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21 Jun 2010 : Column 24Wcontinued
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the effect on Harrow of proposed reductions in local government funding. 
Robert Neill: We have asked local authorities to make a contribution of £1.166 billion to the £6.2 billion of cross-Government savings in 2010-11 to enable the Government to take immediate action to start to tackle the fiscal deficit. The reduction in grants for which final allocations had been announced for the London borough of Harrow is £1.291 million. This is a reduction of 0.5% compared to their overall main revenue grants allocation.
Local authorities are free to make their own decisions about where savings are found. We have ensured that councils have the flexibility to take decisions locally on how to deliver the savings needed without impacting on essential frontline services.
Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 June 2010, Official Report, column 239W, on local government: public consultation, which individual and organisations he plans to consult informally. 
As soon as we have considered the detailed options for delivering our commitment to help communities to save local facilities, we will be in a position to identify those who it will be important to consult informally on those proposals. However, I can assure the hon. Member that we will be consulting
other Government Departments, representatives of local government, including in particular the Local Government Association, representatives of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, representatives of the commercial property and small business sectors and the relevant professional bodies. I will be happy to let him have a list in due course, and would welcome any particular suggestions he would like to make.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his proposals to abolish regional spatial strategies, whether existing planning policy statements (PPS) will be retained; whether the principles set out in PPS1 will still apply; whether local development frameworks will continue; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: In the Coalition Agreement the Government stated that it will publish and present to Parliament a simple and consolidated national planning framework covering all forms of development. An announcement on how we propose to take forward the national planning framework and the implications for specific areas of planning policy will be made in due course.
We are absolutely committed to abolishing Regional Strategies. We are keen to move in advance of legislation and are currently considering revoking Regional Strategies ahead of taking legislation through Parliament. We will make a statement in due course. We are also committed to giving neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live. In the light of this we will review some elements of the local development framework system to ensure it reflects our policy on decentralisation and a simpler planning system.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the oral answer of 10 June 2010, Official Report, columns 455-56, on regional spatial strategies, from what date local authorities will be able to retain council tax receipts in respect of new housing for which they have granted planning permission; whether all such tax receipts will be sent to the local planning authority, with particular reference to district councils in two-tier areas; for how many years those authorities will receive such receipts; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government intend to provide incentives for local authorities to deliver sustainable development, including for new homes and businesses as set out in the coalition agreement. We will bring forward proposals to commence at the earliest opportunity.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his letter to council leaders of 27 May 2010 supersedes the advice to Planning Inspectorate inspectors contained in paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of Regional Strategies - Forthcoming Abolition; by what process he plans to abolish regional strategies; what representations he has received from housebuilders and their representative organisation on guidance on continuing application of regional strategies; whether he plans to issue further guidance on the matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: The Planning Inspectorate's note does not supersede the Secretary of State's letter of 27 May, it sets out advice to inspectors on how to deal with decision in the light of the Secretary of State's letter. Provisions to abolish regional strategies will be in the Government's localism Bill. We are very keen to move quickly and are currently considering the implications of revoking regional strategies ahead of taking legislation through Parliament.
We have received representations from house builders and the Home Builders Federation regarding the implications for house building and transitional arrangements. We will make a statement shortly and plan to issue advice on the implications of abolishing regional strategies.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Government plans to reply to the (a) Second and (b) Third report of the West Midlands Regional Select Committee of Session 2009-10. 
Robert Neill: Yes, the Government will be responding to these reports in the near future.
Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of operating the Standards Board for England and Wales since 2005. 
Robert Neill: The grant provided to the Standards Board since 2005 is as follows:
|Standards Board for England grant-in-aid (£000)||Adjudication Panel for England (£000)||Total cost (£000)|
|(1) From 2009-2010 onwards responsibility for the Adjudication Panel for England (now known as First-tier Tribunal (Local Government Standards in England)) transferred to the Ministry of Justice.|
For 2010-11, as we announced on 10 June, we are requiring savings of £1.45 million from the Standards Board and will be confirming their resulting budget shortly.
The conduct of local authority members in Wales is a matter for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in respect of how many traveller encampments in each (a) county, (b) metropolitan and (c) unitary local authority area legal powers were used to move the encampment on in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Andrew Stunell: The data requested are not held by Communities and Local Government.
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, on what basis he has concluded that there is only limited evidence the Working Neighbourhoods Fund has been effective. 
Robert Neill: We are unable to prove the effectiveness of Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) because there is little or no evidence on the outputs/outcomes associated with the fund. WNF is paid as part of the area-based grant. The fact that the fund is un-ringfenced means that outputs/outcomes are not monitored; and hence we are unable to evaluate its impact.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities are to have a reduction in funding allocation per head of population from the Working Neighbourhoods Fund in 2010-11. 
Andrew Stunell: The Working Neighbourhoods Fund is paid as part of area based grant. All local authorities that are eligible for working neighbourhoods fund have received a reduction in their area based grant funding. Where revenue grants to local authorities have been reduced, no local authority will face a reduction of more than 2% overall. Wigan will receive a reduction of 0.8% (£2.92 million) in their total main revenue grant allocation for 2010-11. Local government will be free to make their own decisions about where savings are found. We have ensured that councils have the flexibility to take decisions locally on how to deliver the savings needed.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the URL is of each website managed by (a) her Department and (b) each non-departmental public body and agency for which her Department is responsible. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA, including our non- departmental public bodies and agencies, currently manages 82 websites. The URL for each is set out in the following table. As part of the Transformational Government Website Rationalisation process, we anticipate that around 57 of these will close by April 2011.
Current URLS expected to close by April 2011
Current URLS expected to remain beyond April 2011
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