Mike Weatherley: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what progress has been made on the reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and if she will make a statement. 
Lynne Featherstone: We intend to reform the Equality and Human Rights Commission to focus it on its core regulatory and human rights functions, and provide better value for taxpayers' money. Our plans for doing this include legislative proposals which we are preparing in the context of the Public Bodies Bill, currently in the other House. We intend to consult on our proposals early next year.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2010, Official Report, columns 81-82W, on ethnic minorities, who the members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women Councillors Task Force have been in each year since it was established. 
Lynne Featherstone: The cross-party Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Women Councillors Task Force consisted of 16 current and former councillors representing all the main political parties and all the regions in England, in addition to Wales and Scotland. The taskforce was set up in May 2008 until July 2009 and membership of the group did not change over this period. The taskforce members were as follows:
Councillor Lurline Champagnie (Harrow)-Conservative
Councillor Maya de Souza (Camden)-Green
Councillor Meral Ece (Islington)-Liberal Democrat
Councillor Dr Anwara Ali (Tower Hamlets)-Labour
Councillor Lorna Campbell (Lambeth)-Labour
Councillor Humaira Khan(Windsor and Maidenhead)-Liberal Democrat
Councillor Mimi Harker (Chiltern District)-Conservative
Carol Francis(Former Cllr, Gloucester)-Labour
Councillor Sherma Batson (Stevenage and Hertfordshire)-Labour
Councillor Manjula Sood (Leicester City)-Labour
Councillor Salma Yaqoob(Birmingham City)-Respect
Councillor Svetlana Rodgers-Liberal Democrat
Councillor Mia Jones (Chester City)-Liberal Democrat
Thea Khamis (former councillor Derwentside)-Labour
Councillor Yvonne Jardine (Swansea)-Labour
Neelam Bakshi (former councillor)-Labour.
This information is in the public domain through the BAME Women Councillors Taskforce Report. To find further information please click the following link for the full Report:
Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities when she expects the gender pay gap to be closed. 
Lynne Featherstone: In 2009, the gap between full-time men's and women's median earnings was 12.2% rising to 22% when comparing median earnings for all men and women. The Government do not produce a forecast of the gender pay gap and has made no assessment as to when the gap will close. The Government are committed to tackling the gender pay gap and is taking a range of measures to improve women's position in the labour market including making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable, extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, consulting on a new system of parental leave, and promoting gender equality on company boards including asking Lord Davies to fully investigate the issue.
Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will publish each representation she has received relevant to her decision not to implement section 1 of the Equality Act 2010. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government have received a small amount of correspondence on this issue, as they do on most issues. As the correspondence was mostly from individuals, and not in response to a public consultation, I have no plans to publish it.
Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will publish each representation made by the public bodies listed in section 1(3) and (4) of the Equality Act 2010 on compliance with the duty under section 1. 
Lynne Featherstone: The previous Administration released information regarding their engagement with the public bodies referred to. I have received no such representations.
Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities whether she plans to bring forward proposals to repeal section 1 of the Equality Act 2010. 
Lynne Featherstone: I have made clear that the Government are not implementing the duty. We are exploring opportunities to repeal it, which would require primary legislation.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any papers held by his Department relating to the Irish arms crisis and subsequent trial have not yet been published. 
Mr Paterson: The events in question pre-date the creation of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) in 1972. The NIO does not hold any papers on the issue.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what expenditure her Department incurred on sponsorship in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. 
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many EU directives are pending transposition into domestic legislation by her Department; and what estimate she has made of the cost of each such transposition. 
Mr David Jones: There are no EU directives pending transposition into domestic legislation by the Wales Office.
Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much her Department spent on entertainment activities related to the 2010 FIFA World cup. 
Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on entertainment activities related to the 2010 FIFA World cup. 
David Mundell: The Scotland Office has not spent any money on entertainment relating to the activities of the 2010 FIFA World cup.
Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the future of the post office network in Scotland. 
David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have regular exchanges with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues. The Government are committed to a stable and sustainable post office network and through the Post Office Bill we will be putting the Post Office on a more secure financial footing.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 16 November 2010, Official Report, column 658W, on universities: visits, on what date he plans to visit the university of Edinburgh; and how many (a) special advisers, (b) civil servants and (c) press officers he expects to accompany him on that visit. 
Michael Moore: I plan to visit the university of Edinburgh early in the new year and will have the appropriate level of official support on the day.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations; and what matters were discussed. 
