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22 Jun 2010 : Column 161Wcontinued
Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the monetary value of local authority funds which will no longer be ring-fenced in 2010-11; and for what reasons changes have been made to that estimate since 24 May 2010. 
Robert Neill: The total of £1.7 billion used the latest published information for local government available prior to the announcement on 24 May of the efficiency savings to be found in 2010-11. The list of grants which will be de-ring-fenced takes account of the changes proposed by departments. The £1.7 billion also mistakenly included two grants where further work identified this funding as already providing local authorities with flexibility for local decisions on the use of that funding.
Non-schools ring-fencing has still reduced from 10.6% to 7.7%. The coalition agreement makes clear that Ministers want to signal a fundamental shift of power and end the era of top-down government by giving new powers to local councils. The Government will phase out the ring-fencing of grants to local government. Decisions on this will be taken in the context of the next spending review.
The CLG capital grant for private sector renewal (£300 million) was included as ring-fenced when it has now become clear that there is no control on local authority spending. A smaller Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (£29 million) was also included but this grant ended in 2008-09 and is therefore irrelevant to any calculations to provide a reduction in ring-fencing.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on providing relief for small businesses arising out of the late billing of the business rates for financial year 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: The collection of business rates is carried out by local billing authorities, under the framework set out in the Local Government Finance Act 1988. Authorities are under a duty to collect business rates diligently. Any application for Small Business Rate Relief received before 30 September 2010 can be backdated for the financial year 2009-10 provided the eligibility requirements are met.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether he has made an assessment of the merits of each of the recommendations of the Rugg Review of the private rented housing sector; 
(2) what steps he plans to take in response to the recommendations of the Rugg Review of private rented sector housing. 
This Government are committed to ensuring an appropriate balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants. We have carefully considered the recommendations of the Rugg Review of the private rented sector. But we think that the existing legislative framework for the sector already achieves the right balance. We, therefore, have no plans
to introduce further regulation. However, we continue to consider other issues highlighted by the Review, including the potential for greater investment in the private rented sector.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for the future of tenant deposit schemes. 
Grant Shapps: I have no plans to change the requirement for landlords to protect any deposits taken under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. The three existing schemes operate under contracts which come to an end in April 2012. We will, therefore, take steps to ensure that schemes are in place which enable landlords to meet their obligations beyond April 2012.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the adequacy of the regulations in place for residential letting agents. 
Andrew Stunell: Residential letting and managing agents are not currently subject to specific mandatory regulation, although, in common with all commercial organisations, they are bound by overarching fair trading legislation. There are three well established voluntary regulatory schemes which provide effective protection for consumers. I am keen to work with the industry to explore how consumers can be made more aware of the advantages of using an agent who belongs to one of these schemes.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations he has received on (a) the Rugg Review of private rented sector housing and (b) the future regulation of the private rented sector. 
Grant Shapps: Since 16 May 2010, my Department has received three representations relating to the Rugg Review of the private rented sector and five concerning future regulation of the sector.
Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has with regard to the unadopted regional spatial strategy for the South West. 
Robert Neill: We are committed to abolishing regional strategies and returning decision making powers on housing and planning to local councils without the framework of regional housing numbers and plans. The Secretary of State has written to all local authority leaders and the Planning Inspectorate confirming the Government's intention and that letter can be used as a material consideration in planning decisions.
In general, policies and proposals of the once emerging regional spatial strategy for the South West carry little weight. Evidence that informed the preparation of the regional strategy may be a material consideration depending on the facts of the case and what weight may be attached is a matter for an individual decision maker.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport are on the social housing list; and if he will make a statement. 
Grant Shapps: There are 7,842 households on the council's waiting list compared with 5,999 in 1997.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he received from the Department of Health on the likely effects of his decision to end the ring-fencing of money for the national stroke strategy; what meetings were held between Ministers in his Department and in the Department of Health on the matter before the decision was taken; if he will place in the Library a copy of each item of correspondence received from the Department of Health on the matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 16 June 2010]: The Coalition Agreement sets out that the Government will phase out the ring-fencing of grants to local government. The decision by the Department of Health to end the restrictions on a number of grants, including the National Stroke Strategy, as part of the measures announced by the Chancellor on 24 May for over £6 billion of savings in 2010-11 to reduce the fiscal deficit, provides local authorities with the flexibility to continue to deliver essential frontline services.
