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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what obligatory standards his Department imposes on developers of (a) social and (b) private sector housing regarding dwelling space standards. 
Mr. Ian Austin: With regard to social housing, I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) on 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 127W and the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) on 11 March 2009, Official Report, column 506W.
With regard to private sector housing, the Government's planning policy for housing (PPS3) is clear on the need to achieve high quality new housing, which includes consideration of the amount and use of space within and around the home.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Valuation Office Agency's policy is on providing information to householders on the methodology by which their property was valued when such requests are made under Section 18(2)(h) of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005. 
Barbara Follett: The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) may consider the value of a householder's property for various different purposes including council tax, right to buy (RTB), compulsory purchase and national taxes such as inheritance tax and capital gains tax. For council tax detailed information on the methodology adopted is available on the VOA's website at:
For other purposes if the householder is the person to whom the valuation relates (for instance is buying their property under RTB or is the subject of a taxation assessment) the VOA will either as a matter of normal business or upon request, provide appropriate details of the methodology used in valuing the property.
Mrs. Spelman: 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 11 March 2009, Official Report, columns 488-9W, on legal opinion, what the nature of the legal opinion and the associated issue of law was that was obtained in relation to the (a) FiReControl Project, (b) Firelink Project, (c) Gypsy and Traveller Sites Grant Project and (d) Home Information Pack Register Project. 
Barbara Follett: Legal advice was provided on a regular and ongoing basis. The majority will be protected by Legal Professional Privilege or commercial confidentiality or both. Providing detailed information about advice obtained would be at disproportionate cost.
David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2009, Official Report, column 1547W, on the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, what factors arising from his Department's consultation exercise are contributing to the delay in the implementation of Part 6 of the Act. 
Barbara Follett: We will publish shortly our response to the consultation paper 'The Making and Enforcement of Byelaws', having considered in particular the issues of ensuring a robust process of consultation between a council and the community before the making of any byelaws and their enforcement.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether an assessment has been made of the effect on local authorities of the ruling of the European Court of Justice on allowing workers to claim sick leave while away on holiday leave; and if he will make a statement. 
We are of course aware of the recent judgment from the ECJ on Francisco Vicente Pereda v. Madrid Movilidad SA. We are carefully considering the potential implications not only for the public sector but all employers and will make our conclusions known in due course.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has assessed the consequences of the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Brent borough council v Risk Management Partners Limited on (a) two-tier joint working in local authorities and (b) his Department's Total Place pilots. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Brent borough council v. Risk Management Partners Ltd. confirmed that local authorities are entitled to co-operate with each other in the performance of their functions. We have provided local authorities with a power to establish and participate together in mutual insurance corporate bodies through the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill. We have not specifically assessed the consequences of the judgment on two-tier joint working in local authorities or the Department's total place pilots.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to page 14 of his Department's Resource Accounts
for 2008-09, HC 449, which local government research projects have been (a) delayed and (b) cancelled. 
Barbara Follett: A research project scheduled for 2008-09 on 'The New Local Area Performance Framework estimation of impact' was commissioned later than expected in September 2009. A project to study 'Joint delivery of Public Services in an Area' was no longer required due to the emergence of initiatives such as the total place pilots.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in Leeds West constituency have (a) applied for and (b) been granted assistance under the Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme in each quarter since the scheme's inception; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: Homeowners Mortgage Support is part of the range of assistance available at every stage to households struggling with their mortgage. The scheme encourages lenders to allow households who have suffered a temporary income shock to defer some of their interest payment, if this is necessary to make their monthly payment affordable. The Department plans to publish information in December on the number of households who have been helped through Homeowners Mortgage Support. Statistics from the Financial Services Authority show that more than 135,000 borrowers were benefiting from forbearance offered by their lender at the end of June 2009, an increase of 17 per cent. on the previous quarter.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to increase public awareness in Leeds West constituency of measures to assist homeowners with mortgage repayments; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: CLG have launched a new national campaign to help struggling homeowners across the country take control of their finances and make the most of the support available for them to avoid repossessions and stay in their homes.
National press and online advertisements are highlighting the measures the Government have put in place at every stage for homeowners to avoid repossession. The advertisements point people to an advice line and a new website illustrating the practical steps they can take to resolve their mortgage repayment worries, as well as contacts for the wide range of support available.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in which local authorities discretionary schemes for Houses of Multiple Occupation licensing are in the process of being approved. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Department is currently considering applications for discretionary additional HMO licensing schemes from Oxford city council, Breckland council and the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Ealing and Harrow.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the publication of the drafts of each of the National Policy Statements on planning. 