David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland has met representatives from the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations on a number of occasions. Among the topics discussed were unemployment and welfare reform, fiscal and tax issues relating to that organisation and the wider voluntary sector.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the proposed new affordable homes to be built in the next four years he expects to be built in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) London; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he plans to take to meet levels of need for social housing in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Wolverhampton South West constituency. 
The Department does not forecast levels of future house building, and delivery will be determined by local housing plans. In the spending review we announced investment of over £6.5 billion in housing. This includes over £2 billion to make existing
social homes decent and almost £4.5 billion investment in new affordable housing to deliver up to 150,000 affordable homes. We are giving housing associations much more flexibility on rents and use of assets, so our aspiration is to deliver as many as homes as possible through our investment and reforms. On 22 November we published our consultation document "Local decisions: a fairer future for social housing" which set out our plans for radical reform of the social housing system. We will be publishing further details on affordable rent in the new year.
The New Homes Bonus, subject to consultation, also will provide additional financial incentives for building more affordable homes.
Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many units of social housing were (a) built and (b) sold in (i) the North East and (ii) Redcar constituency in each year since 1997. 
Andrew Stunell: Information for the north-east region and for Redcar and Cleveland local authority is provided in the following table.
The new build figures are based on the Department's affordable housing statistics which include homes built for social and intermediate rent and for low cost home ownership. Not all affordable housing is provided through new build completions as supply can also come from the acquisition and refurbishment of private sector homes.
The sales of social stock are sales of dwellings owned by local authorities or registered social landlords that are sold to sitting tenants (through right to buy, right to acquire and social homebuy) and registered social landlords stock sold to non-sitting tenants through low cost home ownership products.
Sales generated within a financial year may not correspond directly to the supply of new build homes shown in the table for the same year as they may have been built in a preceding year. Shared ownership sales are counted in the figures at the point of purchase of the initial share purchased only. The figures exclude demolitions and also disposals of registered social landlord stock to the private sector.
|New build affordable homes supplied||Sales of social stock|
|North East||Redcar and Cleveland||North East||Redcar and Cleveland|
The figures are rounded to the nearest 10 homes.
New build homes from Homes & Communities Agency; Sales from local authorities (LA sales) and the Tenant Services Authority (RSL sales).
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what processes his Department plans to put in place to (a) inspect, (b) evaluate and (c) audit arm's length management organisations following the abolition of the Audit Commission. 
Andrew Stunell: We have abolished the Audit Commission reflecting the Government's commitment to reducing regulatory burdens on local authorities. In future it will be for local authorities to consider whether the performance of their arm's length management organisations should be evaluated by inspection.
Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) evidence his Department took into account and (b) methodology his Department used in determining its forecast of £50 million saving arising from the abolition of the Audit Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: As we stated in the 13 August announcement, we forecast savings of £50 million a year, having regard to the Commission's published annual reports and audited accounts, and recognising that in future councils will be able to appoint their own auditors from a more competitive and open market among audit firms.
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 8 November 2010, Official Report, column 30W, on charity shops, if he will consider the merits of introducing powers for local authorities to regulate the (a) number and (b) location of charity shops in their areas. 
Robert Neill: The Use Classes Order is concerned with the land-use impacts of development rather than the owner or occupier of the premises. The order is intended to be a deregulatory mechanism which removes unnecessary applications from the planning system because the impacts would be minimal or similar to the pre-existing development. It is not the role of the planning system to give preference to one type of retailer over another.
As I outlined in my previous answer, charity shops deliver a public benefit to society. Singling them out for extra regulation and effectively banning them from opening would be a disproportionate and heavy-handed statist intervention.
Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish (a) the research referred to in paragraph 3.20 of his Department's consultation paper on reform of council housing finance and (b) the working papers produced as part of his Department's review of council housing finance. 
Andrew Stunell: The research and working papers from the previous Government's review of council housing finance were published on my Department's website in July 2009. They are available at:
Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to publish a draft revised Circular 8/95 on the operation of the Housing Revenue Account ring-fence. 
Andrew Stunell: We intend to publish a policy document with full details of our proposals for Housing Revenue Account reform in January. This will include our policy on the operation of the ring-fence.
Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to allow local authorities to spend all receipts under right to buy legislation on Housing Revenue Account housing. 
Andrew Stunell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Bob Russell) on 23 November 2010, Official Report, column 197W.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many private landlords in (a) England, (b) Hyndburn and (c) Haslingden have been required to pay council tax arrears by local authorities in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Robert Neill: This information is not held centrally.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any (a) civil servants and (b) politically appointed staff in his Department have been disciplined since 8 September 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: Six civil servants and no politically appointed staff in the Department for Communities and Local Government have been disciplined since 8 September 2010.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what legal costs were incurred by his Department in the case of CALA Homes v Secretary of State. 
