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Mr. Straw: My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Prisons (Maria Eagle) or I will try to find a suitable time to visit Huddersfield probation service office. I am also happy to meet my hon. Friend about the matter.
Mr. Straw: Information is not available in the form requested. The police 'recorded crime' data collected by the Home Office are based on the number of crimes recorded in each financial year. As the hon. and learned Member is aware, improvements in the collection and coverage of crime data led to an artificial increase of 14 per cent. in recorded crime in 1998. It is estimated that the effect of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002 caused a further increase of 10 per cent. in total recorded crime in its first year. Recorded crime data before 2002 are therefore not comparable with that from 2002-03 onwards. The British Crime Survey was not affected by the changes and its data are comparable year on year, but this has estimates of total crime, including crime not reported to or recorded by the police, and which therefore could not have been prosecuted.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many Christmas functions arranged by his Department and its agencies (a) the then Secretary of State, (b) officials of his Department and (c) officials of its agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2008; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. 
Barbara Follett: My right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State, attended one Christmas function in 2008. She also hosted one Christmas function at a cost of £330.60. The other information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have spent on Christmas (i) cards, (ii) parties and (iii) decorations in the last 12 months. 
|(i) Cards||(ii) Parties||(iii) Decorations|
In relation to Christmas functions/parties, the Department has interpreted this to mean internal, departmental Christmas functions/parties. On this basis, the Department can confirm that no official funds were used for Christmas parties in 2008.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2009, Official Report, column 479W, on community relations, how much his Department plans to allocate in total to Prevent-related (a) national projects, (b) local authority projects and (c) community leadership fund projects in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. 
Mr. Malik: The Department plans to spend the following amounts to support Prevent-related projects. In 2009-10 £16.5 million was paid through the area based grant to local authorities, and in 2010-11 local authorities will receive a further £24 million through the ABG-to support local Prevent work.
|(1) Excluding area based grant-but including £3.2 million Challenge and Innovation Fund paid in 2009-10|
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement on 14 October 2009, Official Report, columns 30-32WS, on connecting communities, how many areas will receive funding from the Connecting Communities programme; and what criteria will be used to select those areas. 
Barbara Follett: We aim to support about 100 areas in this financial year to re-invigorate neighbourhoods that are feeling the pressure from the recession most acutely. The first 27 areas to receive help from the £12 million Strong Connecting Communities fund were announced on 14 October this year and we expect to announce further areas in early December.
The neighbourhoods have been identified after the examination of a range of hard and soft data on cohesion; deprivation and crime; perceived unfairness in the allocation of resources and feedback from people working locally. Although there are modest additional resources available for support specific to the individual area, the focus will be on working through mainstream government and local programmes and using resources already allocated to the target areas. We aim to help local authorities ensure that residents are aware of the opportunities and services to them and to give them the tools to influence what happens in their local area.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in (a) England and (b) Leeds local authority area applied to buy their council house under the right to buy scheme in the latest period for which figures are available. 
John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) on 14 October 2009, Official Report, column 977W, for figures showing local authority right to buy applications up to 2008-09, by local authority.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department provides to local authorities on renovation of damp properties under the decent homes standard. 
Mr. Ian Austin [holding answer 11 November 2009]: To be decent, a home must be free of all category 1 hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and also meet other criteria. Damp is one of the 29 hazards within the HHSRS. A home is considered to be non decent through a HHSRS failure.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what appeals process exists for local authority tenants who are refused improvements required to attain the decent homes standard. 
Mr. Ian Austin [holding answer 11 November 2009]: It is up to individual landlords to decide, in consultation with their tenants, what works are required to bring their properties up to the decent homes standard. Tenants should not be refused work under the decent homes programme. However if they are unable to resolve an issue informally with landlords they can make a formal complaint. If the tenant still feels that the landlord has not provided the appropriate level of service or taken due care after an internal complaint then the local government ombudsman may be able to investigate.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the estimated cost to the public purse would be of extending the council tax single person discount to households where one or more member is serving with the armed forces overseas; 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account was taken of the effect of council tax on the families of (a) military personnel serving overseas and (b) prisoners on remand when setting the conditions for the single person discount. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 9 November 2009]: The treatment of service personnel and prisoners in relation to council tax single person discount has not changed since council tax was introduced in 1993. The legislation reflects the fact that generally prisoners have no means to support their families in paying the tax.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households received council tax single person discount where the single adult's spouse was (a) engaged in military services overseas and (b) in prison in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 9 November 2009]: Single person discount is not granted to spouses of service personnel who are serving abroad. On 25 September 2007, the Ministry of Defence announced a non-statutory council tax relief scheme. The scheme provides a lump-sum payment to service personnel who pay council tax for a property in the UK or who pay contributions in lieu of council tax (CILOCT) for service family accommodation (SFA) and are on operational deployments overseas. These payments are based on 25 per cent. of the average council tax per dwelling in England and is updated annually in line with council tax increases. This scheme is administered directly by the MOD.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of invoices from suppliers his Department paid within 10 days of receipt in (a) September and (b) October 2009. 
Barbara Follett: Communities and Local Government paid 90.59 per cent. of invoices within 10 days in September and 93.38 per cent. of invoices within 10 days in October. The value of invoices paid within 10 days in September was over £2.8 billion and in October was over £2.4 billion.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what companies (a) his Department, (b) the Tenant Services Authority, (c) the Homes and Communities Agency and (d) the Homes and Communities Agency Academy have contracted with in the last 12 months. 
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