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Mr Watson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) political appointments and (b) other personal appointments he has made since his appointment; and at what estimated annual cost to the public purse. 
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated cost is of setting up his office; what the estimated cost is of running his office in its first 12 months; and how many special advisers he has. 
Mr Harper: As was the case with previous governments, Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a range of subjects. Information on my official meetings with external organisations will be published in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister in which local authority areas the chief executive was the returning officer for the parliamentary constituency of that local authority area in the 6 May 2010 general election. 
Mr Harper: In England and Wales the majority of the Returning Officer's duties at parliamentary elections, including the conduct of the election, are carried out by the Acting Returning Officer, who is an electoral registration officer (ERO). The ERO is usually the chief executive of a district or London borough council in England or of a county or county borough council in Wales, although the council may appoint any of its officers to be the ERO. Details of the full-time employment of those individuals in England and Wales who served as Acting Returning Officers are not held by the Government.
In Scotland, Returning Officers for parliamentary elections are officers of local authorities. For the 6 May 2010 general election all Returning Officers were local authority chief executive. The relevant local authority areas were: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, The City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian. In Northern Ireland the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland is the Returning Officer for each constituency in Northern Ireland in the parliamentary general election.
Mr Watson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Chief Parliamentary and Political Adviser has been allocated (a) a ministerial car, (b) a ministerial salary, (c) secretarial support, (d) a private office and (e) a 10 Downing street security pass; and if he will make a statement. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: My Chief Parliamentary and Political Adviser does not have an allocated car and driver and does not receive a ministerial salary in this capacity. As a Government Whip he receives a whip's salary, he has use of the Government car pool service when needed and has access to staff in the Chief Whip's office as appropriate. For reasons of security, the Government do not comment on who has security passes to Government buildings.
Robert Neill: A letter to local authority leaders from the Secretary of State, dated 27 May 2010, set out the Government's commitment to abolishing regional strategies and confirmed that in future housing supply issues will rest with local planning authorities without the framework for regional numbers or plans. The policy change should be regarded as a material consideration in planning decisions, including on local plans. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library of the House.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the provision of funding for all local authority new build housing schemes announced by his Department in (a) September 2009 and (b) January 2010. 
Andrew Stunell: The Homes and Communities Agency will fund through to completion those schemes for which they have entered into a grant agreement with the local authority. Decisions on all other schemes will be made after the Emergency Budget on 22 June.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from local authorities and their representative bodies on the review of the local authority new build programme. 
Andrew Stunell: There is no review of the local authority new build programme. However, the Homes and Communities Agency will not enter into any new or further commitments against its uncommitted budgets until after the Budget in June.
Christopher Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the Exchequer of proposals to freeze council tax in England for one year; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: The Government are committed to a freeze in council tax for at least one year and to seek to freeze it for a further year, in partnership with local authorities. Work is ongoing to estimate the cost of such a freeze and we will make further announcements in due course.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of invoices from suppliers to his Department were paid within 10 days of receipt in (a) March and (b) April 2010. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many
full-time equivalent staff at each civil service grade are employed in the private office of each Minister in his Department. 
|Pay Band 2 (Admin Officer)||Pay Band 3 (Executive Officer)||Pay Band 4 (Higher Executive Officer)||Pay Band 6 (Team Leader)||Senior civil service Pay Band 1 (Deputy Director)|
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. 
Robert Neill: Communities and Local Government does not hold data for its arm's length bodies centrally. Our three Executive agencies have however provided data directly. There would be a disproportionate cost in trying to obtain any further information.
Available data give the following breakdown for the calendar year 2009-10 (provisional). In accordance with HM Treasury guidance a number of staff are funded from programme budgets. These staff are classified as being front-line.
|Front line staff (FTE)||Front line pay cost ( £000 )||Other staff ( FTE )||Other pay cost ( £000 )|
Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many special advisers (a) he and (b) each named Minister in his Department (i) has appointed to date and (ii) plans to appoint. 
Robert Neill: The arrangements inherited from the last Government for Communities and Local Government are: (a) six cars and (b) six drivers allocated to departmental Ministers. This is supplemented by the use of pool cars as needed. These are the interim arrangements.
"the number of Ministers with allocated cars and drivers will be kept to a minimum, taking into account security and other relevant considerations. Other Ministers will be entitled to use cars from the Government Car Service Pool as needed".
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) political appointments and (b) other personal appointments he has made since his appointment; and at what estimated annual cost to the public purse. 
Robert Neill: The Department will publish on its website the contract name, name of successful contractor, contract value and agreed Contract Terms of all departmental contract awards valued over £25,000 by 1 September 2010.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to announce his decision on the relocation of Gloucestershire's fire control operations to the Regional Centre in Taunton; and if he will consult local stakeholders before making such a decision. 
We are looking closely at this project to establish what we can do to improve the situation. We are committed to ensuring value-for-money for the taxpayer, improving resilience and stopping the forced regionalisation of the fire service.
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