Greg Clark: Costs are currently a matter before the courts. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 52W, to the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Mr Watson), on costs relating to legal issues inherited from the previous Administration.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire stations there were on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many fire stations he expects there to be in 2015. 
Robert Neill: Latest data are for 31 March 2010, and these show that there were 1,438 fire stations in England.
The future provision of fire stations is for individual fire and rescue authorities to determine in accordance with integrated risk management planning, with resources being allocated on the basis of the evaluation of local risk.
I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 25 October 2010, Official Report, columns 88-89W, outlining how fire and rescue authorities can make savings without impacting on the quality or breadth of services offered to their communities.
Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his plans are for future Fire Service (a) provision and (b) control centres in (i) East Anglia and (ii) Suffolk. 
Robert Neill: The future provision of fire and rescue services, including prevention, protection and response measures, is for individual fire and rescue authorities to determine in accordance with integrated risk management planning, and resources being allocated on the basis of the evaluation of local risk. In this way local requirements are determined by local people according to local circumstances.
The provisional local government finance settlement for the period 2011-12 will be announced in December, as in previous years. This includes the provisional grant allocations for fire and rescue authorities in East Anglia. Fire and rescue authorities will then set their budgets taking into account the amount of grant that they will receive and the income that they can raise through council tax.
The FiReControl project, initiated by the last Government, is over-budget and behind schedule. In June this year we activated a key milestone in our contract with the main contractor, EADS (now branded Cassidian), for delivery of the FiReControl project. This required EADS to complete the main system in three control centres by mid-2011.
Because their record has not improved on delivery of the project, we informed EADS on 8 November that we consider them to be in material breach of their obligations under the contract and required them to remedy the position in 20 working days.
As with all major Government projects, FiReControl is being reviewed to ensure value-for-money for the taxpayer. We have been clear that EADS must deliver to time, cost and quality. The new Government are committed to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer, improving resilience and stopping the forced regionalisation of the fire service.
Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire stations there were in (a) Cleveland, (b) County Durham and Darlington, (c) Northumberland and (d) Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service area (i) on the latest date for which figures are available and (ii) in each of the last five years; and how many new stations were built in each area in each of those years. 
Robert Neill: The numbers of fire stations in Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service areas are shown in the table for the latest date for which centrally held figures are available and in each of the last five years.
|Number of stations in Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear at 31 March 2006 to 2010|
|Fire and Rescue Authority||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
Annual Returns in DCLG/Chartered Institute for Public Finance Accountancy (CIPFA).
Numbers of new fire stations and fire station closures were also collected for each Fire and Rescue Service until 2009. These showed no new station and no closures during 2005 to 2009 in each of these areas.
Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) whole-time and (b) retained fire fighters were employed by (i) Cleveland, (ii) County Durham and Darlington, (iii) Northumberland and (iv) Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Robert Neill: The numbers of (a) whole-time and (b) retained fire fighters employed by Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services for 2009-10 are shown in the table.
|Whole - time and retained firefighters (headcount) employed by Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear in 2009-10|
|Fire and Rescue Authority||Whole - time||Retained|
Annual Returns to DCLG
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made a recent estimate of the effect on insurance costs consequent of a fire of the time taken by firefighters to reach the scene of that fire. 
Robert Neill: Estimates for the relationship between response times and property losses have been made, and these are available in the report, "Review of Fire and Rescue Service Response Times" available on the DCLG website at:
Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many deaths from fire were recorded in (a) Cleveland, (b) County Durham and Darlington, (c) Northumberland and (d) Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service area in each of the last five years. 
Robert Neill: The latest statistics for deaths from fire in (a) Cleveland, (b) County Durham and Darlington, (c) Northumberland and (d) Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service area are shown in the table.
|Deaths recorded in FRS areas Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear 2005-06 to 2009-10( 1)|
|FRS area||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09( 2)||2009-10( 1)|
(2) Revised provisional
Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics Databases, DCLG
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding he plans to allocate to the prevention of homelessness in each year of the spending review period. 
