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We have professional finance and contractual expertise to control the budget and manage contracts with suppliers. FiReControl follows the Department's finance and procurement processes. We follow best practice set out by the Office of Government Commerce, who rigorously review the project on a regular basis.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) original and (b) most recent cost estimate is for the (i) Firelink, (ii) Firebuy Integrated Clothing and (iii) FiREControl project. 
Original contract award 29 March 2006: £353 million.
Current estimate, August 2009: £313 million.
(ii) There is no recent separate cost estimate for the Firebuy Integrated Clothing Project. This is one of a number of contracts established within the fire and rescue service procurement remit of Firebuy.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his latest estimate is of the cost to the public purse of the FiReControl project since its inception. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) salary and (b) other remuneration is paid to each chief executive of the new regional fire control companies. 
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 10 December 2009, Official Report, column 586W, on "Fire Services: Finance", what performance targets
officials on the FiReControl project met in respect of which bonuses to justify the bonuses; and which performance targets are used to assess the award of bonuses to officials working on the project. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 7 July 2009, Official Report, column 706W, on fire services: equality, whether any Fire and Rescue Services have targets to increase recruitment of Travellers. 
The 'Fire and Rescue Service Equality and Diversity Strategy' published in May 2008 made it clear that all services in England are expected to promote equality and to seek to improve the diversity within their work force in order to better reflect the communities they serve.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his latest assessment is of the level of flood risk in the Thames Gateway development area; and what recent planning guidance his Department has provided on new-build development in areas of the Thames Gateway at risk of flooding. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on protecting the green belt within the Thames Gateway; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: 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. These policies are applied as vigorously in the Thames Gateway as they are everywhere else.
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 RSSs and LDFs if
the approach proposed is not consistent with PPG2. There are no plans to change the policy set out in PPG2.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Clwyd West of 8 December 2009, Official Report, column 297W, on home information packs, when the 2010 report on the effectiveness of the home information packs programme will be published; by whom the report is being produced; using what methodology; and at what cost. 
We are currently in the process of commissioning the study through the established contract tender process, so the timing and cost have yet to be finalised. I expect the interim results could be available in summer 2010.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what public relations firms are on the Homes and Communities Agency's (HCA) Public Relations Panel; and whether the HCA uses public relation contractors listed in framework agreements with the Central Office of Information. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what occasions his Department has used budget-capping powers in respect of local authorities in the last 10 years; and for what reasons in each case. 
Barbara Follett: Capping action has been taken against 34 authorities on five occasions over the last 10 years. In each case, action was taken because the authorities exceeded the capping principles determined by the Secretary of State.
Mr. Timpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many people resident in Crewe and Nantwich constituency have received funding from the Mortgage Rescue Scheme; 
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, and launched a campaign to ensure households
have clear information about the help available. Over the last year, over 330,000 homeowners have received help and advice with their mortgage, and targeted safety net schemes are available for those in most need. Repossessions, arrears and voluntary repossessions are currently running at around half the rates at which they peaked in the early 1990s.
As part of the monitoring arrangements for the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, headline data for January-September 2009, provided by local authorities and broken down by Government Office Region, are available on the Department's website at:
Figures reported by local authorities are provided in a table, which has been placed in the Library. Data are not collected at constituency level. Data for the October-December period will be published on 11 February 2010.
The Homeowners Mortgage Support scheme was launched in April 2009. Management information on Homeowners Mortgage Support and equivalent forbearance schemes was released by the Department on 9 December 2009. Figures can be accessed using the following link:
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 29 October 2009, Official Report, column 472W, on multiple occupation: licensing, for what reasons the report has not yet been published; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has taken steps to assess the merits of proposals by public authorities in the West Midlands to reduce levels of aggregate extractions. 
Mr. Ian Austin: No. Such assessments will take place as part of the preparation of the Regional Strategy for the West Midlands, and in examining relevant development plan documents by each minerals planning authority.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government of 8 December 2009 to the Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee, on the Business Rate Supplements (Rateable Value Condition) (England) Regulations 2009, Official Report, column 8, how many and what proportion of business properties in London will be exempt from the supplementary business rate following the 2010 rates revaluation; and how much revenue he estimates the supplementary rate will raise in 2010-11. 
Barbara Follett: 231,040 hereditaments, which is 82 per cent. of all hereditaments in London, are assessed with a rateable value of £50,000 or less. These data are consistent with the statistical release titled: "Non-domestic rateable values: 2010 Local Rating Lists-England and Wales", published on 18 December 2009. A copy of this statistical release is available at the following link:
The minimum threshold must be £50,000, although the Mayor of London has the discretion to set a higher threshold exempting additional hereditaments. Final decisions on the level of the supplement and the extent of further exemptions are for the Mayor of London, therefore we cannot estimate the amount of revenue that would be raised.
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to issue guidance to local authorities on the preparation of local impact reports under Section 60 of the Planning Act 2008. 
Mr. Ian Austin: It is for local authorities to decide what is relevant for inclusion in a local impact report and Government do not intend to publish guidance on what they should contain. The Infrastructure Planning Commission will be providing further advice to local authorities as to how they should be presented.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable he has set for bringing forward legislation on the registration of private sector landlords; and which public body would be responsible for the register under those proposals. 
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 proposals for a national register of private landlords. We have been considering the consultation responses received and plan to publish the results shortly.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance the (a) Housing Corporation, (b) Tenant Services Authority and (c) Homes and Communities Agency has provided to social landlords on home working by tenants. 
Mr. Ian Austin: In its Neighbourhood and Community Strategy of October 2006, the Housing Corporation emphasised the value of all housing associations promoting employment opportunities-including residents working from their homes.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) was formed on 1 December 2008, taking over the investment and regeneration responsibilities of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. Provision for
home-working is included in the HCA's guidance for local authorities and other partners on the development of Local Investment Plans ("Single Conversation: Further Information-Local Investment Plan"). This guidance is available via the HCA's website:
Urban design guidance published by the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, and now maintained by the HCA, also includes material on live-work and home-working. This guidance is available online:
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent travel advice he has issued in respect of the security of British citizens to Africa; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues regularly-reviewed Travel Advice notices for 56 countries in Africa. The advice includes information on threats to personal safety arising from political unrest, conflicts, terrorist activities, anti-British demonstrations, lawlessness, violence, natural disasters, epidemics, and aircraft and shipping safety. FCO Travel Advice is reviewed for every country every month and following any significant incident. It is revised and reissued at least every three months. In a developing crisis FCO Travel Advice may be updated several times a day. The FCO website also contains important general information on safety abroad, under the heading 'Know Before You Go' and information on World Cup 2010 can be found there. There is also a link from the FCO Travel Advice for South Africa to that page. FCO Travel Advice is based on objective assessments of the risks to British nationals and is intended to give British nationals the information they need to make their own decisions about travelling to a particular country.
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