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Nuneaton and Bedworth
Oadby and Wigston
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, whether changes were made to the text of the written statement published on her Department's website after its initial publication online. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 15 October 2008, Official Report, column 1322W, on housing: valuation, whether a material change to a domestic dwelling because of a new state of disrepair may result in a change to the potential valuation of a dwelling for business rates (a) prior to and (b) during the 2010 revaluation. 
John Healey: Domestic dwellings are not liable for business rates. A composite dwelling forms part of a domestic and non-domestic occupation, but the domestic dwelling value apportionment is banded for council tax, while the non-domestic element will appear in a rating list. All domestic dwellings, whether composite or not, are subject to the assumption they are in reasonable repair, thus a state of disrepair to the dwelling would not affect the band. This will apply to situations (a) and (b).
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on night time street lighting and efficiency savings. 
John Healey: No guidance has been issued to local authorities by the Department that specifically deals with the achievement of efficiency gains by switching off street lights at night. The Department has issued general guidance to councils on the measurement of efficiencies; the current version of this guidance is available at:
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) remit and (b) specification is of her Department's research project into unitary and pathfinder councils; and which body is undertaking the research. 
John Healey: The Department has commissioned an evaluation of unitary and pathfinder local authorities being implemented following an invitation to local authorities to make proposals for their area alongside the October 2006 Local Government White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities (Cm6939-1). An overview of the evaluation brief has been placed in the Library of the House. Following a competitive tender, a consortium comprising PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Office for Public Management and Cardiff Business School is undertaking the first stage of the evaluation.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effects of the Central-Local Concordat on local government since its introduction. 
the signing of 150 local area agreements across all of England in June 2008, which means that councils and their partners can concentrate their efforts on the specific needs of the local people they serve;
reducing the national indicators to a single set of 189 covering all the priority outcomes for which local authorities and their partners will be responsible for to Government. Each local area agreement has up to 35 of these agreed as priorities. This will reduce the reporting burden on local government;
implementing, as approved by Parliament, the proposals from local government for nine unitary councils which will be fully up and running from 1 April 2009;
the passing of the Sustainable Communities Act in October 2007 as a way of empowering councils and citizens to shape their communities in the way that best suits their needs;
the devolution of parish governance arrangements in February this year and proposals for devolving certain byelaw powers;
greater financial flexibility in relation to providing for local decision-making on spending priorities and funding which demonstrate the Government's commitment to providing local government with additional freedom and flexibility to use the funding they have in the most appropriate way to fit their local circumstances. This has been achieved through:
the first ever three-year finance settlement which has given local government the flexibility to make longer-term plans and investments funded through an extra £8.9 billion for local government over the CSR07 period. We have announced three year individual allocations by both number and value for all specific grants where it is possible to announce them in advance;
a major change in the controls on capital spending through the introduction of the Prudential Borrowing regime which empowers councils to make the best decisions for their areas on the level of borrowing they think is affordable to support spending on capital projects;
by 2010-11, moving £5.7 billion into general grants which are not ring-fenced, to allow councils to spend money on the issues that matter most too local people;
reducing the overall amount of ring-fenced funding (excluding schools) over from 11.2 per cent. in 2008-09 to 8.0 per cent. in 2010-11;
reducing the number of specific revenue grants from 83 separate specific revenue grants that were provided in 2007-08, to 47 in 2009-10, which lifts the bureaucratic burden on councils;
the introduction of the Business Rates Supplement Bill.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which provisions of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 have not yet been brought into force. 
John Healey: Following Commencement Order No 8 which was made on 3 December 2008, the vast majority of provisions within the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 have now been commenced. These include the successful negotiations of all 150 local area agreements (LAAs) which were signed-off on 30 June 2008 and the implementation of nine new unitary councils, approved by Parliament, which is on track for 1 April 2009.
Community Governance (parishes reform)including new arrangements for appointing parish councillors. We are aiming to bring the appointment of councillors' regulations into effect in the spring.
Devolution of byelaw powers - originally listed for implementation from April 2008, the Department intends to have the provision for devolving byelaws, both in terms of local authorities being able to make certain byelaws without their needing to be confirmed by the Secretary of State, and to enforce new byelaws through Fixed Penalty Notices, in force by April 2009.
Overview and Scrutiny arrangements, incorporating the Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) powers. The Department is committed to implementing these new arrangements in an integrated package by April 2009.
John Healey: The Local Government Delivery Council has been supported through the Improvement and Development Agency since it was established in September 2007. Its objectives are set out in the relevant section of the website of that Agency at
John Healey: Performance Reward Grant is paid based upon performance against Local Area Agreement targets. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 24 June 2008, Official Report, column 265 W - 269 W and also to my announcement to the House in February 2008 of least £340m to continue this financial incentive for LAAs agreed in 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any local authority which has increased council tax revenue through reviewing or reducing the number of households entitled to council tax discounts or exemptions has sought her Department's agreement to count that increased revenue as an annual efficiency saving. 
an organisation is able to: reduce inputs for the same or improved outputs; reduce unit costs to meet increased demand; or optimise use of assets to improve outputs from them.
new sources of income or increases in the level of existing charges should not be counted.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities will be compensated under the new burdens principle for costs arising from the introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice (a) her Department and (b) the Audit Commission has given to local authorities on depositing funds with financial institutions outside (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) the European Union. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects local authorities to recover funds which they had deposited in Icelandic banks; and what proportion of those funds she expects will be recovered. 
The Governments priority has been to do everything that we can to help local authorities, along with other creditors, to get back the money which
they had deposited in the banks. HM Treasury is continuing to work closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure fair treatment for all UK depositors and creditors. The Local Government Association are co-ordinating activity on behalf of local authorities, and local authorities are representing themselves at creditors meetings.
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