Grant Shapps: We have protected homelessness grant funding, with £400 million over the next spending review period to support the most vulnerable and tackle homelessness. Preventing homelessness grant allocations to local housing authorities for 2011-12 will be announced alongside the provisional local government finance settlement in early December.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the bidding system for prospective tenants operated by housing associations; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: Research into the longer term impacts of choice based lettings (CBL) was carried out by Heriot Watt university for the Department for Communities and Local Government and the report of the findings, "Monitoring the longer term impacts of choice based letting", was published by the Department in October 2006. The research assessed the impacts of choice based lettings across a range of issues, including tenancy sustainment, community cohesion, tenant mobility, demand for social housing and cost-effectiveness, and the report included the following findings:
in the context of multi-ethnic areas, choice based letting tends to reduce rather than compound ethnic segregation
outcomes for homeless households are largely positive, eg under choice based lettings they are more likely to be housed in high demand areas
choice based lettings generates improved tenancy sustainment
choice based lettings encourages applicants to think more flexibly about their housing choices
choice based lettings set-up costs can be off-set by housing management efficiencies.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions he has had on the effect of the New Homes Bonus Scheme on areas with high numbers of empty properties in (a) Hyndburn constituency and (b) elsewhere; and what steps he is taking to bring such empty properties into use. 
Grant Shapps: On 12 November the Government launched a consultation on the New Homes Bonus which includes the option of including empty homes within the scheme. The consultation is available at:
This could provide local authorities with a powerful incentive to tackle empty homes as part of their overall approach to meeting housing need. There have been no discussions specifically in relation to Hyndburn but we would welcome views of all those with an interest in this consultation which ends on 24 December.
In addition we will provide £100 million for housing associations and local authorities to bring over 3,000 empty homes back into use as affordable rented housing. This will enable local authorities to tackle the most difficult properties by providing renovation works and management support.
We are also working with the Homes and Communities Agency and with "Empty Homes" (a leading charity) to help ensure that local authorities have the information and expertise they need to take enforcement action where necessary.
Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) private, (b) local authority and (c) registered social landlords new build housing completions there were in (i) each year from 1990 to 2009 and (ii) in 2010 to the latest date for which figures are available. 
Andrew Stunell [holding answer 25 November 2010]: The latest annual figures showing how many new build housing completions there were in all calendar years, 1946 to 2009 are shown in live table 244 on the DCLG website. These split total house building completions by tenure, including completions by private owners, local authorities and housing associations. 'Registered social landlords' are now referred to as 'housing associations'.
More recent quarterly figures for new build completions (Q1, Q2 and Q3 in 2010) were published in live table 213 in November 2010. These quarterly figures are for England only.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many residential properties in (a) Greater London and (b) England owned by local authorities are empty. 
Andrew Stunell: In 2009 there were 9,300 vacant dwellings in total owned by local authorities within Greater London. In the same year in England there were in total 34,600 vacant local authority dwellings.
Figures on vacant local authority dwellings are available from the DCLG website, linked as follows. Table 611 shows numbers of local authority vacant dwellings by region, based on returns to DCLG. Figures for 2010 will be published on 30 November 2010.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward the announcement of the Local Government Grant Settlement in order to give local authorities more time to prepare their budgets for the 2011-12 financial year; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: We will announce our proposals for the local government finance settlement in the usual manner, giving local authorities sufficient time to set budgets, in due course.
Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which statutory duties and requirements upon local authorities he plans to rescind. 
Robert Neill: The Government are committed to reducing centrally imposed barriers and burdens on local authorities such as legislation, guidance and other forms of prescription. DCLG will work with the local government sector to identify and assess these with a view to removing those which are unnecessary.
I also refer my hon. Friend to my answer on the regulatory burdens already removed which was given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr Redwood) on 24 November 2010, Official Report, columns 304-05W.
Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of (a) 6 September and (b) 20 October 2010 on MK Electrical Devices and Systems. 
Andrew Stunell: A reply was sent to my hon. Friend on 15 November 2010.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will provide for a simplified application form for renewal of homes in multiple occupation licences from spring 2011. 
The Department for Communities and Local Government has no current plans to revise regulations to enable a simplified application form for homes in
multiple occupation licence renewals. The current regulations prescribe the minimum content required for a licence application. Local Government Regulation are providing support to local authorities through the renewal process. However, more broadly, Ministers are happy to receive representations on the potential for reducing red tape and unnecessary form-filling.
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has assessed the merits of merging national park authorities' and local authority planning departments. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued a consultation on the Governance Arrangements for the National Parks and the Broads Authority on 9 November, the consultation concludes on 1 February 2011 and can be found at the following link:
In addition, Ministers believe there is a significant scope for different local authorities to share back office functions, including planning services.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to introduce a third party right of appeal in the planning system. 
