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Mr. Ian Austin: The Government consulted on draft regulations for the implementation of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) over the summer. Although no provision was included for the payment of CIL in instalments, views were invited on whether regulations should provide for this and if so how. The consultation ended on 23 October 2009 and consultation responses are now being analysed. Further announcements on CIL will be made shortly.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 14 October 2009, on Connecting communities, whether an assessment was made by his Department of the political results of recent local elections when allocating the funding to chosen wards. 
Mr. Malik: Wards were identified by examining a range of hard and soft data around cohesion, deprivation and crime, perceived unfairness in the allocation of resources and feedback from people working locally. The results of local elections were not assessed as part of this process.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) of 4 November 2009, Official Report, column 1060W, on council housing, what the size of the local authority housing stock was in each year since 1997. 
|Financial year||Total stock|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 2 November 2009, Official Report, column 758W, on council tax: debt collection, whether he plans to publish a consultation paper on this matter; whether he plans to change the powers of bailiffs in relation to council tax collection; and what changes to bailiffs' powers and the level of fines there would be under the proposed new system. 
Barbara Follett: Further to my answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of November 2 2009, Official Report, column 758W, no decision has been taken yet about whether to extend the council tax enforcement regime in this way.
With regard to bailiff powers more generally, the Ministry of Justice has completed an extensive review of these which culminated in the enforcement provisions contained in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The Ministry of Justice will be producing a consultation paper which sets out a package of measures designed to address the concerns that have been raised about the behaviour of bailiffs; the fees they charge and proposals for the regulation of the industry. It will also
set out draft regulations on seizure of goods. The Ministry of Justice intends to commence this consultation exercise with a view to implementing the changes in April 2012.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct by a councillor were referred to the Standards Board in each of the last five years; and how many such cases resulted in a penalty or other sanction in each such year. 
The figure for 2008-09 reflects the introduction of the new locally based conduct regime from May 2008 in which, as recommended by the Commission for Standards in Public Life, all but the most serious allegations of misconduct are handled by individual council's standards committees.
The Standards Board has no sanctioning power, but where, after investigation, it considers a complaint referred to it might warrant some sanction, it reports the matter to either the council's standards committee or the Adjudication Panel for England, who then determine whether there has been a breach of the code and if so what sanction to apply.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) press officers and (b) communications staff were
employed by his Department (i) in each of the last five years and (ii) on the latest date for which figures are available; and what the cost of employing these staff was in each such year. 
Barbara Follett: To find the numbers of communications staff employed by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2008-09, I refer the hon. Member to its annual report. The cost of employing these was £3,659,986.
For costs in previous years, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Julia Goldsworthy) on 17 July 2008, Official Report, column 578W. We do not hold the information on numbers in previous years in the format requested, and this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's original expenditure provision was for 2009-10; what the most recently updated provision is; and how much has been spent under (a) Request for Resources 1 and (b) Request for Resources 2. 
Barbara Follett: The Department's original, and revised, expenditure provision for 2009-10 are set out in the Main Estimates (published 16 June 2009-HC514) and the Winter Supplementary Estimates (published 24 November 2009-HC24) respectively.
November is the most recent month for which complete figures for 2009-10 expenditure are available. 2009-10 expenditure to the end of November under (a) Request for Resources 1 was £10,513.5 million and (b) Request for Resources 2 was £18,142.0 million. These figures are subject to audit.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost of the proposed new innovation commissioning unit in his Department; and what its role will be in relation to that of regional improvement and efficiency partnerships. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Secretary of State's priorities on innovation are being delivered flexibly from within existing administrative resources and costs are not recorded separately. This work engages with, but does not duplicate, the work of regional improvement and efficiency partnerships.
Mr. Malik: Each fire and rescue authority is responsible for assessing, through its Integrated Risk Management Planning process, the number of firefighters on both wholetime and retained duty systems required to provide an effective fire and rescue service in its area. The Government are aware that, due to the nature of the retained duty system (RDS), which requires staff to live or work in close proximity to the fire station, a number of fire and rescue authorities find it difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of RDS staff.
Communities and Local Government has resourced a number of initiatives to support fire and rescue authorities in their efforts to recruit RDS staff. Most recent among these initiatives has been the development, following national research, of a suite of information literature, in the form of a toolkit, for fire and rescue services to use in establishing and building links with local businesses to encourage them to support their staff in becoming RDS firefighters. The Employers' Information Toolkit is designed to be flexible so that it can be tailored specifically to suit local need. To complement the Toolkit, and as a further support to local communication strategies directed at the business community, CLG has also produced a radio advertisement which fire and rescue services can use locally.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many full-time firefighters were employed by each fire and rescue authority on 31 March (a) 1998, (b) 2001, (c) 2005 and (d) 2008. 
Mr. Malik: The number of full-time fire-fighters employed in fire and rescue services by each fire and rescue authority on 31 March (a) 1998, (b) 2001, (c) 2005 and (d) 2008 are shown in the following table.
|Fire and rescue service fire-fighters in post (full-time equivalent and in 24-hour units of cover) by authority at 31 March 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008|
|Whole - time( 2)||Retained( 3)||Whole - time( 2)||Retained( 3)||Whole - time( 2)||Retained( 3)||Whole - time( 2)||Retained( 3)|
|(1) Strength figures as at 1 January 1998.|
(2) Including all whole-time shift systems in full-time equivalents.
(3) In 24 hour units of cover.
(4) With effect from 1 April 2007, Devon fire and rescue service and Somerset fire and rescue service merged to become Devon and Somerset fire and rescue service.
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