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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on how many occasions fire and rescue authorities have been unable to cope with a major fire or incident since 1979; and which fire control room was involved in each case. 
Mr. Malik: The Fire and Rescue Service provide an effective and professional response to the incidents they face, making the best possible use of the equipment and technology available to them at any given point. The Fire and Resilience programme will deliver greater capability, resilience and inter-operability to the Fire and Rescue Service to equip them to meet the challenges they face now and in the future.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of the New Dimension programme; and what budget was set for that programme at its inception. 
Mr. Malik: CLG's New Dimension project (formerly a programme) was established in 2001 to enhance the capability of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) to respond to major incidents whether caused by terrorist attacks or natural disasters. The estimated budget for the project at that initial stage was £318 million to procure, deliver and implement these new resilience capabilities within the FRS. This did not include ongoing resource costs to the FRS to support the continuing delivery of these capabilities which have already responded to several national events such as the Buncefield oil depot fire in 2005, the widespread 2007 floods and more recently the Cumbrian floods, as well as being mobilised around 200 times each quarter to local events.
At the end of financial year 2008-09, the Department had invested a total of £425 million in the New Dimension project, although owing to a difference in view over the accounting used, the National Audit Office estimated costs as some £30 million lower, in its value for money review in 2008.
In 2008, Ministers announced a funding package totalling £80million over the current spending review period to enable the ongoing delivery of New Dimension capabilities by the FRS. The total New Dimension costs up until 2008-09 include nearly £24 million of this amount, with a further £56 million allocated until the end of 2010-11.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the location was of each local FiReControl emergency control room prior to the implementation of the FiReControl project; and how many staff work in each such control room. 
Mr. Malik: The control room location information is held by each Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) individually; responsibility for current staffing figures also rests with the FRAs. The latest information provided to the department by the FRAs is published in full on our website at:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to Lord Hanningfield of 18 December 2007, Official Report, House of Lords, column 117WA, and to the answer to the hon. Member for Copeland (Mr. Reed) of 2 November 2009, Official Report, column 764W, on fire services: finance, what his most recent estimate is of the total cost to the public purse of regional fire control rooms over 15 years; and on what estimate of the time taken to implement the FiReControl project the estimated cost of £420 million was based. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what payments have been made to EADS in respect of the FiReControl project; and what estimate has been made of the monetary value of such payments at the end of the relevant contracts. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been spent on the FiReControl project; and what the estimated (a) gross and (b) net cost of that project is in each of the next five years. 
Mr. Malik: The expenditure to date on the project is approximately £190 million. The estimated remaining FiReControl implementation project cost is about £230 million. Beyond implementation Communities and Local Government has also committed to support any Fire and Rescue Authority for whom operating costs are forecast to increase under the new networked control arrangements. The current estimate for this is £8.2 million each year.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) of 20 July 2009, Official Report, column 811W, on fire services, if he will publish an updated estimated gross total cost of the FiReControl project. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance has been issued by (a) his Department, (b) Firebuy and (c) the Fire Service College on actions which contingency staff are permitted to take in
circumstances in which fire services are affected by industrial action to train on fire appliances currently used by fire-fighters. 
Mr. Malik: No advice has been issued by my Department, Firebuy, or the Fire Service College, on the circumstances in which contingency staff are permitted to train on fire appliances or cross picket lines when a fire and rescue service is affected by industrial action. The provision of emergency fire cover during disputes is the responsibility of fire and rescue services, and it is for them to ensure any staff they commission directly or indirectly have received the necessary training and guidance.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department's fire research programme has undertaken research into (a) the effects of the ban on smoking in public places on the incidence of smoking-related domestic fires and (b) the proportion of domestic fires which occur as a result of smoking in the home since 2007. 
Mr. Malik: No research has been carried out from the Department's fire and resilience research programme into (a) the effects of the ban on smoking in public places on the incidence of smoking related domestic fires or (b) the proportion of domestic fires which occur as a result of smoking in the home since 2007.
|Accidental dwelling fires, England, 2007 and 2008( 1)|
|Source of ignition||2007||2008( 1)|
|(1) Provisional. Data for total dwelling fires 2008 are provisional and subject to change. Source:|
Fire Incident Records database, Communities and Local Government
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent assessment is of progress in the implementation of recommendation 38 of the Pitt Report on flooding in respect of the number of mutual aid agreements with local authorities; and what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of such agreements. 
Progress on local implementation of the Pitt recommendations is included in the progress report on the Government's response to the Pitt review which was published on 15 December by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many hotel room nights were booked by officials in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each year since 2007; and how much (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies spent on the fees of third party agents in booking hotel accommodation in each of those years. 
|Number of room nights|
|The FSC does not incur a fee with a third party agent.|
|Number of room nights|
|QEIICC does not pay an agency to book hotel accommodation.|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account the Infrastructure Planning Commission will take of a local development framework in considering a planning application. 
John Healey: The Infrastructure Planning Commission will determine applications in accordance with any relevant national policy statement but they must also have regard to any local impact report submitted by a relevant local authority, any prescribed matters and any other matters that they think are both important and relevant to their decision. The local development framework will often be an important and relevant consideration.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding was provided from the public purse to (a) Local Government Employers, (b) the Improvement and Development Agency and (c) LACORS in the last 12 months. 
|Funding (£ million)|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a timetable has been set for bringing forward proposals for rules relating to the terms of office of office-holders in the indirectly-elected leader and cabinet executive model of local government referred to in his Department's White Paper on Communities in Control. 
Barbara Follett: The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 makes provision for the rules relating to the terms of office of the leader in the indirectly-elected leader and cabinet executive model, and we have no plans to amend this.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of local spending by public bodies which is controlled by local authorities. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what mechanisms his Department plans to put in place for the purposes of meeting its targets relating to the implementation of participatory budgeting in local authority areas by 2012; and whether he plans to require local authorities to implement participatory budgeting. 
Barbara Follett: The Government published its National Strategy on participatory budgeting in 2008. This set out the support available to councils, communities and their partners to help them promote and deliver participatory budgeting. The Government funds the Participatory Budgeting Unit (PBU), a project of the third sector organisation 'Church Action on Poverty', as a key delivery partner. The PBU helps to promote participatory budgeting and advises community development workers and local authority officials on the development of new projects.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has made an estimate of the level of expenditure by local authorities on litigation relating to the implementation of conditional fee agreements. 
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