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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average cost to a registered social landlord of maintaining a home in each age profile in 2008. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 127W, on council housing, when the Homes and Communities Agency's review of the benchmarks for high quality urban design, construction and environmental sustainability is expected to be completed. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Homes and Communities Agency's (HCA) review of standards is planned to culminate in the publication of new HCA Design and Sustainability Standards document in April 2010, in advance of application of the new standards. These new standards will apply to new national housing programmes from April 2011, on completion of the HCA's legacy National Affordable Housing programme (NAHP). Where possible, earlier implementation of the new standards will apply to new housing projects developed on HCA land where HCA is undertaking the role of developer direct.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to what (a) completed judicial review cases and (b) partial review cases involving a ministerial decision (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies have been a party in the last 36 months; and what the title and outcome of each such case was. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to page 130 of Budget 2009, what steps she plans to take in respect of local authorities which do not contribute adequately to the £600 million of additional recyclable savings required from local authorities in 2010-11. 
John Healey: The local government sector has a strong track record of delivering substantial value for money savings. Authorities are working to go further and are raising their ambition for efficiency. Both central and local government have identified more scope for increased efficiencies which will allow a further one percentage point to be added to the totals savings target in 2010-11 taking it to at least 4 per cent. This will generate an additional £600 million in savings across the sector. This money will be directly recycled within local authorities budgets to be put towards front line services and keeping council tax down.
Local authority efficiency will be measured annually by the national indicator for efficiency savings. The new comprehensive area assessment (CAA), introduced on 1 April 2009, will report on performance in each area against all the national indicators. The first CAA reports are expected to be published by the inspectorates in late November 2009.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 654W, on domestic waste, what estimate she has made of the effect on the level of performance award grant allocated to local authorities which have been set local area agreement targets in relation to national indicator 191 on residual household waste of such local authorities not meeting those targets. 
John Healey: The level of performance reward grant payable will be determined by the average level of performance achieved across all designated targets in the local area agreement, subject to a minimum threshold of 60 per cent. At this stage it is not possible to determine the precise impact on the level of reward payable of a local authority not meeting targets based upon national indicator 191. The impact will depend upon how far short of the target an areas performance on NI 191 has actually fallen at the end of the LAA, how many designated targets were included in the LAA and the level of performance achieved across the other relevant targets.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to amend her Department's (a) investment advice to local authorities and (b) procedures for transmitting warnings about the risk profile of investments identified by the Financial Services Authority to local authorities in light of the Icelandic banking collapse. 
John Healey: Under the Local Government Act 2003, local authorities are responsible for their own investment decisions. My officials are working with the Audit Commission, CIPFA and the local authority associations to assess how the Department's investment guidance might be refined in light of the report of the Audit Commission on local authorities and Icelandic banks, and the forthcoming report from the CLG Select Committee. The Department's guidance on local government investments is available at:
The 2006 Local Government White PaperStrong and prosperous communitiesstated that single member wards offer benefits including providing
a simple, strong link between the councillor and their electorate, and giving clarity of leadership to the area, while accepting that there is no consensus on this.
We have therefore provided a permissive approach in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 that any principal council who holds whole council elections can request that the Electoral Commission directs the Boundary Committee to undertake a review for the purpose of re-warding the area with single member wards.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the likely effects on local authorities of the ruling of the Court of Appeal in the case of Joyce Slack and others v . Cumbria county council in relation to equal pay claims in the public sector. 
John Healey: Work to identify and agree priorities between the Government and Leeds and Greater Manchester will draw on recent work from the Manchester Independent Economic Review and on innovation in the Leeds city region. Proposals will include new strategy-setting powers over adult skills funding, expected to be in place within three to six months, new joint investment boards with regional development agencies, the Homes and Communities Agency and other partners to co-ordinate and align investment and the piloting of new employment programmes. Further details will be announced in the summer.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for each local authority to be inspected under the new Comprehensive Area Assessment; and whether authorities with a good or excellent rating under the previous Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime will receive fewer inspections than others. 
Mr. Khan: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and the other local public service inspectorates. I have asked the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member.
Parliamentary Question on what the timetable is for each local authority to be inspected under the new Comprehensive Area Assessment; and whether authorities with a good or excellent rating under the previous Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime will receive fewer inspections than others.
Your Parliamentary Question on the approach to inspection under the new Comprehensive Area Assessment has been passed to me for reply.
Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) took effect from 1 April 2009 and the first set of joint inspectorate reports covering each of the 152 local areas with a Local Area Agreement and all local authorities will be published in late 2009. CAA represents a fundamentally different approach to promoting better results for local people and better value for public money.
The inspections of local authorities corporate arrangements (known as corporate assessments) used as part of the former Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) framework have ceased. CAA does not require routine programmes of such inspections. Instead, the inspectorates are drawing on existing evidence and the information local authorities and their partners already use to manage their businesses to inform the new area assessment. This focuses on outcomes for local people and therefore for the first time also holds the councils partners accountable for their contribution.
Such routine inspection of local authorities as remains relates primarily to specific services for vulnerable people where the inherent risk is high (e.g. Ofsteds new approach to inspecting child protection arrangements and inspections of youth offending teams led by HMI Probations). Any other inspections involving local authorities will only be triggered where a specific risk or concern has been identified. The total cost of inspection work involving local authorities has reduced by a third from 2003/04 to 2008/09.
The Audit commission will play a new coordinating role for all remaining inspection involving local authorities to ensure that it is risk based and proportionate. Authorities previously assessed as good or excellent (or three or four stars) under CPA, and who are able to demonstrate continued high performance and a strong contribution to positive outcomes for their locality will continue to receive fewer inspections than others.
I trust this information is helpful.
A copy of this letter will be placed in Hansard.
John Healey: The INSPIRE Directive has limited direct application to the Valuation Office Agency. However, the Agency keeps itself informed about the application of the directive and has had dealings with bodies concerned with the directive, including the UK location council.
Mr. Iain Wright: The written ministerial statement I have made today announced the Government's intention to transfer the jurisdiction on appeals and applications under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 from county courts to Residential Property Tribunals. It is the intention to bring into force the Residential Property Tribunal's jurisdiction at the earliest opportunity.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities will be refunded under the new burdens principle for the cost of rebilling firms which defer 60 per cent. of their business rate increases in 2009. 
John Healey: As set out in a Business Rates Information Letter from 31 March 2009, which was provided to all Billing Authorities in England, any net additional costs to local government as a whole arising from the business rates deferral scheme will be fully funded under the new burdens principle.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will use her powers under the Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007 to reintroduce the pre-April 2008 regime of empty property business rate relief. 
John Healey: In the 2008 pre-Budget-report, the Government announced a temporary measure for the 2009-10 business rates year, raising the threshold at which rates on empty property become liable from £2,200 to £15,000. Seventy per cent. of properties have a rateable value below £15,000, and if empty, will benefit from this measure.
The Government have no current plans to make further changes to empty property rate relief introduced from 1 April 2008. However, as with all taxes, we will keep the position under review. Decisions on taxes are a matter for the Chancellor.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable has been set for publication of the final version of her Department's planning policy statement on economic prosperity. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (sections 82-87), amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (section 28), provides for the creation of simplified planning zones (SPZs). Since
the powers were taken, we are aware of six SPZs that have been created, two of which remain in existence today. These are listed in the following tables:
|SPZs in operation|
|Other SPZs that have operated in the past|
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