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The HCA's Single Conversation process reflects the importance of supporting local economic development and employment through investment. The Single Conversation guidance emphasises the need for Local Investment Plans to address poverty and socio-economic inequalities through strategies for employment protection and creation and by providing training and apprenticeships. HCA reports that 1,107 apprenticeships have been created through RSL partnerships.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress his Department has made in its consideration of the proposal made by Westminster city council under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 on temporary accommodation targets; and if he will make a statement. 
Barbara Follett: The Government are consulting the Local Government Association (LGA) in its role as selector under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 and are seeking to reach agreement on which of the 199 short-listed proposals, including that submitted by Westminster city council, should be implemented. Many of the proposals are complex and raise significant practical issues but the Government are anxious to make progress as quickly as possible on those proposals that offer practical benefits and new ways of meeting local needs.
A series of official-level meetings took place in January between the LGA and Government Departments to consider the proposals, and further work is now under way to follow up the issues raised in those discussions.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) funding and (b) guidance his Department has provided to local authorities that have made proposals that have been shortlisted for consideration under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
On 9 July 2008 statutory guidance on submitting proposals was published as part of the Statutory Guidance on the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007-"Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities".
On 14 October 2008 the Secretary of State issued an invitation to local authorities to submit proposals. At the same time, the Department wrote to all local authorities giving an indication of the likely approach of Government to decisions on short-listed proposals.
John Healey: Towns and cities can play a big role in tackling climate change. Many local authorities in towns and cities have set themselves targets to reduce emissions in response to National Indicator 186. We have set out our expectation of how planning authorities in towns and cities can plan new development to ensure carbon emissions are reduced in our Climate Change Planning Policy Statement (PPS) and we will shortly be consulting on a revision to the PPS. As part of the Eco-towns Programme we have set out sustainability standards for eco-towns in our eco-towns PPS. These include the requirement that the developments as a whole must be zero-carbon. We are working with nine groups of local authorities and individual local authorities to pilot the concept of local carbon frameworks, a new approach for local authorities to set themselves ambitious targets and plans for reducing carbon emissions.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the oral answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 14 July 2009, Official Report, column 69WH, on Travellers, what his Department's definition of (a) fairness and (b) equality is in relation to planning applications for sites for Gypsy and Traveller caravans. 
Mr. Malik: Fairness and equality, in relation for the planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller sites, means that the law is applied equally to Gypsies and Travellers and to those of the settled community; any proposal for development must be considered purely on its planning merits taking account of all relevant planning matters.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance (a) his Department and (b) the Planning Inspectorate has issued on the length of time a (i) Traveller and (ii) demonstration encampment may be in place before it is deemed permanent for planning purposes; and how long temporary encampments may be in place before becoming rateable for (A) council tax and (B) business rate purposes. 
Mr. Malik: The Planning Inspectorate has issued guidance on the length of time a (i) Traveller or (ii) a demonstration encampment may be in place before it is deemed permanent or authorised. The guidance issued by the Planning Inspectorate is in the form of the Inspectors Handbook, which covers professional planning matters dealt with by Inspectors. Annex E of ODPM Planning Circular 01/2006 'Planning for Gypsy and Traveller sites' states that planning permission may not be required for any development if the use of the land has been established over a period of time without valid planning enforcement action have been taken by the local authority.
No guidance has been issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government or the Planning Inspectorate on the length of time a temporary encampment may be in place before becoming rateable for council tax or business rates. No minimum period is defined by statute. It is established rating law that a transitory occupation of land does not amount to rateable occupation. Whether the necessary permanence of occupation has been established for liability to arise will depend on the facts in each case.
A Traveller(1) or demonstration(2) encampment can become permanent, and authorised, for planning purposes through the express grant of planning permission for such a use, unencumbered by a condition limiting its use to a specified period, or by the imposition or removal of an appropriate condition attached to an existing planning permission by the formal process set out in s.73 and 73 A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The only other means by which a use of land can become lawful is where it continues, uninterrupted and in essentially the same form, for a period of 10 years and the evidence exists to prove that this has occurred, on the balance of probabilities, such that a Certificate of Lawful Development under s.191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 can be granted. In a similar way a use can become immune from enforcement action under S.171B of the 1990 Act after a period of 10 years, if a local planning authority has not taken enforcement action before that time.
(1) Assumed to mean the occupation of a site by Travellers for residential purposes.
