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Holocaust Memorial Day

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government have taken to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2010; and if he will make a statement. [313933]

Mr. Malik: The Government fund the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a registered charity, to co-ordinate a national event to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day every year. The Trust also supports and co-ordinates local events across England, Wales and Scotland.

This year was a significant milestone, representing the 65(th) anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day was "The Legacy of Hope"-people learning from the past, to give hope for the future. Several hundred people, including many survivors, gathered at the national event in London, to listen to the testimonies of victims and survivors alike. Tens of thousands of people gathered at hundreds of local events drawing on the same theme.

I was also pleased to open a Topical Debate on the subject of Holocaust Memorial Day in the House on 28 January this year, in which many hon. and right hon. Members from all sides participated.


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Housing: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions the Government have had with (a) Coventry City Council, (b) Warwick District Council and (c) others on the allocation of 33,500 new homes as part of the regional housing strategy in Coventry. [314695]

Mr. Malik [holding answer 2 February 2010]: The draft regional spatial spatial strategy (RSS) submitted to Government by the West Midlands regional assembly in December 2007 included an allocation of 33,500 new homes for Coventry and indicated that some of the allocation could be made within Nuneaton and Bedworth and Warwick districts. This had been subject to consultation and was agreed by the local councils. Officials have regularly met and discussed the delivery of these homes with the councils as they prepare their core strategies, which provide a district level plan for the distribution of future housing development. Officials have also participated in discussions on the issue at the examinations of the RSS revision (April-June 2009) and the Coventry core strategy (November-December 2009). A wide range of parties was involved in those discussions.

Housing: South West

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) social and (b) affordable homes there were in each planning authority area in the South West in each year since 2005. [316053]

Mr. Ian Austin: The term "social homes" has been interpreted as being local authority and registered social landlord social rented dwelling stock. This information is collected centrally by local authority area rather than planning authority area.

Information on local authority dwelling stock by local authority for each year since 1994 is shown in live table 116 on the Communities and Local Government website at the following link:

Information on registered social landlord dwelling stock by local authority for each year since 1997 is shown in live table 115 on the Communities and Local Government website at the following link:

Local Government Finance

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of undertaking local economic area assessments. [314971]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department published a full impact assessment for the local authority economic assessment duty in December 2008. This informed our consideration of the additional burdens likely to fall on local authorities resulting from the new duty. The Government are committed to ensuring that all new
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burdens falling on local authorities are fully and properly funded so that there is no upward pressure on council tax bills. Additional funding for the local authority economic assessment has been provided through Area Based Grant.

A copy of the impact assessment will be deposited in the Library of the House.

Local Government: Cornwall

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what cost savings have been made in local government in Cornwall since the date of its reorganisation; what estimate (a) his Department and (b) the Boundary Committee made of such savings prior to reorganisation; and if he will make a statement. [314981]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett) gave on 20 January 2010, Official Report, column 381W to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps). The Boundary Committee made no estimate of such savings prior to reorganisation in Cornwall.

Local Government: Fixed Penalties

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many powers granting or augmenting the ability of local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices his Department has introduced since May 2005. [314945]

Barbara Follett: Since May 2005, we have provided local authorities with powers to issue fixed penalty notices in the following areas: breach of duties in relation to the provision of home information packs under Part 5 of the Housing Act 2004; and breach of duty in relation to Energy Performance Certificates, Display Energy Certificates or Air Conditioning Inspections or Reports under Regulations 40 and 43 of the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.

