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10 Jun 2010 : Column 237Wcontinued
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for funding to local authorities to modernise council housing in each of the next three years. 
Andrew Stunell: Future funding for the tackling the capital investment backlog in council housing will be decided in the context of the Government's Spending Review. The Government are in addition continuing with the consultation on the reform of the financing for council housing.
Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what ministerial directions overruling the Accounting Officer of his Department have been issued in the last 12 months. 
Robert Neill: In the last 12 months, ministerial directions were issued in relation to two decisions: the decision on the Exeter and Norwich unitary proposals; and the proposal to purchase Blackpool Leisure Assets. I have placed a copy of the correspondence between the Accounting Officer and the Secretary of State in relation to this issue in the Library of the House.
Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to retain the opt-out of the EU working time directive for retained fire crews; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: This Government committed in the coalition agreement to limit the application of the working time directive in the United Kingdom. We recognise the essential flexibility that the opt-out brings and will stand firm on its retention.
Losing the opt-out from the averaged 48-hour maximum to the working week set by the EU working time directive could have a serious impact on fire and rescue services. In particular, it would greatly reduce the hours which many on-call Retained Duty System fire-fighters, who provide around 90% of operational cover geographically across the United Kingdom as a whole, could be available for duty because many already work full time for a primary employer.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from the building industry on in-year changes to his Department's expenditure on housing construction in 2010 following the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement on in-year changes in public expenditure on 24 May 2010. 
Andrew Stunell: The Department is in regular dialogue with the construction industry, registered social landlords and developers, and there have been ongoing discussions regarding the savings that the Department is making on housing construction.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effects on (a) levels of employment and (b) the number of apprenticeships in the construction sector of in-year change to his Department's expenditure on housing consequent upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement on in-year changes in public expenditure on 24 May 2010. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government have announced £100 million of savings from the National Affordable Housing Programme and £50 million from the Kickstart Programme. Using the industry standard formula of 21 jobs and one apprenticeship per £l million investment spend, the effect of these savings will equate to 2,100 fewer jobs and 100 fewer apprenticeships through the NAHP and 1,050 fewer jobs and 50 fewer apprentices through Kickstart.
However, £500 million out of the Government's £6.2 billion savings announced on 25 May is being reinvested to further education, apprenticeships and social housing. This will include £150 million to fund 50,000 new apprenticeship places, focused on small and medium enterprises and £170 million to safeguard delivery of around 4,000 otherwise unfunded social rented homes to start on site this year, protecting 3,500 jobs and prioritising provision for the most vulnerable.
Christopher Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to bring forward proposals to assist local communities to retain local facilities; and what consultation he plans to have on the development of such proposals. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government's broad plans are set out in "The Coalition: our programme for government", and more detailed proposals will be published in the Decentralisation and Localism Bill in the autumn, after we have consulted informally with all those with an interest across the sectors.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how he has decided the 12 English cities in which he will provide for elected mayors; which cities they are; in what local authority areas the elected mayors will have powers; and when the referendums will take place. 
Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Chris Leslie) on 9 June 2010, Official Report, column 174W.
Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations he has received on protection of the rights of private tenants; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: I have received four such representations. I have also received six representations about the rights of landlords. The sector is made up of around 1 million landlords with 3 million tenanted properties.
Stella Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department have had with London and Quadrant Housing Association on (i) the future of Walthamstow Dog Track and (ii) regeneration of the London borough of Waltham Forest in the last three years. 
Stella Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department issues to registered social landlords on the time period within which they must begin development of assets after acquisition in order to qualify for public subsidy for such development. 
Andrew Stunell: This Department does not issue guidance to registered social landlords on the time period within which they must begin to develop assets after acquisition to qualify for public subsidy.
This Department provides funding to registered social landlords (RSLs)/registered providers (RPs) of affordable housing through the Homes and Communities (HCA) who administer the National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP). The HCA sets out in their Prospectus and the Affordable Housing Capital Funding Guide (AHCFG) requirements for obtaining funding from the NAHP.
When seeking grant through the NAHP, RSLs/RPs must set milestones including start on site and practical completion dates as part of their bid. HCA monitors the RSLs/RPs, performance against these milestones. Grant is paid to RSLs/RPs on start on site and practical completion (i.e. when those milestones have been achieved). Where projects are delayed, the RSL/RP must re-forecast the milestone and the HCA will decide whether to accept the revised forecast. If delays are significant, and might impact on delivery of the HCA's programme and achievement of targets, it will consider withdrawing funding for the scheme.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of new (a) local authority and (b) housing association dwellings to be constructed in each west midlands borough in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: We do not make estimates of the number of new housing association dwellings that will be constructed in future years. Similarly we make no estimates for local authority dwellings constructed with their own resources. However this Department is currently supporting a number of local authorities to deliver new council houses through a dedicated funding programme. Work on over 283 houses has already begun in the west midlands and will complete over this financial year and the next.
