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Mr. Iain Wright: Under the Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, there is a duty on local authorities (except for inner London boroughs) to provide allotments where there is demand for them in their area. If a local authority is of the opinion that there is such a demand, they are required to provide a sufficient number of allotments for letting to persons residing in the area who want them.
Where representations have been received by any six registered parliamentary electors or persons liable to pay council tax, it is the duty of local authorities to take those representations into consideration when assessing demand.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 614W, on apprentices, what progress has been made on increasing the number of apprentices in her Department; and how many apprentices her Department employs. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the likelihood of all council housing meeting the Decent Homes Standard by 2010. 
Mr. Iain Wright: On 22 January 2008 we published the Local Authority Housing Statistics, England 2007-08. This reported that local authorities reported that 150,000 dwellings will remain non-decent by 1 April 2011.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Onger of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 533W, on council tax, what methodology her Department used to calculate the average parish council tax precept of £45 on Band D, as referred to in the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1169W, on council tax; and if she will use the same methodology to calculate a figure for 2008-09. 
John Healey: The methodology used to estimate the average Band D parish council tax precept is based on assumptions set out in local government financial statistics England, as referred to in the answer of 2 June 2008.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any datasets held by her Department and its agencies have been processed by contractors operating outside the European economic area in the last three years. 
Mr. Khan: The Department's agencies (the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, the Fire Service College and the Planning Inspectorate) do not have datasets that have been processed by contractors operating outside the European economic area. The Department does hold information on personal data falling into that category for 2008 and has one dataset backed-up in the USA. Information on non-personal datasets or for the years 2006 and 2007 is not held centrally and cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff in her Department were disciplined for (a) bullying and (b) harassment of colleagues in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. 
Mr. Khan: Members of the principal civil service pension scheme receive an annual benefit statement showing the pension built up to date, and also a projection of their pension on retirement if they continue in service to scheme pension age. The benefit statement prompts the member to consider boosting their pension and provides details of the civil service pensions website where staff can obtain further information, including options for making additional voluntary contributions and a calculator to work out costs for added pension (previously added years).
Cabinet Office provides leaflets that explain added pension and additional voluntary contributions for members. The information is also available in scheme booklets. These are available on the civil service pensions website or on request from the members pension administrator.
The departmental staff handbook also lists pension publications available on the civil service pensions website and provides contact details for the Departments pension provider where further pension advice can be obtained.
From time to time the Department places news items relating to different aspects of the civil service pension scheme on the intranet. In June 2007 and November 2007 news items were made announcing the launch of the new added pension scheme from 1 March 2008.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 304W, on departmental procurement, what the purpose of the expenditure on LLM Communications was; and what goods or services were purchased. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 303W, on departmental procurement, what the purpose was of the expenditure incurred by the Deputy Prime Ministers Office in respect of (a) Oddbins, (b) BMI Health Screening, (c) RAF Northolt, (d) Ecovert FM Ltd. and (e) Apollo Photographers Ltd. 
Mr. Khan: Oddbins sold beverages, BMI Health Screening arranged vaccinations for officials to travel abroad on business, RAF Northolt is the base of 32 Squadron which recharges for flights used on official travel, Ecovert FM was responsible for building services where DPMO was located, and Apollo were photographers employed to help with the production of DPMOs annual report. All DPMO expenditure was made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 23 June 2008, Official Report, column 24W, on departmental procurement, how much expenditure was incurred on each organisation listed in the chart in 2007-08, based on purchase order data held in the departmental financial system. 
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which of the public appointments for which her Department is responsible are due to be ( a) renewed and (b) filled in the next 24 months; what the (i) remit, (ii) salary, (iii) political restriction, (iv) eligibility requirement and (v) timetable for each appointment is; and what records her Department keeps in respect of such appointments. 
The process for making a public appointment, including guidance on political activity and eligibility criteria, follows the Cabinet Office publication 'Making and Managing Public Appointments. For appointments regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, the appointments process also complies with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies. Copies are in the Libraries of the House.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether blank advertising hoardings qualify for the empty property business rate relief for rateable values under £15,000. 
John Healey: Empty property rates apply where a property is unoccupied and those properties that are not liable for empty property rates are set out in section 4 of the Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (England) Regulations 2008.
Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons her Department declined to accept an extension on spending deadlines for England for European structural funding in England; what estimate she has made of the amount of money under such structural funding provisions for England unspent as at 31 December 2008; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: Government took into account views from the regions, including on the extent to which any additional resources resulting from programme extension could be used given the lack of flexibility in the ECs offer of extension, and decided that there was insufficient benefit to justify changing existing spending plans.
The 2000-06 ERDF programmes have so far recorded spend of over €5 billion. There are over 2,900 ERDF grant claims being processed in our systems and more are expected as projects make their final claims for grant. Until these claims are processed and paid we will not have a final spend position but expect it to show successful take up of the available fundsat least equal to previous rounds of ERDF.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department expects to spend on consultancy services for FireControl in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. 
Mr. Khan: National project costs are set out in the FireControl Business Case Part 2The National Case, copies of which are available in the House Library. The Department is expecting to spend the following on consultancy services:
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) grant allocations and (b) other funding her Department (i) has paid and (ii) plans to pay to each fire authority in each region during each year of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review period. 
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) revenue support, (b) capital grant and (c) supported borrowing funding central Government has paid to (i) Kent County Council, (ii) Thanet District Council and (iii) Dover District Council in 2008-09; and how much is planned in each case for 2009-10. 
Mr. Khan: The following tables set out the amounts of (a) revenue payments (b) capital grants which this Department plans to make (i) Kent county council, (ii) Thanet district council and (iii) Dover district council in 2008- 09 and 2009-10.
|Financial year 2008-09|
|Kent CC||Thanet DC||Dover DC||Total|
|Financial year 2009-10|
|Kent CC||Thanet DC||Dover DC||Total|
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