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