Mr. Ian Austin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing (John Healey) on 19 October 2009, Official Report, column 1315W, to question 292854 on National Policy Statements (NPSs) for the timetable for the preparation of the first tranche NPSs on nationally significant infrastructure.
The remaining four NPSs are being produced on a longer time frame. We intend to consult on the waste water NPSs in spring 2010 and hazardous waste NPS in summer 2010, and aim to designate them in 2011. We intend to consult on the airports NPS by 2011 with a view to designating it later that year. Finally we intend to consult on the water supply NPS in late 2010 once the final water resource management plans are published, which are needed to inform the NPS, with the aim of designating that NPS by early 2012.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what payments his Department has made to the New Economics Foundation since its inception; and for what purposes each such payment was made. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a billboard site with no poster is deemed to be an empty property for the purposes of empty property rates relief. 
The legal provisions on the rating of hereditaments where advertising rights are concerned are complex and the legal position will very much depend on the exact facts at play. However, in many cases it is the right to use a hoarding or other structure for advertising which is the hereditament and, therefore, which is rateable. In such circumstances that hereditament is considered occupied for rating purposes whether or not the advertising right is being exercised.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of hereditaments in London are (a) above and (b) below the £50,000 rateable value threshold according to (i) the 2005 Rating List and (ii) the latest modelling for the 2010 Rating List. 
Barbara Follett: The HMRC figures published for the 2005 Ratings List at April 1 2009 show a total of 280,000 hereditaments in London. Of these, 240,000 hereditaments (86 per cent. of all London hereditaments) were equal to or were below the £50,000 threshold, while 40,000 hereditaments were above that threshold (14 per cent. of all London hereditaments).
The draft 2010 Ratings List has a total of 280,000 hereditaments in London. Of these 230,000 hereditaments (82 per cent.) of all London hereditaments) were equal to or below the £50,000 threshold and 50,000 hereditaments were above that threshold (18 per cent. of all London hereditaments). The dataset used is consistent with the consultation document titled: "The transitional arrangements for the non-domestic rating revaluation 2010 in England", published on 8 July 2009.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations operating at local level which receive funding from the public purse. 
Non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) operate at both national and regional level. Some, but not all of these, deliver services locally. According to Public Bodies 2008, as at 31 March 2008 there were 790 NDPBs sponsored by the UK Government. This is a fall of 67 (8 per cent.) since 1997. Copies of Public Bodies 2008 are available from the Libraries of the House. Public Bodies 2009 will be published in the New Year.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information his Department holds on the revenue raised by local authorities from parking (a) fines and (b) charges in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Penalty charge notice income: £333.5 million;
Other sales, fees and charges: £324.5 million.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what recent representations his Department has received on the merits of levying charges to park at supermarkets; 
Barbara Follett: The Department has not received any representations on supermarket parking charges to be issued by local authorities under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 ('the Act'). In line with the Act, the Secretary of State is co-operating with the Local Government Association in its capacity as the selector as it considers proposals submitted under the Act and draws up a short-list for the Secretary of State to consider.
Exeter city council-in summary the proposal is for Government to give Exeter city council the power to retain revenue from locally imposed non-domestic rates on store car parking spaces, with the power for the Council to allow discounts to stores that source at least 30 per cent. of goods from within 30 miles of Exeter (and which are not first transported to a distribution centre more than 30 miles away).
Lewes district council-in summary the proposal is for the Secretary of State to take power, or to give local authorities the power, to levy non domestic rates on all store car parking spaces with a power for the council to allow discounts (perhaps up to 100 per cent.) if the supermarket or other store, sources a stated percentage of goods for sale locally.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes have been made to planning protection arrangements for farmland classified as Best and Most Valued since May 1997; and whether impact assessments were undertaken on the likely effects on England's agricultural capacity of such change. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Planning Policy Guidance note 7 "The Countryside, Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development" (PPG7), published in February 1997, was amended by a policy statement issued by the then Planning Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford), on 21 March 2001 to reflect the policy proposals of the Rural White Paper, "Our Countryside: The Future" (2000) that decisions about proposed development affecting BMV agricultural land should take account of the overall value of the land and that agricultural quality should be treated as one factor. Full details were given in response to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles), Official Report, columns 1339-40W.
The policy in the statement was subsequently carried forward (in 2004) into Planning Policy Statement 7: "Sustainable Development in Rural Areas" (PPS7) without change. Draft PPS7 was accompanied by a published impact assessment.
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