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To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has
considered the merits of providing free professional assistance to bed and breakfast establishments in complying with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 
Mr. Khan: We have not considered providing free professional advice on complying with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to businesses in any sector. We believe that those with responsibility for the premises are best placed to understand and manage the risk from fire in their premises by carrying out and implementing the findings of a fire safety risk assessment.
To help the proprietors of bed and breakfast establishments in particular comply with their duties under the order, we have recently published a free booklet Do you have paying guests? which aims to offer straightforward and practical fire safety advice. This is in addition to the suite of technical fire safety risk assessment guidance documents, including one specifically for those involved in the provision of sleeping accommodation, which is available to download free from:
Where a responsible person feels unable to carry out their duties under the order they can ask or employ someone with greater knowledge, experience or expertise to help them. We believe it is right that businesses should pay for professional services where they deem it necessary or appropriate to use them.
|Number of RIDDOR( 1) major injuries sustained by firefighters , England 1998-2008|
|(1) Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations|
Annual returns to Communities and Local Government
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many press, marketing or public relation officers were employed by the Government Office in each region in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Khan: The Government Office Network have not employed any public relations or marketing staff but have used the services of central Departments and COI to support press announcements and public information campaigns.
|Years in which information officers employed||Government office||Staff numbers|
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people selling their homes she estimates will be required to renew their home information pack in 2009. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to her Departments press release of 15 December 2008 on Homebuy, from which such budget the extra £100 million of funding from the project will come. 
Margaret Beckett: In light of the strong response to the scheme from developers, the Government have pledged to make a further £100 million available for Homebuy direct (over and above the £300 million announced in September). This will allow the scheme to help up to 18,000 first-time buyers into home ownership (compared to the 10,000 announced in September). The precise sum that is spent on the scheme will depend on the level of take-up by first-time buyers. Any expenditure over and above the initial £300 million will be drawn from the National Affordable Housing Programme.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the likely change in the numbers of people becoming homeless in the next 12 months; what plans her Department has put in place to cope with that change; and if she will make a statement. 
We allocated over £200 million to local authorities and the voluntary sector between 2008-09 to 2010-11 to tackle homelessness effectively. The latest statutory homelessness statistics were published on 11 December 2008, and include statistics up to the July to
September quarter. This showed that local authority housing homelessness acceptances fell compared to the previous quarter and year, with 14,340 during the quarter, and the number of households placed in temporary accommodation has continued to fall, for the twelfth consecutive quarter, to 72,130 by the end of September.
We also recently announced a £200 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme to help vulnerable homeowners. This scheme is available to all local authorities and will aim to help up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households avoid the trauma of repossession over the next two years. This scheme is now operational.
Alongside this, the new Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme, which was announced in the Queens Speech, will enable households that experience a significant and temporary loss of income as a result of the economic downtown to defer a proportion of interest payments on their mortgage for up to two years. The Government will guarantee a proportion of the deferred interest payments in case the borrower defaults.
Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the funds allocated to local authorities under the local authority business growth incentive scheme will be ring-fenced for the provision of assistance to local businesses. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much local authority expenditure was provided by (a) central government, (b) council tax revenues and (c) special grants for each local authority in each of the last 12 years, broken down by region with authorities ranked in order of total expenditure. 
John Healey: I have placed in the Library of the House tables showing the details of local authority revenue expenditure funded by central Government grant including specific grants and council tax by each local authority and region in England from 1996-97 to 2007-08.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will commission a review of the (a) cost-effectiveness and (b) legal basis of the procurement process used by Essex County Council to award a contract for transformational services and delivery support. 
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will (a) intervene personally or (b) appoint an arbitrator under the provisions of Liverpool Corporation Act 1902 and the Lever Park Act 1969 to resolve the dispute over the proposed commercial development at Rivington. 
Mr. Khan: The Communities in Control White Paper set out the Governments aim to increase the number of people engaged in the running and ownership of local services and assets. More widely, the Department for Communities and Local Government has a range of policies and programmes designed to improve and increase the use of facilities for community use. These include:
£70 million Communitybuilders programme which will strengthen the resilience of a range of new and existing multi-purpose community-led organisations. These organisations provide facilities for community activities, local services and the development of community enterprise to take place.
We have established an Asset Transfer Unit, operational from January 2009, building on the work of the Advancing Assets for Communities programme, led by the Development Trust Association (DTA) and its partners.
A commitment to working with and promoting the role of social enterprises (businesses with primarily social or environmental objectives) which play a key role in empowering local communities through activities such as managing and supporting community owned assets.
Grass-roots Grants: £130 million providing small amounts of money to enable grass-roots groups to thrive and direct their energies to the particular challenges they see in their local community.
Futurebuilders: an innovative programme which provides loan and grant-based finance to support third sector organisations develop their delivery of public services.
The White Paper Communities in control: real people, real power, which was published in July 2008, was the first major government policy statement on transferring power to citizens and communities, giving people more control and influence over decisions in their local areas and promoting vibrant local democracy.
These ideas should be seen as essential for public agencies, the third sector and communities in responding to the challenges of the economic downturn.
Participatory budgeting (PB): involves local people in making decisions on the spending from public budgets. We have rolled out a national strategy setting out how the Government will achieve their ambition for PB to be used in all local authority areas by 2012. There are currently 34 pilot areas, covering a wide variety of different areas. PB exercises have so far engaged local people on spending for activities such as local environmental issues, community facilities, parks and play areas, road safety measures, and anti-crime measures.
a new duty on local councils to promote democracyputting local authorities at the forefront of the drive to reconnect people with public and political decision-making. The duty will ensure all sections of their community understands how the council works, who makes the decisions on their behalf in their neighbourhood, and how they can get involved if they wish to;
new rights for the citizen to have more information and influence over the local decisions;
new powers to hold politicians and officials to account;
a new duty on local councils to respond to petitions.
Asset Transfer Unit: The White Paper set out the Governments aim to increase the number of people engaged in the running and ownership of local services and assets. The Asset Transfer Unit opened for business in January 2009, and over the course of the year, it will:
create an interactive web-based resource detailing sources of support for organisations engaging in asset transfer;
deliver an England-wide information, advice and referral service on asset transfer to both community organisations and local authorities and other statutory bodies;
implement up to 38 local authority asset transfer projects, supported by a capital investment of £30 million from the Office of the Third Sector;
develop and introduce model asset transfer strategies in a number of local authority areas across England;
promote and refine the use of community shares and bonds issues as methods of tapping new sources of community investment and involvement in local projects.
Take Part: In order for more people to be able to participate in local decision- making, they need to have a better understanding of how local services are managed and local democracy operates. We are launching the Take Part local pathfinder programme to support people and encourage them to have the confidence to speak up and get involved.
18 pathfinders will be announced during 2009. They will operate as partnerships between local authorities and other key organisations, such as third sector bodies and educational institutions. The first eight pathfinders will offer tailored support (through learning and community leadership programmes etc.) to at least 3,400 people during 2009. More general support will also be given to the wider community, through the use of Take Part websites and other communications methods (such as newsletters) produced by the pathfinder partners and disseminated throughout the local authority area.
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