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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) his Department's officials have had with (i) HomeBuy agents, (ii) Places for People and (iii) the Co-operative on the winding-up of the Open Market HomeBuy schemes. 
John Healey: In managing and developing the Affordable Housing programme, officials from this Department and the Homes and Communities Agency have regular discussions with HomeBuy agents and equity loan providers, including about the Open Market HomeBuy scheme.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 June 2009, Official Report, column 23W, on planning, what assessment he made of the effects on local authorities of the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 on the time limits relating to planning permission. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Secretary of State's assessment is set out in the consultation stage impact assessment which forms part of the consultation document Greater Flexibility for Planning Permissions. This is available at:
Mr. Ian Austin: Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (HPDG) totals £435 million and has been approved for the period 2008 to 2011 which covers only the next two years. Funding beyond that period has not yet been agreed. HPDG is broken down per annum as follows:
A consultation on proposed changes to the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant allocation mechanism for year 2 and year 3 closed on 23 June 2009. Consideration is currently being given to the responses and a Government response will be made shortly.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Departments policy is on whether strategic environmental assessments in regional spatial strategies should be applied to (a) proposals that set development policies for specific locations and (b) reviews of green belt in specific locations. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Regional spatial strategies are required to undergo sustainability appraisals, incorporating the requirements of the European Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment. Regional spatial strategies may identify broad locations for development and include policies on the need for green belt reviews. The potential environmental effects of policies for development of broad locations, and any policies involving green belt reviews, are identified in these appraisals and taken into account in the development of the strategy. However, it would be for the local planning authorities to determine any detailed changes to green belt boundaries.
Mr. Ian Austin: Regional transport strategies presently form part of regional spatial strategies for each of the English regions outside of London. In replacing regional spatial and economic strategies, the new regional strategies will also address transport issues.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department plans to take as part of its autumn crackdown on social housing fraud, as referred to on page 19 of the Building Britains Future publication. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of social housing units which are occupied by British nationals. 
Mr. Ian Austin: There were an estimated 3,670,000 social housing units in England over the period 2006-07 and 2007-08 that were occupied by UK or Irish nationalsequivalent to 92 per cent. of all social housing.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2009, Official Report, column 1009W, on Tenant Services Authority: public relations, to what services the contract between the Tenant Services Authority and APCO relates. 
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2009, Official Report, columns 210-11W, on unitary councils: costs, what estimate has been made of (a) transition costs and (b) efficiency savings in respect of each new unitary authority; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The figures show estimates of one-off transition costs for each of the nine new unitary councils established on 1 April 2009. The table also shows estimates of savings included in the councils budgets for 2009-10 which are either directly attributable to the transition to unitary local government or facilitated by it.
|Unitary council||Transition costs||2009-10 savings|
Mr. Ian Austin: The funding to be provided by the Department to the Zero Carbon Hub will be £750,000 in each of 2009-10 and 2010-11, subject to satisfactory delivery of the Hubs business plan. Decisions on funding beyond 2010-11 will be considered as part of future spending reviews.
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of levels of (a) take-up and (b) awareness of his Department's priority treatment scheme for veterans; 
(2) on how many occasions (a) war pensioners and (b) veterans have received priority treatment in (i) Scotland, (ii) England, (iii) Wales and (iv) Northern Ireland in each year the priority treatment scheme has been in operation. 
Since 1 January 2008, all veterans have priority access to national health service secondary care for any conditions that are likely to be related to their service, subject to
the clinical needs of all patients. Data on take-up of priority treatment and numbers of priority treatment received are not collected centrally. NHS chief executives were informed of the extension of provision of priority treatment to all veterans in December 2007 (Access to Health Services for Military Veterans) and subsequently in June 2008 in a letter to strategic health authorities (SHAs) (Health Services for the Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans - Guidance for SHAs). Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library. The NHS Operating Framework published in December 2008 makes it very clear that primary care trusts and providers should be delivering this for all relevant referrals.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle is a multi-role light vehicle that can be configured as a scout, command or liaison vehicle or as a weapons platform. It will be used in a variety of roles in operational theatres as determined by operational commanders on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Royal Navy has 17 operational frigates: four Type 22s and 13 Type 23s. These are all capable of fulfilling a wide range of maritime roles from high-intensity war-fighting to peacetime patrolling. Specifically eight are configured with anti-submarine warfare and four with command and control and specialist capabilities.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The former Secretary of State for Defence met Defense Minister Hamada in February at the 45th Security Policy Conference held in Munich where they discussed, among other issues, Japan's future fighter programme plans. A Defence ministerial visit is planned for later this year which will look to further UK-Japan co-operation and bilateral defence exchanges.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution his Department makes towards hospitality expenses in respect of the funerals of members of the armed forces killed in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The MOD does not contribute specifically towards hospitality expenses in respect of funerals. When a service person (including a member of the reserve forces when on duty) dies it is MOD policy to arrange a funeral at public expense or provide funding towards the cost of a private funeral dependant upon the wishes of the next of kin. If a family chooses to have a publicly funded service funeral, a grant of £500 is paid to the next of kin or executor of the estate to help cover incidental expenses. When a family chooses to have a private funeral, a higher grant is paid towards the cost of funeral expenses. This can be up to a maximum of £2,876.00 if the family have taken responsibility for all the arrangements themselves.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what (a) private meetings and (b) public engagements Ministers in his Department have attended at which representatives from the think-tank Demos were present in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kidney: Ministers have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such meetings.
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