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15 Jun 2010 : Column 366Wcontinued
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what framework will be applied to assess whether or not benefit claimants have complied with the rules on claiming (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) employment and support allowance; and what measures will be put in place to ensure sanctions for those in breach of those rules do not affect their children. 
Chris Grayling: We strongly believe that the welfare state should combine rights with responsibilities. All benefits have basic entitlement conditions (for example, recipients of jobseeker's allowance have to be available to take up full-time work immediately). Those receiving income support or employment and support allowance who are able to prepare for work or make themselves more work-ready are expected to do so as a condition of receiving benefit.
Where the customer fails to satisfy the conditions for receiving benefit a Jobcentre Plus Decision Maker will consider whether a sanction is appropriate. The decision maker is impartial and considers evidence from both the adviser and the customer set against regulations, case law and guidance.
Sanctions are only applied to the individual's personal benefit entitlement-additions for a spouse or partner and premiums for disabled children are not affected; nor is entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit. Child tax credits are unaffected by any sanction. Jobseekers in vulnerable groups who are sanctioned may be entitled to hardship payments, where their jobseeker's allowance is paid at a reduced rate. Vulnerable groups include households where there is a dependent child who may be affected by the imposition of a sanction.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of total carbon emissions reduction target funding was allocated to Wales in each year since the scheme was launched. 
Gregory Barker: The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) is an obligation set at a GB-wide level to achieve savings in the levels of CO2 emitted by householders.
Energy suppliers are free to decide how best to deliver their carbon target by installing approved household energy efficiency measures anywhere across Great Britain, in the manner they consider most appropriate within the rules of the scheme. There are no regional targets or funding requirements.
Energy suppliers do not disclose the levels of support that they provide towards the cost of installed measures and regard this as commercially sensitive information.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps are taken to ensure that funding for (a) carbon emissions reduction targets and (b) the Community Energy Saving Programme is allocated evenly to each constituent part of the UK. 
Gregory Barker: The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) are GB-wide obligations on the six largest domestic energy suppliers (and large electricity generators in the case of CESP) to achieve savings in the levels of CO2 emitted by householders. Individual companies' targets are set by the regulator, Ofgem.
Energy companies are free to decide how best to deliver their carbon target by installing approved household energy efficiency measures anywhere across Great Britain in the manner they consider most appropriate within the rules of the schemes. There are no regional targets or funding requirements.
CESP does designate eligible areas based on the lowest income areas identified by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation. In England this is based on the lowest 10% income areas and in Scotland and Wales the lowest 15%. In total there are around 4,500 designated CESP areas across Great Britain.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much has been spent on underwriting of UK civil nuclear insurance liabilities in the last 10 years. 
Charles Hendry: The purchase of insurance to cover nuclear liabilities is a commercial matter for the nuclear operators.
Government have not provided any underwriting for UK civil nuclear insurance liabilities in the last 10years. Indeed, if Government were to provide such a facility they would do so for a commercial charge.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much the Government has spent on nuclear projects through the European Commission Joint Research Centre in the last 10 years. 
Charles Hendry: The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) is funded directly by the European Commission under the auspices of the Euratom treaty. Therefore the UK has not directly funded any nuclear projects through the JRC.
Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his plans are for the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: The Government are committed to increasing the amount of renewable heat in the UK; this is a crucial part of ensuring we meet our renewables targets, cutting carbon and ensuring energy security.
We are currently looking at the renewable heat incentive (RHI) proposals. Clearly there are benefits to the scheme, but we must also consider the impact of the costs, particularly given the financial constraints we must work within and the potential impact that funding options could have on vulnerable people.
We are aware that there is uncertainty in the renewable heating industry and want to provide certainty and clarity as quickly as possible, but must make sure that we make the right decision.
We will look to make an announcement on the future of the proposed scheme as soon as possible.
Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to create new community land trusts. 
Andrew Stunell [holding answer 14 June 2010]: We are going to introduce community-owned local housing trusts which will enable communities to create new homes for local people. My Department and the Homes and Communities Agency are already working with several existing community land trusts and other community inspired housing groups who are developing schemes for local housing.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if his Department will undertake research into the cost-effectiveness of building of homes (a) by local authorities directly and (b) under private finance initiative schemes. 