We are committed to the provision of affordable housing and are reviewing budgets across all CLG and HCA programmes. The position will be clarified in the Budget on 22 June.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the effects on his Department's expenditure in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13 of the immediate abolition of the ContactPoint database. 
Tim Loughton: We have made clear our firm intention to end the ContactPoint database as soon as practicable. As we do so, we intend to consider the scope for a more proportionate approach to protecting children most in need. We shall make a further announcement in due course. The impact on the Department's existing expenditure plans will be determined in the light of those decisions.
Mr Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to implement the policies contained in his Department's recent Green Paper on early intervention. 
Tim Loughton [holding answer 8 June 2010]: The Paper contained examples of effective practice that other local areas may wish to consider. Any future decisions on early intervention policy will be advised on in due course as part of the Government's broader strategy for children, young people and families.
Christopher Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding his Department (a) has allocated and (b) intends to allocate in the next 12 months in respect of relationship support. 
Tim Loughton: The Department for Education is currently providing funding of more than £7 million in grants for 2010-11 to support a range of voluntary and community sector family organisations that provide relationship support.
Decisions on the allocation of funding for the next 12 months have not yet been taken.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission what steps are being taken to (a) recover and (b) re-use parliamentary ICT equipment provided to hon. Members in the last Parliament who were defeated at the general election. 
Sir Stuart Bell: The ICT equipment loaned by Parliament and used by previous Members not returning to the House is being retrieved. Where there is re-sale value, this equipment will be sold in order to reduce overall costs to Parliament, otherwise it will be disposed of environmentally. In both cases, all data and software will have been securely removed.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers are employed by his Department; and at what Civil Service pay grade in each such case. 
Mr Duncan: The White Book, published by the Central Office of Information (COI) every six months, contains details of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) press team and pay grades.
With reference to special advisers, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Prime Minister on 3 June 2010, Official Report, column 99W.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any domestic properties in the gift of the Government have been allocated to the use of Ministers in his Department. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not allocated any domestic properties for the use of Ministers.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding he intends to allocate to (a) the development of local democratic institutions, (b) civil society groups, (c) media and enterprise and (d) efforts to tackle corruption in the next 12 months. 
Mr Duncan: In the coming months, the Department for International Development (DFID) will be reviewing its aid programmes to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Allocation of funding for the development of local democratic institutions, civil society groups, media and enterprise and efforts to tackle corruption will be determined as part of the review, on a country by country basis.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much and what proportion of his Department's budget was allocated in ways that do not fall within the OECD's definition of aid in the last 12 months. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: The latest available figures are for calendar year 2009, during which 2.5% (£164 million) of the Department for International Development's (DFID) total spend was non-ODA eligible. This includes an estimated £122 million of expenditure through the EU budget to pre-accession states.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development to which countries his Department allocated funding in the last 12 months; and whether he plans to (a) withdraw funding from any such country and (b) commence funding to any new country. 
Mr Duncan: Details of the level of aid provided to individual countries in 2008-09 were published in "Statistics on International Development", which is available on the Department for International Development's (DFID's) website at;
Provisional details of the 2009-10 programme will be published in the annual report in July and final details in "Statistics on International Development" later in 2010.
In the coming months DFID will be reviewing its aid programmes to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards the MDGs. Decisions on future allocations to countries will be taken during this process.
Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria he used in his decision to end the five grant arrangements intended to engage the British public in development matters. 
Mr Duncan: The highest priority for the Department of International Development (DFID) is to ensure that aid money is spent on activities that deliver real results on the ground in developing countries to reduce poverty. To this end, an initial review was conducted of those areas of expenditure where the link between project activities and poverty reduction in the developing world was least demonstrated. In this context, four projects within the Development Awareness Fund (DAF), and a festivals outreach project were identified for termination. An estimate of funds saved from the termination of these projects is approximately £590,000. These funds will be redirected to front line poverty reduction in developing countries.
A wider review of this area of work is now being undertaken and further decisions on expenditures in this area will be made in due course.
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