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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost to his Department was of provision of office facilities to (a) special advisers and (b) press officers in the 2008-09 financial year. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Information is not held centrally on the area of brownfield land in cities on which building development may not take place. Information on the total amount of previously developed land that may be available for development by local authority is available from the National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land which is published by the Homes and Communities Agency.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities will be able to claim for expenditure under the 0.2 per cent. qualifying expenditure arrangements under the Bellwin scheme in respect of expenditure necessitated by the recent floods in Cumbria. 
Barbara Follett: All the local authorities in Cumbria may apply for Bellwin funding in respect of the recent floods. For this scheme, we have exceptionally decided that authorities may claim 100 per cent. grant above the threshold-which is set at 0.2 per cent. of an authority's calculated annual revenue budget.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether fire and rescue authorities are eligible for funding under the Bellwin scheme following the recent floods in Cumbria. 
Barbara Follett: Fire and rescue authorities are eligible for funding under the Bellwin scheme. In this particular instance, Cumbria county council has responsibility for fire and rescue services and has already registered its intention to submit a Bellwin claim.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what categories of local authority expenditure are not eligible for emergency financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme. 
costs which are normally insurable, whether by the authority or any other party (e.g. under household insurance policies);
loss of income (e.g. from facilities closed as a result of the emergency), as this falls outside the scope of section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989;
the normal wages and salaries of the authority's regular employees, whether diverted from their normal work or otherwise, and the standing costs of the authority's plant and equipment;
longer term works of repair and restoration, such as tree planting and repair or refurbishment of damaged but not dangerous structures;
any element of betterment, e.g. repairs to buildings to a significantly higher standard than their condition on the day before the incident.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the functions are of the Homes and Communities Agency's National Consultancy Unit; and if he will make a statement. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 24 November 2009, Official Report, column 73W, on the Homes and Communities Agency: manpower, from which organisation each member of staff was seconded. 
John Healey: Of the 50 secondees to Homes and Communities Agency, the majority are from Communities and Local Government; with two from Savills and one each from BERR, DCMS, English Heritage, Lambeth council, The Prince's Trust, King Sturge, BBP Regeneration, London and Quadrant and Knight Frank.
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to publish the Housing, Planning and Delivery Grant settlement for local authorities for 2009-10. 
Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, column 866W, on housing: building regulations, whether his Department has revisited the impact assessment of funding for overground oil tanks. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The consultation on proposals to revise part J (combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) of the building regulations came to an end on 26 November. The next steps are to analyse and publish a summary of responses, agree final proposals and revise the part J Approved Document (statutory guidance). As part of this process, we will revisit the impact assessment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty (a) private and (b) public homes there were in each region of the
UK in each of the last two years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Total vacant dwellings reported by local authorities through council taxbase returns include long-term (six months and more) and short-term vacancies. Figures for RSLs are for self-contained general needs units only.
Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to encourage the retrofitting of the existing housing stock with energy efficiency technologies through the building regulations. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Energy efficiency standards are set out in Part L of the building regulations, 'Conservation of fuel and power'. Part L requirements apply only when building work is carried out to existing dwellings. The standards typically cover the construction of extensions, the conversion of non-domestic buildings to dwellings, the installation of new and replacement heating, ventilation and lighting systems, window replacement, and other alterations. We have recently consulted on proposals to raise Part L standards in 2010 and plan to publish a summary of responses at the end of the year.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what applications he has received for funding under his Department's Kickstart programme for projects in Hendon; what funding has been made available; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding from (a) revenue support, (b) capital grant and (c) supported borrowing was provided by central Government to (i) Kent county council, (ii) Thanet district council and (iii) Dover district council in (A) 2007-08 and (B) 2008-09. 
Please find as follows a table providing the amount of formula grant, which is made up of revenue support grant and redistributed business rates for non-police authorities, for each of the authorities requested. Formula grant is an unhypothecated block
grant. This means that authorities are free to spend the money on any service provided that they meet their statutory duties.
|Local authority||Year||Prior years adjusted formula grant||Current year ' s formula grant||Change||Percentage change|
Supported borrowing or supported capital expenditure (revenue) is supported through formula grant. Since formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant, and due to the calculations of formula grant, particularly floor damping, it is not possible to say how much grant has been provided for the support of capital expenditure.
There are also over 70 parallel places, urban and rural, undertaking Total Place type activity. These numbers continue to rise as more and more local authorities begin to consider the real potential of a whole area approach, looking at all the services in their area and consider how they can bring about much-needed change in the way these services can be delivered more effectively and efficiently.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what efficiency savings projects (a) his Department and (b) its agencies put in place under the Operational Efficiency Programme; on what date each such project was initiated; how much each such project was expected to contribute to departmental savings; how much had been saved through each such project on the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department is approaching the efficiency agenda as a group endeavour in close collaboration with our arm's-length bodies and Government offices. We have made good progress on delivering on
the Operational Efficiency Programme and have a range of initiatives in place to deliver efficiencies. These include implementing shared services and rationalising back office systems; collaborative procurement, where we are reviewing and renewing supplier arrangements across a range of common goods and services; consolidation of office accommodation and implementing open plan and flexible desk sharing and rationalisation of our group estate. For our arm's-length bodies, delivering efficiencies is about transforming service delivery models and improving front-line services to drive down costs. We continue to work closely with our ALBs as they implement these initiatives.
Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make an assessment of the circumstances necessitating Croydon council's loan of £145.6 million from the Public Works Loans Board; and if he will make a statement. 
Barbara Follett: It is not appropriate for the Department to make such an assessment or a statement on this matter. Decisions on self-financed borrowing are a matter for local authorities. The prudential borrowing system imposes a duty for local authorities to determine and keep under review the amount they can afford to borrow.
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