Andrew Stunell: Until recently there have been very few homes built by local authorities and no funding provided to them.
Homes being built under the Local Authority New Build programme are subject to a value for money assessment by the Homes and Communities Agency before receiving support and Housing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes also go through key value for money assessments. As part of the comprehensive spending review, my Department plans to assess the value for money of Housing PFI and other delivery routes.
Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what ministerial directions were issued to the Accounting Officer of his Department in the last 12 months. 
Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton (Angie Bray) on 8 June 2010, Official Report, column 237W.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on flying the Union flag each day from each official building for which his Department is responsible. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issues guidance for the flying of the Union flag on UK Government buildings. The guidance encourages the Union flag to be flown 365 days a year, and as a minimum all Departments must fly the Union flag on the 19 special designated days e.g Queen's birthday, Remembrance Day, etc. and other special occasions as required e.g. State Opening of Parliament.
More information on the guidance is available on the DCMS website:
The Department for Communities and Local Government flies the Union flag 365 days of the year from our HQ office Eland House.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any domestic properties in the gift of the Government have been allocated to the use of Ministers in his Department. 
Robert Neill: No Communities and Local Government Ministers have been allocated a property in the gift of Government for use as a domestic property.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. 
Robert Neill: The cost for redundancies in Communities and Local Government for the financial year 2009-10 was circa £69,000.
The Department's agencies are the Fire Service College, QE11 Conference Centre
The estimated cost of redundancies in the Fire Service College for the financial year 2009-10 was circa £480,000. The Planning Inspectorate and QE11 Conference Centre have not had any redundancies.
Iain Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the regionalisation of the fire service. 
Robert Neill: The Government are opposed to the regionalisation of the fire and rescue service.
Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of jobs likely to be lost as a result of the ending of the requirement to use home information packs. 
Andrew Stunell [holding answer 7 June 2010]: It is difficult to make such an estimate. Although HIP providers will be most affected, many may continue to offer other services such as conveyancing, local search provision and the preparation of energy performance certificates.
Our impact assessment of this, however, estimates that sellers of homes will save over £870 million over a 10 year period.
Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable he has set for the full abolition of home information packs. 
Andrew Stunell: We took swift action to suspend the home information pack (HIP) from 21 May and intend to introduce legislation to abolish the HIP later in the parliamentary Session.
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 June 2010, on local government savings package, what the evidential basis is for the statement that the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant has been ineffective. 
Robert Neill: Housing and Planning Delivery Grant was designed to incentivise an increase in housing completions and the delivery of local plans. HPDG was first paid in 2008-09. Since then housing completions have fallen from 174,900 in 2007 to 142,400 in 2008 and 118,000 in 2009. Furthermore, local planning authorities local development frameworks have still failed to appear expeditiously with only 18% of local authorities who have adopted a core strategy in the six-year period after the system was introduced.
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much Hartlepool Borough Council received from the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant in each year that it was available. 
Robert Neill: Housing and Planning Delivery Grant commenced in 2008-09 and Hartlepool borough council received the following awards:
|HPDG award (£)|
Mr Iain Wright:
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 June 2010, on local
government savings package, what incentive schemes he plans to bring forward to replace the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant. 
Andrew Stunell: The Housing and Planning Delivery Grant has proved to be ineffective and excessively complex. We will replace this with incentives for local authorities to deliver sustainable development, including for new homes and businesses.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to revise Planning Policy Statement 3. 
Robert Neill: On 9 June 2010, Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing was re-issued with the following amendments:
The definition of previously developed land in Annex B, now excludes private residential gardens
The national indicative minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare was deleted from paragraph 47.
We have committed, in the Coalition Government document "The Coalition: our programme for government", to 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. We will set out how we intend to do this in due course.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the minimum proportion of affordable housing required in new housing developments. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government does not set a minimum proportion of affordable housing required in new housing developments. Existing guidance in Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing, paragraph 29 asks local planning authorities to set an overall plan-wide target for the amount of affordable housing to be provided and remains unchanged.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the minimum density of new housing developments. 
Andrew Stunell: Local authorities should develop their own housing density policies having regard to Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing, paragraph 46. The indicative minimum density target (30 dwellings per hectare) in paragraph 47 of PPS3 was deleted on 9 June 2010. There is therefore no national minimum density policy.
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