Local Government: Norfolk

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from the Boundary Committee on the level of support in Norfolk for the creation of a single unitary authority in the last three months; and if he will make a statement. [314972]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Boundary Committee's advice to the Secretary of State of 7 December 2009, which includes its advice on the likelihood of its alternative proposal for a unitary Norfolk delivering the outcomes specified by the broad cross section of support criterion, is available in the Library of the House or on the Committee's website at:


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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate (a) he and (b) the Boundary Committee has made of the level of savings made by (i) district councils and (ii) other local authorities in Norfolk since the financial year 2007-08. [314984]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Before taking his statutory decisions on the unitary proposals before him for Norfolk, the assessments which the Secretary of State will make will include an assessment of the likelihood of each proposal, were it to be implemented, delivering the outcomes specified by the affordability criterion. In making this assessment, he will have regard to financial data, including data on savings, provided by the councils concerned to the Boundary Committee and to him, and to any assessment of this data by the Committee's or his independent financial consultants.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment (a) he and (b) the Boundary Committee has made of support among residents for a new unitary authority for Norfolk. [314986]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is now carefully considering the Boundary Committee's advice, all the representations he has received, including those of Norfolk residents, and all other relevant information, before taking his statutory decisions about whether to implement any of the unitary proposals before him for Norfolk, with or without modification, or to take no action. In their advice to the Secretary of State of 7 December 2009 the Boundary Committee has noted that in Norfolk there was a strong level of support for retaining the current local government arrangements and where it received support for a county unitary authority this has come from across the county and from a variety of key stakeholders.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department has taken to update the financial information on which the Boundary Committee based its advice for unitary status in Norfolk. [314991]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The independent financial consultants whom the Department have appointed have analysed the financial data available on each of the unitary proposals for Norfolk, including comparing data provided originally by councils and modelled by the Boundary Committee with 2008-09 accounts and 2009-10 budgets.

Local Government: Reorganisation

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the net effect on public expenditure of introducing unitary local authorities in England. [316002]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Our pre-Budget report makes clear that measures to reduce duplication and inefficiency between different tiers of local government will contribute to the £11 billion a year of savings which, as announced in that report, will be delivered by 2012-13. The nine new unitary councils established on 1 April 2009 show the capacity for savings with estimated savings either
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directly attributable to the transition to unitary local government or facilitated by it totalling some £159 million included in their 2009-10 budgets.

However, we have no plans for further programmes of invitations under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to councils in two-tier areas to submit unitary proposals. We recognise that in some specific cases in the future there might be areas where circumstances are such as to warrant a focused and targeted invitation to councils concerned, and the 2007 Act allows for this.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what formula is applied to determine the number of councillors in a new unitary authority area established to replace a two-tier structure; what the recommended range for the number of electors per councillor in a non-metropolitan unitary authority is; and if he will make a statement. [314973]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Electoral arrangements, including the number of councillors in each local authority, are generally matters for the Boundary Committee for England and the Electoral Commission (from 1 April 2010 the Local Government Boundary Commission for England), and there are no recommended ranges for the number of electors per councillor. It is open to the Secretary of State to include in any structural change Order, implementing a unitary proposal, provision for electoral arrangements to apply pending any electoral review by the Boundary Committee. When including such provision the Secretary of State will have regard to the number of electors per councillor in other similar unitary councils and to any representations he receives on the matter.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with which (a) elected councillors and (b) council officials (i) he and (ii) officials of his Department have met since January 2009 to discuss proposals for local government reorganisation in Devon, Norfolk and Suffolk. [314974]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Since January 2009, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, my ministerial colleagues and I, and officials in Communities and Local Government, have had a range of meetings with councillors and council officers from Devon, Norfolk and Suffolk as part of our usual business, during which the issue of local government restructuring may have been raised.

Since 8 December 2009, when the period for representations to be made to the Secretary of State about the Boundary Committee's advice began, meetings with affected local councils have taken place for representations to be made on the unitary proposals or for discussions on possible transitional arrangements.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett) and I met the following councillors and officers during this time:

Devon

Devon County Council:


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East Devon District Council:

Exeter City Council:

Mid Devon District Council:

North Devon District Council:

South Hams District Council:

Torridge District Council:

West Devon District Council:

Norfolk

Norwich City Council:

Breckland District Council:

Broadland District Council:

Great Yarmouth BC:

King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council:

North Norfolk District Council:

South Norfolk District Council:

Suffolk

Forest Heath District Council:

Ipswich Borough Council:


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