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Decisions about the level of council tax are a matter for individual local authorities. Once an authority has carried out its statutory responsibility of
calculating its budget requirement and its basic amount of council tax for a financial year, legislation allows the authority to make substitute calculations-but in doing so the authority may not increase the level of either its budget requirement or its basic amount of council tax. The relevant provisions are section 37 (in relation to billing authorities) and section 49 (in relation to major precepting authorities) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
This Department has made no assessment of the likelihood of authorities varying their council tax in this way. Like every other part of the public sector we believe local authorities can make significant efficiencies and, if necessary, reduce spending or reprioritise with no effect on council tax or frontline services.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the detailed breakdown is of projects affected by the £1.16 billion reduction in funding for the local government grant settlement announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 24 May; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) which of the specific grants to local government to combat deprivation and unemployment funding will be affected by the proposals announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 24 May; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what individual grants to local authorities he plans to reduce under his Department's planned reduction in spending of £1.165 billion. 
Robert Neill: We are absolutely committed to abolishing regional strategies and returning powers on housing and planning to local authorities and we have announced legislation in the Queen's Speech to do this. We are keen to move in advance of legislation and we are currently considering using existing powers to revoke regional strategies ahead of legislation. The Secretary of State has written to all local authority leaders to confirm this policy saying that in the interim he expects them to have regard to his letter as a material consideration in planning decisions. I have placed a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of new local authority housing association dwellings to be constructed in each London borough in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: We have committed to producing a new National Planning Framework that will consolidate and streamline the Government's planning policies. No decision has yet been made on the extent to which the content of individual circulars will feature in that framework. Further announcements will be made in due course.
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on local participation in planning decisions concerning wind farms; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: We will radically reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live, based on the principles set out in the Conservative Party publication Open Source Planning. We will abolish the unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission and replace it with an efficient and democratically accountable system that provides a fast-track process for major infrastructure projects. We will publish and present to Parliament a simple and consolidated national planning framework covering all forms of development and setting out national economic, environmental and social priorities. To be successful it is vital to have broad public support and the consent of local communities. This includes giving communities not only a say, but also a stake, in appropriately-sited renewable energy projects like wind farms. We will therefore encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced. We will also allow communities that host renewable energy projects to keep the additional business rates they generate.
Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister who attended his recent meeting with Rupert Murdoch; how many civil servants were at that meeting; for what reasons each civil servant was present; and what matters were discussed at the meeting. 
The Prime Minister: As was the case with previous Governments, I and officials have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a range of subjects. Information on official meetings by Ministers with external organisations will be published in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
The Government have committed to ensure that, in future, all NHS service changes must be led by clinicians and patients, not be driven from the top down. To this end, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has outlined new, strengthened criteria that he expects decisions on NHS service changes to meet.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding his Department has allocated for the salary of the Chief Executive of Bassetlaw Primary Care Trust in each of the next four years. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department makes no specific allocation for salaries. Chief executives in primary care trusts are covered by the 'Pay Framework for Very Senior Managers in Strategic and Special Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts and Ambulance Trusts'.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the provision of assistance for those with acquired brain injuries in respect of (a) early and accurate diagnosis, (b) immediate treatment and (c) on-going rehabilitation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Burstow: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published guidelines for the triage, assessment, investigation and early management of head injuries in infants, children and adults in 2003. The guidelines contain recommendations about when it is appropriate to admit patients to hospital following a head injury, what level of care they should receive and correct protocols for transferring patients to specialist head/brain injury units.
We recognise the need for specialised rehabilitation services for people recovering from head and brain injury. These can be provided locally, depending on the needs of the patient and the severity of the injury, and may involve collaboration between health, personal social services, further education and employment services.
The National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions, published in 2005, focuses on improving health services for people with neurological conditions, including those with brain injuries.
George Hollingbery: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to refer his Department's document on cross infection control, reference HTM 01-05, to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for the purpose of checking the (a) evidence base and (b) cost-benefit analysis contained in that document. 
Mr Simon Burns: The document HTM 01-05 contains departmental guidance on the decontamination of dental instruments. The evidence and measures within the document were scrutinised by a number of means in order to ensure validity and proportionality to the assessment of risks. Advice was taken from an expert working group, the Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (SEAC) and the Advisory Committee on Decontamination Science and Technology (ACDST previously ESAC-Pr) who supported the general principle of the need to improve local decontamination within dentistry. In this light, we are not persuaded that there would be added benefit in referral to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what applications have been made for funding for improvement or replacement of the GP premises of Dr Carrie and Partners at Sherburn Surgery, 50 St Hilda's Street, Sherburn, Malton, North Yorkshire in the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) when the next opportunity is for (a) consideration and (b) approval of the development plans of the GP practice for Dr Carrie and Partners at Sherburn Surgery, 50 St Hilda's Street, Sherburn, Malton, North Yorkshire; and if he will make a statement. 
Arrangements for GPs to apply for funding to improve or replace their practice premises are matters arranged locally by PCTs. The hon. Member may therefore wish to contact Jayne Brown, chief executive of the North Yorkshire and York PCT for this information. The address for the PCT is:
North Yorkshire and York PCT
Mr Burstow: This Government's commitment to supporting disabled and disadvantaged people-including those with learning difficulties and learning disabilities-is very clear. We have set out our intention to take decisive steps to accelerate the pace of reform so that all disabled people get the care they need and have more choice and control, ensuring that:
services are personalised to individual needs, with personal budgets giving people choice and control over how their needs are met;
preventative support is given to people when they most need it with health and social care working together to help people stay independent at home; and
carers are helped to provide care and support for friends and family members.
Mr Burstow: As a new Government we have a large number of issues to tackle. The national health service will be backed with increased real resources yet we recognise that there are still efficiencies to be made, however, we intend to make sure front-line services in the NHS as a whole are protected from cuts.
Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the practice of charging women twice for hormone replacement drugs when two different coloured tablets are packaged and dispensed in a single carton; and what his estimate is of the cost of this practice to the NHS in relation to patients who receive free prescriptions. 
Mr Simon Burns: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has outlined the criteria that decisions on national health service service changes must meet. Change must improve patient outcomes; consider patient choice; have support from GP commissioners; and be based on sound clinical evidence. Any major changes to services will require full public consultation. Local NHS organisations will need to make sure any plans for change have local support and meet these criteria.
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