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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria (a) his Department and (b) the Valuation Office Agency use for the allocation of a hereditament to (i) the central rating list and (ii) local rating lists. 
Barbara Follett: Valuation officers are responsible for deciding whether a hereditament should be assessed on a local rating list or on the central rating list. The criteria for allocating a hereditament to the central list are contained in the Central Rating List (England) Regulations 2005 SI 2005 No 551. Relevant non-domestic hereditaments which do not fall to be shown on the central rating list are assessed by valuation officers on local rating lists.
The five-yearly business rates revaluations make sure each business pays its fair contribution and no more by ensuring the share of the national rates bill paid by any one business reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. The 2010 revaluation will not raise a single extra penny for Government.
Over a million properties will see their business rate liabilities come down as a result of revaluation. The Government intend to put in place a £2 billion relief scheme to limit the impact on the minority with bill increases. This is on top of the wider support available to help ease business pressures including discounted rate bills for small businesses and deferring tax payments.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the contribution of Lord Davies of Oldham of 2 February 2004, Official Report, House of Lords, column 444, on footpaths and roads: de-icing, whether his Department has provided guidance to local authorities on the personal liability of householders who seek to clear the pavement or highway of ice or snow. 
Barbara Follett: This is a matter for the Department for Transport as it concerns highway issues. As such it would be for the Department for Transport to issue any advice on clearing pavements that run alongside roads.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's dataset Live Tables P109, on development control statistics, whether the data for planning applications which are deemed not to have been granted include applications which have been (a) refused and (b) undetermined within the 13 week period. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Table PI09 shows the number of residential planning decisions, split by major and minor, those that have been granted and those that have been decided within eight weeks (for minor) and 13 weeks (for major).
The table includes only those applications that have been decided. Therefore, applications not granted will include those applications that are undetermined within 13 weeks but which are refused subsequent to this timeframe. Note that the applications decided within a period are not necessarily those that are received within that period.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of planning applications for new housing developments in Halifax have been refused since 2005. 
The number of planning applications decided for new housing development in Calderdale local authority district, and the number and percentage that were refused in the last five years is listed in the following table:
|Residential decisions||Number refused||Percentage refused|
Grant Shapps: 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 22 October 2009, Official Report, column 1647W, on political impartiality, if he will place in the Library a copy of the pages from his Department's staff handbook relevant to politically-restricted activity. 
Mr. Ian Austin: We consulted over the summer on our response to the independent review of the private rented sector carried out by Julie Rugg and David Rhodes of the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York. This included a number of proposals which would require legislation. We have been considering the consultation responses received and plan to publish the results shortly.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Government response to the Rugg Review consultation on the private rented sector, whether the proposed legislation will give Ministers the power to provide for local authorities to take over the management of a landlord's housing stock if a landlord failed to register. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Our response to the Rugg review, published for consultation over the summer, included proposals to set up a national register of private landlords. We have been considering the consultation responses received and plan to publish the results shortly.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of (a) new and (b) affordable homes were built in areas at risk from flooding in each of the last three years. 
|Estimated dwellings built in areas of high flood risk||Percentage of all new dwellings built in areas of high flood risk|
The Environment Agency has statutory responsibility for flood risk management and flood defence in England. It has an important advisory role in all stages of the plan-making process, being a statutory consultee on the preparation of regional spatial strategies and local development plans. Local planning authorities are required to consult the Agency on all applications for planning permission (except for minor development) in areas with a medium or high probability of flooding, or in areas notified as having critical drainage problems (collectively known as "flood risk areas"), and for development on land exceeding one hectare outside flood risk areas.
The Agency also provides advice on the preparation of flood risk assessments at the regional, district/local and development site levels. The Environment Agency can ask for any planning application to which it objects to be called in for decision by the Secretary of State. In addition, the (planning) Consultation Direction requires that planning applications for major developments (e.g., of 10 or more homes, or 1,000 square metres of new floorspace) in flood risk areas where there is an outstanding Environment Agency objection on flood risk grounds, must be referred to the Secretary of State for consideration of whether they should be called in.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 16 July 2009, Official Report, column 655W, on Tony Clements, which Minister (a) authorised and (b) approved the appointment of Mr Clements as a policy adviser in the Strategy and Performance Directorate; 
(2) with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Chichester of 3 November 2009, Official Report, column 8460W, on Tony Clements, under what permitted exception Mr. Clements was appointed as a policy advisor; and whether the Civil Service Commissioners were consulted on that appointment. 
Barbara Follett: Civil service appointments are made by officials. Fixed-term appointments of less than two years are a permitted exception to fair and open competition. There is no requirement to consult the Civil Service Commissioners on permitted exceptions.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Chichester of 3 November 2009, Official Report, column 8460W, on Tony Clements, how many other employees have been appointed in the last three years under permitted exceptions for fair and open competition contained in the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Principles; and what the job title was of each such employee. 
Barbara Follett: Information on the number of employees appointed in the last three years under permitted exceptions to fair and open competition can be found in the Department's Annual Reports. Between 2007 and 2009, there were 157 appointments under permitted exceptions to fair and open competition. This figure excludes secondments out of the Department and those transferred in as a result of machinery of government changes.
|Appointments under permitted exceptions to fair and open competition: 2007, 2008, 2009|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations the Planning Inspectorate has received from Green Planning Solutions in relation to planning appeals for Travellers in the last two years. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Since January 2008, Green Planning Solutions have lodged 75 planning and enforcement appeals in relation to Gypsy and Traveller issues for determination by The Planning Inspectorate. A full list has been deposited in the Library.
Further representations were made by Green Planning Solutions, which led to Matthew Green meeting with Enforcement Procedural staff on 24 February 2009 to discuss general planning and programming matters as well as changes arising from the Planning Act 2008.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Vauxhall constituency, the effects on the constituency of changes to his Department's policies since 1997. 
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many pensioners in Milton Keynes are in receipt of winter fuel allowance; and how much his Department paid to such pensioners in winter fuel allowance in 2009. 
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