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15 Dec 2009 : Column 982W—continued

Data extracted from the biannual publications of the "Count of Gypsy and Traveller Caravans" covering the period January 2000 to July 2009

Community Development: Finance

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support his Department gives for the recruitment of community development workers. [306988]

Barbara Follett: Communities and Local Government sponsors and funds the Community Development Foundation (CDF) as a non-departmental public body, to be a leading source of expertise on community development and empowerment. As part of its activities, and working with other national community development organisations, CDF provides research evidence and good practice guidance covering the role of community development workers, their recruitment, retention and management. This work will be enhanced by the results of an England-wide survey of Community Development Work, the report of which CDF is due to publish in March 2010.

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many interfaith projects have been funded by his Department since 2005; and if he will make a statement; [306989]

(2) how many grants his Department has made to interfaith organisations since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [306990]

Mr. Malik: The Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund was distributed over the three years 2004-05 to 2007-08, in two rounds of funding, to the organisations in the attached lists. The Fund had two categories: capacity building and inter faith activity.

A total of 73 inter faith organisations have successfully received funding in both rounds of the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund. A
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comprehensive list of organisations granted funding is available on the Community Development Fund (CDF) website at:

Since 2008, we have been committed to a three year programme of investment and support worth over £7.5 million, as announced in our inter faith framework "Face to Face and Side by Side".

Part of this funding is being distributed through the "Faiths in Action" fund, which aims to support local activities and initiatives that have a direct link to one or more of the four building blocks described in "Face to Face and Side by Side:" confidence and skills to bridge and link; shared spaces for interaction; structures and processes; and opportunities for learning. All types of organisations at national, regional or local level in England may apply for this funding. The Faiths in Action programme is administered CDF and further information about projects and organisations funded under this programme can be found at:

The other funding is allocated to a programme of investment over three years in Regional Faith Forums to support and build their capacity, in particular their interaction with local inter faith activity.

My Department also supports the Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN) with an annual grant. IFN represents the collective voice of all main faith communities and in partnership with DCLG facilitated England's first inter faith week. The week ran from 15-21 November 2009 and we offered small grants to national inter faith organisations to help with their contribution and enable cross community participation.

Comprehensive Area Assessments

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role the Audit Commission has in inspecting local development plan documents as part of comprehensive area assessments. [307205]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission, and I will ask the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member direct.

Letter from Steve Bundred, dated December 2009:

Council Housing: Rents

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of local authorities have decided to reduce their level of social housing rent in 2009-10. [306878]

Mr. Ian Austin: We have no data to suggest that any local authority has reduced social rents in 2009-10.

Of the 191 authorities with active housing revenue accounts at the beginning of the financial year, 189 (98.9 per cent.) accepted our offer of real help now by way of additional subsidy to reduce their average rent increase to 3.1 per cent., thus providing real help to their tenants.

Council Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations has he received from the Local Government Association's Labour Group on council tax. [305813]

Barbara Follett: The three year settlement delivered by this Government for Local Government, which delivered a 4 per cent. average increase in investment, has resulted in the Secretary of State receiving no formal representations from any LGA group.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar on 29 October 2008, Official Report, column 1136W, on council tax: standards, what data collections outside the national indicator set (a) are still being collected and (b) have been discontinued by his Department. [306433]

Barbara Follett: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 22 October 2009, Official Report, columns 1645-646W, in respect to data this Department still collects.

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The Department will be publishing the latest update to its simplification plan on 14 December. This lists the data that the Department has stopped collecting and sets out other work under way to further reduce the regulatory burden. A copy of this update will be available at:

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 14 October 2009, Official Report, column 965W, on council tax, whether he has made an estimate of the effects on the revenue of each local authority with a below-average council tax collection rate of their collection rate. [306552]

Barbara Follett: No. Under sections 33 and 44 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, and regulations 3 and 7 of the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1992, it is the responsibility of individual local authorities to take account of collection rates when considering their council tax base (and the resulting revenues) during the process of setting budgets and their band D council tax levels for a financial year. As a result, the revenue of a local authority with a below-average council tax collection rate is not materially affected for that financial year by such a collection rate.

Council Tax: Billing

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the new requirements to publish efficiency information on council tax bills; and whether research was conducted before implementation of the requirements on the comprehensibility of the information. [306411]

Barbara Follett: In the explanatory memorandum to the 2008 regulations governing the inclusion of efficiency information on and with council tax bills, the Department committed to review their operation this financial year.

The review consisted of two telephone surveys; the first, on the local government experience, asked how people had reacted to the information. It found that about a third of councils were contacted at least once in response to the efficiency information presented on or with the council tax bills. It also asked what operational difficulties, if any, councils had encountered in meeting the requirement. Overall, authorities did not experience the level of difficulty anticipated in their response to the 2008 consultation on the proposal.

The second survey questioned a small number of consumer groups on their understanding of the public response to the information and sought their views about its effective presentation. Provision of efficiency information was generally welcomed in so far as it meant that the public could be better informed about the work that their local authorities are engaged in.

Departmental Conferences

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) away days and (b) conferences that took place outside
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his Department's building attended by civil servants in his Department there have been since its inception; and what the cost was of each. [307527]

Barbara Follett: The Department does not hold information centrally on the number of away days and conferences attended by staff since its inception. Attendance at away days and conferences are approved by appropriate line managers and there would be a disproportionate cost involved in trying to obtain this information.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been paid in bonuses to civil servants in his Department in each year since 2003. [306455]

Barbara Follett: The following table sets out the total cost of performance bonuses paid to civil servants within Communities and Local Government. Figures are only available from the financial period 2004-2005.

Total cost of non - consolidated payments














(1) This total cost only represents the non consolidated payments made to the SCS and is subject to change once the pay award for all staff below SCS has been implemented

The Department also operate a scheme for all staff below the Senior Civil Service under which individuals or teams may receive a small non-consolidated award in recognition of an outstanding contribution over a limited period. The maximum payment made under these arrangements is £600. Records are only available for the periods set out in the table.

Total cost of in-year performance non-consolidated performance awards








In Communities and Local Government, bonus payments are made to those members of staff who are found to have made a significant contribution towards the achievement of the team's, and/or Department's objectives. Individuals are expected to show that they have exceeded the requirements set for the achievement of the objective and have demonstrated exemplary behaviour in doing so. Our senior civil service staff members are also assessed against a range of factors, including:

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Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many funding streams relating to (a) housing, (b) regeneration and (c) social exclusion are overseen by his Department and its agencies. [306729]

Barbara Follett: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Housing

There are four funding streams relating to housing, under the title 'Improving the Supply and Quality of Housing': Central Government Spend; Local Authority Spend; Annually Managed Expenditure and Non-Budget Spend. These are set out in the Department's Main Supply Estimate 2009-10, which covers both the Department and its agencies, and form sections B, M, T and W respectively.

(b) Regeneration

There are two funding streams relating to regeneration, under the title 'Building

Prosperous Communities, Promoting Regeneration and Tackling Deprivation': Central Government Spend and Local Authority Spend. These form sections C and N respectively of the Main Estimate.

(c) Social Exclusion

There are two funding streams relating to social exclusion, under the title 'Developing Communities that are Cohesive, Active and Resilient to Extremism': Central Government Spend and Local Authority Spend. These form sections D and O respectively of the Main Estimate.

The Main Estimate 2009-10 can be found at:

This information is also published in the CLG Annual Report 2009, Annex C at:

The annual report also contains further details regarding the specific programmes funded through each of the aforementioned funding streams.

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