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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 16 July 2009, Official Report, column 656W, on Tony Clements, whether Mr Clements was a candidate selected to stand by a political party at a general election on the date of his appointment, 29 June 2009. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department and its predecessors spent on first class rail travel for officials in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
|Financial year||First class rail (£)|
The figures shown in the table came from the Department's travel suppliers but it should be noted that staff may also purchase rail tickets directly from stations or through other suppliers. Identifying first class rail travel expenditure from these sources could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
John Healey: The Department's spend for developing the eco-towns programme, including communications-related activity form part of the Department's running costs which are set out in the departmental annual report 2009.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Minister took the decision to dispose of the Green Goddess fire engines used to provide emergency fire cover. 
Mr. Malik: The decision to dispose of the Green Goddess fleet was taken by the Government. Green Goddesses no longer offered the most flexible and efficient means of delivering emergency fire cover. In addition the Department provided 46 high volume pumps to the fire and rescue service which removed the need for a reserve pumping capacity. The National Framework for the fire and rescue service makes it clear that fire and rescue authorities are responsible for the supply of all necessary vehicles and equipment.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the effect of increasing the personal search fee for the local land charges register on the cost of a home information pack. 
The Ministry of Justice carried out an assessment of the effect of increasing the personal search fee for the local land charges register-see the impact assessment in the post-consultation report "Local Authority Property Search Services" published by the Ministry of Justice on 16 September 2009. This stated that the increased cost was likely to be passed on by personal search companies to their customers. If this happens it may lead to an increase in the cost of home information packs in England. However, this is a matter for the market and the Government have no role in this. Copies of the report are already available in the Library.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable has been set for the publication of the results of the second stage of his Department's review on the extent and effect of housing development on garden land. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local planning authorities responded to the Government's review on the extent and impact of housing development on garden land; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each such response. 
Mr. Ian Austin: There were 127 detailed responses from local planning authorities to stage 1 of the Review of Evidence. I will make a further announcement before Parliament and my Department will publish the findings of the review together with the evidence shortly. These will all be placed in the Library.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role Ordnance Survey has in the geo-referencing of the property database held by the Valuation Office Agency. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Ordnance Survey and the Valuation Office Agency have been working together to align their spatial address databases. Through the Pan Government Agreement, the Valuation Office Agency currently receives the Ordnance Survey's ADDRESS-POINT product. It will shortly receive Ordnance Survey's latest spatial addressing product OS MasterMap Address Layer 2.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the spending of grants provided for tenant participation in local housing authorities in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Tenant Empowerment Programme (TEP) is a grant programme funded by Communities and Local Government and administered by the Tenant Services Authority. It enables tenants living in social housing to access independent advice, training and information directly. This helps them to challenge, influence or control how housing services are delivered to their communities. It does not fund landlords to undertake mainstream tenant participation which is core housing management activity.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding his Department has allocated to tenant participation in local housing authorities in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Tenant Empowerment Programme supports tenants living in social housing to access information and training as well as enabling tenant groups to explore and undertake management of their homes. Grant is not paid directly to local authorities but rather to national, regional, and local tenant organisations and training providers working across all social housing providers.
2007-08: £2.6 million
2008-09: £3.14 million
2009-10: £3.14 million.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the review of the allocations to Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders; and what funding has been allocated to date in each year in each Pathfinder during the current Comprehensive Spending Review period. 
John Healey: Funding allocations for HMR pathfinders during the current CSR period are given in the following table. The 2009-10 figures include £311 million allocated in March 2009 and a further £35 million which I announced in July 2009 and which was based on strong progress. Figures for 2010-11 are indicative.
|HMR pathfinder||2008-09||2009-10||2010-11( 1)|
|(1) Indicative allocation.|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in what circumstances a proposal submitted to the Valuation Office Agency to reduce the banding of a dwelling is (a) considered by the agency alone and (b) referred to the Valuation Tribunal Service. 
Barbara Follett: All proposals must be submitted to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), who will issue a decision on each proposal. A proposal is considered by the VOA alone unless the decision is appealed to the independent Valuation Tribunal by the taxpayer or any other party who, by law, is in a position to make such an appeal (e.g. the owner if not also the taxpayer).
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what obligations there are on property owners to respond to requests from the Valuation Office Agency to complete questionnaires gathering information for the purposes of property valuation. 
Barbara Follett: For domestic property questionnaires are issued to taxpayers so that they may voluntarily supply information that would otherwise have to be obtained by other means, such as an inspection. Using the questionnaires reduces the need to inspect, minimises the inconvenience to the taxpayer and enables the VOA to deal effectively and speedily with taxpayers' enquiries.
While, under section 27 of the Local Government Act 1992, the VOA can require an owner or occupier to supply information that will assist in maintaining council tax valuation lists, the questionnaires are not issued to taxpayers using these powers.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 July 2009, Official Report, column 1662W, on LLM Communications, for what reasons the Department paid LLM Communications directly. 
John Healey: In 2006 the Campaign for More and Better Homes (CMBH) approached the Department seeking funding for a series of regional housing debates. It was agreed with CMBH that LLM Communications would be engaged to support this work and CLG engaged LLM on behalf of the partnership.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent guidance his Department has issued to its (a) special advisers, (b) civil servants and (c) policy advisers on 12 month contracts on meetings with lobbyists; and whether central records are kept of any such meetings. 
Barbara Follett: Special advisers meet many people as part of the process of policy development and analysis. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code, the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive funding scheme funding has been reduced to £50 million for 2010-11; and whether the funds previously allocated to the programme are to be transferred to another programme. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of progress in the operation of two-tier pathfinders; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report by the Office for Public Management consultancy, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cardiff Business School on two-tier pathfinders. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: My officials are currently reviewing progress on two-tier innovation with the four pathfinders and other councils. In the light of this we will be considering how best to encourage and facilitate improved two-tier working, particularly in the context of the Total Place initiative. The research contractors are still finalising the qualitative report and associated documents from the long-term evaluation of two-tier pathfinders and new unitary authorities. We anticipate this will be published early in the new year and will place a copy in the House Library.
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