(2) Assumed to mean an unauthorised use of land for demonstration purposes.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether unmet need for traveller sites is a material consideration in the planning process when considering a retrospective application of the development of an unauthorised Traveller site. 
Mr. Malik: ODPM Circular 2001-06 Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites confirms that unmet need for Gypsy and Traveller sites is one of several material considerations which decision makers should take into account when determining planning applications. The material considerations relevant to a retrospective application for the development are no different for those submitted prospectively.
Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of people who have attended A4e meetings have found work within six months of the inception of the A4e contract in (a) England, (b) the East of England, (c) Bedfordshire and (d) Mid Bedfordshire constituency. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the follow-up work to the Health and Safety Executive's
(HSE) Asbestos Management in Schools survey; how many visits by the HSE to local education authorities have been made following the survey; and when she estimates the HSE follow-up work will be completed. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 24 February 2010]: HSE inspectors are in the process of visiting the local authorities which were identified through the questionnaire survey, that is, those local authorities which did not provide sufficient information to demonstrate the adequacy of their arrangements for properly managing asbestos in system-built schools. In total 45 LAs have been identified for visit and to date 14 of these have been visited with three further visits scheduled. The remaining visits are scheduled for completion during March and April.
Besides any specific actions required at the time of visits by inspectors in individual cases, an overall assessment of the collective findings will rapidly be made by HSE, and the findings shared with others to ensure that necessary remedial actions are taken.
It is essential that all schools have arrangements in place to actively and competently manage asbestos whenever it is present. HSE will continue to work with the local authorities, DCSF and schools to ensure that schools both understand their legal responsibilities and act on them.
John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of the cases under consideration by the Child Support Agency involve absent parents in (a) Scotland and (b) Glasgow East constituency. 
Helen Goodman: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.
pension credit, or
income-related employment and support allowance that includes a work-related activity or support component.
income support, or
income-based jobseeker's allowance, or
income-related employment and support allowance in the assessment phase,
a pensioner premium, or
a disability premium, or
a child who is disabled, or
a child under the age of five,
1. A benefit unit consists of a single person or a couple. The number of individual pensioners who have been helped by cold weather payments is greater than 4,000, because both members of a couple benefit unit have gained from the payment.
2. The figure has been rounded to the nearest 1,000.
Sources: Analysis of 5 per cent. sample data for pension credit, income support (for recipients with a pensioner premium), jobseeker's allowance (for recipients with a pensioner premium) and the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (100 per cent. data), all for May 2009, and DWP records of cold weather payment triggers.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in (a) the Royal Borough of Kingston and (b) Kingston and Surbiton constituency have been in receipt of council tax benefit in each of the last three years. 
Helen Goodman: The available information is in the tables. Statistics on council tax benefit recipients are derived from the single housing benefit extract (SHBE), which is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems, and which replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. Geographic breakdowns are available at regional and local authority level, but have not yet been developed for smaller geographical areas such as parliamentary constituencies.
|Number of families where at least one person is aged 60 or over receiving council tax benefit in The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames: August 2007|
1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Council Tax benefit totals exclude any second adult rebate cases.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count taken in August 2007.
|Number of families where at least one person is aged 60 or over receiving council tax benefit in The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames: November 2008-09|
1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Council Tax Benefit figures exclude any Single Adult Rebate cases.
4. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and November 2009 is the most recent available.
Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE)
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many jobs formerly undertaken by staff of her Department have been outsourced to external companies in each of the last five years; and to which companies. 
63 staff under the Record Storage contract awarded to Capita in March 2004;
610 staff under the Review of Office Services contract awarded to Haden in September 2006;
15 staff under the Print and Associated Services contract awarded to iON in February 2007.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) agencies and (b) non-departmental public bodies for which her Department is responsible sell information on a commercial basis to (i) companies or individuals in the private sector and (ii) other organisations. 
Jim Knight: Government Departments and agencies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) that have Crown status make most of their non-personal information available for free re-use under the PSI Click-Use Licence to other public bodies, commercial organisations and individuals.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not charge for the provision of such information. DWP currently publish a range of such information in official publications, such as research reports and statistical publications, via the internet, which are available free of charge. Prior to internet dissemination of such publications, these were only available as paper copies for which a nominal charge was made to cover costs. Paper copies of statistical publications are no longer available to purchase as they are available to download free of charge; some paper copies of research reports are still held in the Department and are made available to the public free of charge if requested.
In general, most of DWP's NDPBs do not sell such information on a commercial basis. However, there are two instances where a charge may be levied by the non-departmental public bodies for the provision of information:
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