By removing the ring-fencing of grants, we are giving councils more freedom to direct funding to the most high priority areas that local people want-including increasing support for social care if this is a local wish.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions he has had with chief constables on their powers in relation to unauthorised traveller encampments; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: The Secretary of State has had no recent discussions with chief constables on their powers in relation to unauthorised traveller encampments.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to bring forward proposals to increase the powers of local authorities and the police in relation to unauthorised traveller encampments; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government are reviewing this matter and announcements will be made in due course.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations he has received on the powers of local authorities and the police in relation to unauthorised traveller sites; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: As at 17 June 2010, 50 letters from members of the public, 18 items of ministerial correspondence and one petition have been received in Communities and Local Government on issues related to local authority and police powers to address unauthorised Traveller sites.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian assistance his Department is providing to assist following the recent floods and landslides in Bangladesh. 
Mr Duncan: The recent floods and landslides in Bangladesh have had tragic consequences, with thousands of people affected. The UK provides continuing support to the Government of Bangladesh for its planning and response to disasters, including £12 million to the Government's Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) (2009-14). Last month DFID facilitated a co-ordination meeting of the Bangladesh Consultative Group on Disaster Response, chaired by the Government of Bangladesh, to discuss how to respond to the needs of the flood-affected people. Local non-governmental organisations are currently responding to those needs and we continue to monitor the situation. Additional work is required to protect those at risk from further landslides. This work will be carried out under the DFID-supported CDMP mentioned above.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department provided to the Fairtrade Foundation in each of the last three years; and for what purposes it provided that funding. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) provided £386,504 and £140,100 in direct grants to the Fairtrade Foundation in 2007-08 and 2008-09 respectively. This was for (a) work to further develop mainstream markets for Fairtrade certified products in the UK; and (b) a Fairtrade Schools scheme to use Fairtrade as an example of sustainable development in schools and school communities.
In addition the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) provided £220,627 and £91,543 of DFID funding to the Fairtrade Foundation in 2008-09 and 2009-10 respectively. This funding was used to review certification and licensing processes and to develop new products to come into Fairtrade.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what payments his Department has made to Marie Stopes International for (a) abortion, (b) family planning and (c) other reproductive health services in the last 12 months; how much he plans to allocate to Marie Stopes International for those purposes in each of the next three years; what recent assessment he has made of the value for money of such expenditure; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr O'Brien: Funding to all UK Civil Society Organisations is published annually in 'Statistics on International Development', which is available in the Library and on the Department for International Development (DFID) website at:
In 2008-09 the DFID provide £770,000 to Marie Stopes International through four Civil Society Challenge Fund grants. The 2009-10 figures will be published in September 2010. DFID does not classify spending under the categories requested and this information cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. Additional payments can also be made through country offices and partners supporting reproductive and maternal health programmes.
It is a major priority for the UK Government to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to modern family planning methods and promoting women's choice, in the developing world.
DFID is currently reviewing its bilateral and multilateral development assistance to ensure effectiveness and value for money. Funding to Marie Stopes International for the next three years will be reviewed under this process.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the effects of the security situation in Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan on UK aid to the region. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: Currently the Department for International Development (DFID) provides support to Balochistan and Sindh provinces mainly through federal level programmes, principally within the health sector. These programmes are implemented by the provincial governments. To date, the programmes have not been affected to any significant degree by security issues. This is kept under review as part of our risk management procedures.
We are also considering the future shape of the programme in Pakistan as part of the bilateral aid review.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales who had had (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four, (e) five, (f) six, (g) seven, (h) eight, (i) nine and (j) 10 or more previous abortions had an abortion in 2009. 
Anne Milton: The information we can provide is shown in the following table. The Department has withheld data where there are totals of less than 10 (between 0 and 9) cases as we believe the disclosure of this information could breach an individual's confidentiality. This is in accordance with the Office for National Statistics guidance on the disclosure of abortion statistics (2005).
|Number of previous abortions by strategic health authority of residence, 2009|
|Number of previous abortions|
|Strategic health authority||0||1||2||3||4||5 or more||Total|
|(1) Suppressed value less than 10.|
Number of previous abortions are grouped where totals are less than 10 (between 0 and 9) or where a presented total would reveal a suppressed value from previously published data.
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