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Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to answer Question 246259, tabled on 17 December, on the survey of the UKs reputation in the US, China and India. 
Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Departments budget for scientific advice and research is in 2008-09; for what purposes the equivalent budget for 2007-08 was used; and how many people employed in her Department have a science or engineering degree. 
Mr. Khan: The Departments budget for scientific advice and research (we have taken this question to include economic and social research), in 2008-09 is £27.2 million. In 2007-08, the equivalent spend was £24.9 million. The purposes for which this spend was used cover hundreds of individual projects. We do however maintain details of research projects commissioned by Communities and Local Government (and its predecessors), which is available from our research database (RD) at:
This database provides information on projects commissioned by Communities and Local Government and predecessor Departments going back to 30 November 2001. This includes the subject and cost of each research contract.
The Department does not maintain records of those staff who hold a science or engineering degree. To gather this information would involve a Department-wide survey and would incur disproportionate costs in terms of staff time.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty homes there were in South Bedfordshire at the most recent date of counting; and what number of these homes were empty on a long-term basis. 
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the change in the number of dedicated fire safety officers has been since the coming into effect of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 
Mr. Khan: It is for individual fire and rescue authorities to plan and resource the delivery of their audit and enforcement responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. We do not collect this information centrally.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has provided to local fire authorities on standards for implementing the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 
Mr. Khan: To help responsible persons comply with the provisions of the order, my Department has made available a suite of fire safety risk assessment documents to explain the risk assessment process and offer detailed advice on what technical fire precautions are likely to deliver an acceptable level of fire safety. While the order is non-prescriptive the guidance refers, where appropriate, to British Standards and standards provided by other bodies.
This guidance is not aimed at FRAs directly. However, we expect them to have regard to its availability as a tool to assist responsible persons in discharging their duties under the order. The extent to which individual premises comply with the provisions of the order by delivering an adequate level of fire safety to minimise the risk to life in the event of a fire is a matter of professional judgment based on an appropriate level of technical fire safety expertise.
The figures for affordable housing starts are from P2 house building returns to CLG from local authorities, and the National House Building Council building control figures. The tenure of the dwelling may not be known when starts are recorded, as some RSL starts may be recorded as private enterprise on the P2 returns.
PSA20 indicator 3 measures gross affordable housing supply, using housing completions and acquisitions figures. Figures showing the number of affordable homes provided (completions and acquisitions) each year are shown in live tables 1000 to 1009 on the CLG website.
|Affordable homes started in each London borough since 2005|
|Starts 2005-06||Starts 2006-07||Starts 2007-08|
|London boroughs||Registered social landlords||Local authorities||Total affordable homes||Registered social landlords||Local authorities||Total affordable homes||Registered social landlords||Local authorities||Total affordable homes|
|(1 )Incomplete data.|
Figures for starts are as reported by local authorities and the National House-Building Council; no figure is given where a borough has one or more missing quarterly returns as the full level of house building activity in the local area is not known.
Source: Local authority P2 monthly and quarterly house building and National House-Building Council returns submitted to CLG.
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