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Mr. Ian Austin: The Government have a continuing commitment to the protection of green belt and its crucial characteristics of openness and permanence. Among the policies set out in PPG2 (Planning Policy Guidance Note 2, "Green Belts") to guide decision-makers is a presumption against allowing inappropriate development on green belt land.
Only in exceptional circumstances may green belt boundaries be altered. Any proposal for significant change in green belt area has to be made during the preparation of regional strategy. Any essential adjustment of the boundary of a green belt is for the local planning authority to propose as part of the local plan process. The Secretary of State monitors emerging regional strategies and local plans to ensure they are consistent with national policy. Government offices make representations to the independent examinations of draft Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Frameworks if the approach proposed is not consistent with PPG2. There are no plans to change the policy set out in PPG2.
With regard to Coventry, the draft regional spatial strategy has been examined, including the need and justification for green belt adjustments around Coventry. The panel supported the case made in the draft RSS for green belt adjustments. The Secretary of State is currently preparing his proposed changes to the RSS which will be consulted on in due course.
The Coventry core strategy is currently at examination. The inspector appointed to examine the plan held hearing sessions on green belt matters, and considered evidence to justify the need, or otherwise to release land from the green belt. The hearing sessions ended on 4 December and the inspector's report into the soundness of the document is expected in April 2010.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for development on green belt land his Department has received in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Applications for development, including within the green belt, are made to local planning authorities and not to the Secretary of State. Although the Department does collect aggregate statistics on the numbers of applications, these do not include details of the location of the application, such as within the green belt.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many people have been accommodated by local authorities under severe weather emergency procedures in the last 31 days; 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Department asks all local authorities to have plans in place to ensure that there is cold weather provision for any rough sleepers, so they can be brought in from the street. Severe weather emergency procedures are a matter for individual local authorities and CLG does not keep records.
In addition, in London, CLG fund a cold weather shelter for up to 100 rough sleepers run by St. Mungo's. We have also provided additional resources to Thames Reach's Street Rescue Service which provides a rapid response service to get people off the street.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many mortgages were approved in respect of purchases in the London borough of Bexley in each of the last three years. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities require applicants for independent living adaptations and equipment to disclose former service as armed forces personnel. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Since December 2008 the disabled facilities grant has disregarded both War Pensions Scheme for disablement of 80 per cent. or higher and a constant attendance allowance and capital lump sums through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and guaranteed income payment (tariff level 1-6). This means that they are now not taken into account in the disabled facilities grant means test. All local authorities require applicants to confirm whether they are in receipt of these as Communities and Local Government reimburse local authorities on an actual basis when a grant has been paid to qualifying former service personnel. This is in addition to a disregard for all those in receipt of war disablement pensions or pensions payable to war widows or widowers.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many persons later discovered to be illegal immigrants his Department has employed in each of the last three years. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to require local authorities to publish online details of all expenditure on goods and services costing over £500. 
Barbara Follett: In relation to procurement, local authorities are independent bodies operating within the statutory framework and, where there is no existing requirement to publish such information, it would be for individual authorities to decide whether or not they wished to make available online information about goods and services they have purchased costing over £500.
In December 2009, the Government set up the Local Public Data Panel chaired by Professor Nigel Shadbolt, to promote and champion the public data agenda among local government, encouraging them to publish available data in an accessible form.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what rate of local government (a) cost and (b) wage inflation his Department has assumed for the purposes of calculating grants under the local government finance settlement for 2010-11. 
Barbara Follett: No assumption on the rate of local government cost and pay inflation is made in determining the local government finance settlement. Cost and wage pressures are considered carefully as part of Spending Reviews. Differences in labour and rates costs between areas are reflected in the Area Cost Adjustment.
Over the three years of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review settlement period, Government are providing an additional £8.6 billion to local authorities. This is an average 4 per cent. cash increase per year in funding.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent assessment is of progress made by local authorities in obtaining the return of 100 per cent. of their deposits from the Icelandic Winding Up Board of Glitnir Bank; how much each local authority held in deposits with Glitnir Bank; and what steps are being taken to ensure recognition of UK local authority deposits as a priority claim. 
Barbara Follett: Local authorities are directly represented on the Resolution Committee, which is responsible for the administration of Glitnir bank, including consideration of the issue of depositor preference. The following table gives total investments in Glitnir bank by each local authority in England as at 31 December 2008.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his latest estimate is of the monetary value of efficiency savings local authorities are expected to make in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12; and what proportion of such savings are required to be (i) cashable and (ii) non-cashable. 
Barbara Follett: Local Government has a target to achieve at least 3 per cent. efficiency savings per year over the first two years of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07) period (2008-09 and 2009-10) and 4 per cent. savings in 2010-11. Overall, we expect local authorities to achieve £5.5 billion cumulative savings by the end of 2010-11, of which we expect £3.2 billion to be delivered by 2009-10. Local authorities have recently forecast that they will deliver £3.1 billion cumulative savings by the end of 2009-10. There are no expectations with respect to non-cashable efficiencies in the CSR07 period.
No target has been set for efficiency savings to be delivered in 2011-12. The 2009 pre-Budget report set out the potential for local government to make £800 million savings by 2012-13, of which: £550 million could come from more efficient waste collection and disposal, reducing the burden of inspection, assessment and reporting requirements from across government, and measures to reduce duplication and inefficiency between different tiers of local government; and £250 million from reducing variations in spend on residential care. The pre-Budget report also stated that local government would make a significant contribution towards the £8 billion of operational efficiency programme savings identified for delivery by 2012-13.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 28 October 2009, Official Report, column 471W, on local government: equality, how
much funding has been provided to local authorities (a) under the formula grant system and (b) through specific grants to fund the new burdens imposed by equality and diversity legislation and regulation in the last 12 months. 
Barbara Follett: Parliament has not yet passed the Equality Bill. In the event that it becomes law, the Government would provide funding through the formula grant system or through specific grants as appropriate.
Barbara Follett: The Department does not hold records of the number of people employed by local authorities. The Office for National Statistics collects employment statistics for the public sector including local authorities in England and Wales as part of the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey. Data from this survey have been published with written permission from all local authorities by the Local Government Association on their website and are available at:
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 228W, on local government: pay, if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance on local authority chief executive salaries issued by the Joint Negotiating Committee. 
Barbara Follett: The guidance on local authority chief executives salaries, the Joint Negotiating Committee for Local Authority Chief Executives: 'National Salary Framework and Conditions of Service Handbook, September 2009' is not published by the Department. It is available on the Local Government Employers' website at:
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many residents of (a) West Chelmsford constituency, (b) Chelmsford local authority area and (c) England have received support through the Mortgage Rescue Scheme since its inception. 
John Healey: The Mortgage Rescue Scheme has been operational across England since January 2009. As part of the monitoring arrangements for the scheme, headline data for January to September 2009, provided by local authorities operating the scheme and broken down by Government office region, are available on the Department's website. The figures can be assessed using the following link:
In the current economic conditions, we have acted rapidly to put in place help and support for households struggling with their mortgage at every stage: from free debt advice when problems start, to free support for cases that reach court. Advice is available to all households struggling with their mortgage, with targeted schemes for those in most need.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much net revenue has been raised in business rates in (a) cash and (b) real terms based on 2010 prices in each year since 1997-98. 
The data are taken from the quarterly return of council tax and non-domestic rates returns completed annually by all billing authorities in England and the real terms data are given at 2008-09 prices.
|(1 )Data for two authorities not received in 2004-05|
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