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21 Oct 2009 : Column 1495W—continued

Literacy: Developing Countries

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps he has taken to improve levels of literacy in the world's 10 poorest countries. [294293]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed in partnership with other donors, to the realisation of all six goals of the Education for All (EFA) agenda.

Through our long-term commitment to provide £8.5 billion in support of education overseas to 2015, we are supporting poor countries to invest in quality basic education, including lower secondary, to ensure that children attain the fundamental skills they need to participate in social and economic life.

DFID has recently directly supported adult literacy programmes in Uganda, Kenya, India and Yemen, as well as through humanitarian aid programmes. In India, DFID supports the accelerated Tara Akshar Reading
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programme, a fast track programme aiming to teach people to read in 50-hours over a period of 30-days. In Yemen, DFID and participating donors are financing a substantial basic education programme which includes support to both primary and adult basic education.

Party Conferences

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any of his Department's non-departmental public bodies sent representatives to attend one or more political party conferences in 2009. [293479]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development's non-departmental public body, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), did not send representatives to any of the political party conferences.

Communities and Local Government

Communications Annual Report 2008-09

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's Communications Annual Report 2008-09, if he will place in the Library a copy of the evaluation report for (a) the Home buying and Home selling communications campaign, (b) the eco-towns campaign and (c) the promoting take-up of online council services on waste and recycling campaign. [292888]

Barbara Follett: The information is as follows:

(a) The purpose of the Home buying and selling campaign was to provide information to buyers, sellers and estate agents about changes in the law, and directed people online for more detail. It was evaluated through the number of visits to the campaign website for which I refer the hon. Member to the information on the Department's website published at the time of the Department's 2008-09 Annual Report:

(b) The purpose of the eco-towns campaign was to promote the consultation process. It was evaluated through the number of visits to the consultation micro-site at 34,189 visitors and the number of consultation responses at 7,500 at the end of the consultation period.

(c) The evaluation report on the online council waste and recycling campaign will be placed in the Library.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Community Infrastructure Levy will be applied to new (a) affordable housing and (b) social housing developments. [294086]

Mr. Ian Austin: The Government are currently seeking views on proposals as to whether and how the Community Infrastructure Levy should apply to affordable or social housing developments in its consultation regarding the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy
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which was launched on 30 July 2009 and will conclude on 23 October 2009. No final decisions have yet been made.

Council Tax: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the Valuation Office Agency's full-time equivalent staff work on valuations for council tax purposes. [294099]

Barbara Follett: In the last full year, 2008-09, the Valuation Office Agency used 714 full-time equivalent staff for council tax purposes.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Minister in his Department has responsibility for architectural policy. [292691]

Mr. Ian Austin: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has responsibility for building design; and that Department is responsible for architectural design policy and sponsors the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

However, Communities and Local Government also recognises the value of architecture, and the importance that good design in architecture and the built environment plays in creating sustainable communities. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has appointed me to take forward this work for this Department. 1 also have the responsibility for the Department's work with CABE, which we jointly sponsor with DCMS to ensure that the architectural design agenda is embedded across Government.

In addition, the Secretary of State for Communities is accountable to Parliament for the Architects' Registration Board (ARB). This is the UK's Statutory Regulator for Architects, and is responsible for the registration of architects and the prescription of architectural courses as described in the Architects Act 1997.

Eco-Towns

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department and its agencies have spent on each budgetary heading related to communications, marketing, public relations, design and media on eco-towns. [292557]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the information published on the Department's website alongside its 2009 annual report:

Energy Performance Certificates

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations his Department has received on Energy Performance Certificates taking into account energy efficiency derived from air source heat pumps; and if he will review the methodology used to rate air source heat pumps for home information pack purposes. [294429]


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John Healey: The Department has received a number of representations concerning the energy efficiency and environmental performance ratings achieved by dwellings that use air source heat pumps (ASHPs) as a source of heating on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RDSAP), the methodology used to generate EPCs for existing dwellings, takes into account a wide range of construction materials and building features, including ASHPs. RDSAP is derived from Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) both of which are kept under constant review and upgraded on a regular basis to take account of new building technologies.

English Partnerships: Redundancy Pay

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much English Partnerships spent on redundancy payments when it was dissolved; and how many people received such payments; [292619]

(2) how many people made redundant by English Partnerships have subsequently been hired as employees, contractors or consultants by the Homes and Communities Agency. [292643]

Mr. Ian Austin: When English Partnerships dissolved it spent £368,000 on redundancy payments in relation to five staff. Information on redundancy payments on the three most senior members of staff, including its Chief Executive, was reported on in its final set of accounts, for 2008-09, which was published on its website at:

Copies were also lodged in the Vote Office.

The Homes and Communities Agency has no record centrally that any of these former staff have subsequently been hired by the Homes and Communities Agency as employees, contractors or consultants.

Fire Services

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 315W, on the New Dimension Programme, if he will place in the Library a copy of the report by NERA UK Ltd on the New Dimension Programme. [289629]

Mr. Malik: The report will be placed in the Library of the House shortly.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the FireGuard project. [292893]

Mr. Malik: The Fireguard Project Board, chaired by the Chief Fire Officers Association, assessed the technical and financial aspects of the project, including affordability. Firebuy, the national procurement body for the English Fire and Rescue Service, undertook the procurement process for the project at the request of 33 fire and
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rescue authorities, led by the Chief Fire Officers Association. This Department did not make any separate assessment of the project.

Fire Services: Crimes of Violence

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many sickness days were taken as a result of an assault on a Fire Service staff member in each fire and rescue authority in the most recent year for which figures are available; how many days were lost per firefighter on average due to assault in that year; and what the estimated cost of such losses is to each fire authority was in 2008-09. [289294]

Mr. Malik: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Fire Services: Industrial Disputes

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what contingency arrangements have been made for the use of fire appliances
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in the event of a strike by firefighters; which appliances would be used; and if he will make a statement. [294132]

Mr. Malik: The National Framework for the Fire and Rescue Service states that fire and rescue authorities must have a plan to provide such level of cover as it regards appropriate during emergencies, including industrial action, and ensure the availability of all necessary vehicles and equipment. Unless the fire and rescue authority has alternative arrangements, we would expect such vehicles to be sourced from their existing fleets.

Fire Services: Manpower

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firefighters were employed at fire stations in (a) each local authority area in the East of England and (b) England in each of the last 10 years. [289395]

Mr. Malik: The numbers of firefighters based at fire stations is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The total numbers of whole-time and retained firefighters for each fire authority is held centrally and are shown in the following tables for (a) fire authorities in the east of England and (b) England.

Number of whole - time firefighters, 1999 to 2008

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Bedfordshire and Luton

315

305

326

334

319

330

323

317

321

330

Cambridgeshire

263

263

276

274

273

285

273

258

277

278

Essex

914

923

937

948

937

920

936

981

945

943

Hertfordshire

557

581

565

570

564

574

564

569

560

575

Norfolk

282

298

310

308

288

295

281

303

306

302

Suffolk

256

249

248

253

250

244

257

272

257

259

East of England

2,587

2,619

2,662

2,687

2,631

2,648

2,634

2,700

2,666

2,687

England

31,918

31,615

31,597

31,592

31,631

31,856

31,053

30,744

30,804

30,824

Sources:
(i) HM Chief Inspector for Fire's Annual Report and
(ii) Fire and Rescue Service Operational Statistics Bulletin

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