Greg Clark: The Government's reforms to the planning system seek to avoid the need for appeals to the Planning Inspectorate by all parties.
Planning permission should be secured by consistency with plans rather than by development control.
The Localism Bill will confirm a new regime of neighbourhood planning to allow local residents' requirements to be set out in plans with which new developments will need to comply.
Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support his Department provides to public houses. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government believes that community pubs are important local assets and they, along with other institutions such as village shops and community centres, play an important role in strengthening community relationships and encouraging wider social action. The Department is currently undertaking a range of actions to support the sector.
As part of our determination to shift power to local neighbourhoods, we aim to ensure through the Localism Bill that community organisations have a fair chance to bid to take over assets and facilities that are important to them, including local pubs. As part of this, we are working with Co-operatives UK to pilot the use of community shares as a means to develop community
finance. A number of community-owned pubs have already used community share issues to develop their business.
The Department is currently considering proposals under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 to prohibit the imposition of restrictive covenants on pubs when they are sold. We intend to make an announcement about this later in the year.
We are also committed to helping firms with business rates: simplifying the process and making small business rate relief automatic; introducing a more generous small business rate relief scheme for a year from October; and considering proposals to give councils powers to levy discretionary business rate discounts-which could, for example, be used to support local pubs.
Support for public houses remains a cross-Government issue and we will continue to work closely with colleagues across Whitehall to champion the place of local pubs as the social heartbeat of life in our towns and villages.
The Government are also to ban the sale of alcohol below cost price, helping protect local pubs from unfair "loss leading" by some shops. Licensing rules will be reformed to make it easier to play live music in local pubs, and the Government have already scrapped the planned 10% rise in cider duties (the so-called cider tax).
Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to increase the availability of access to sharia-compliant financing to facilitate right to acquire purchases from housing associations. 
Andrew Stunell: We do not wish to preclude the use of sharia-compliant finance by social tenants who wish to buy their homes under the right to acquire scheme.
However, the issues raised by such finance are complex and we have not yet found a way to both protect the rights of individuals and provide security for Government funds, under the terms of the right to acquire legislation which requires that ownership of a property passes direct from landlord to purchasing tenant.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on future levels of social housing rents; and if he will make a statement. 
Grant Shapps: My Department has regular discussions at ministerial and official level with the Department for Work and Pensions. These meetings cover a broad range of topics including social housing.
Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 17 November 2010, Official Report, column 807W, on social rented housing: construction, when and in what form more detail on the implementation of new affordable rent tenure will be published. 
Grant Shapps: We are planning to publish guidance early next year on the delivery of affordable housing, jointly with the Homes and Communities Agency.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties in (a) England, (b) Hyndburn and (c) Haslingden do not meet the Decent Homes standard. 
Andrew Stunell: Comparable local and national statistics are available only for social housing. Landlord returns indicate that at 31 March 2010 there were 531 (10.8%) social sector non-decent homes in Hyndburn and 491 (10.7%) in Rossendale. Both these local authorities have transferred their stock. At the same time there were 410,000 (10.2%) social sector non-decent dwellings in England.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of levels of expenditure per 1,000 people on youth services in each local authority in England in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. 
Robert Neill: I have today placed in the Library of the House a table that gives, by each local authority in England, the net current expenditure per 1,000 people on youth education services for the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assets BRB (Residuary) Ltd. holds in each local authority area in Wales; and what plans he has for the disposal of such assets. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 23 November 2010]: Land owned freehold by BRB (Residuary) Ltd. is listed on the company's website at:
It is possible to select sites by county or unitary council area. In addition, the company holds most of the trackbed of the former railway from Crosskeys to Markham on lease.
In total BRB (Residuary) owns 389 bridges, tunnels and other structures in Wales, details of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
BRB (Residuary) is under instruction to continue its strategy to dispose of assets that have no further transport use in accordance with the guidance issued by the Department for Transport (see link).
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the monetary value is of contracts his Department has awarded to each (a) management consultancy and (b) IT company since 7 May 2010. 
Norman Baker: The information is as follows:
|(a) Contract award values- m anagement consultants-7 May to 30 September 2010|
|Supplier||Award value (£)||Organisation|
|(1 )Sir Roy McNulty's Rail Value for Money (vfm) review was established by the Secretary of State in December 2009 as an independent study to look at the cost structure of all elements of the railway sector and to identify options for improving value for money for passengers and the taxpayer. Consultants have been appointed because the use of consultants ensures a level of independence that cannot be achieved and certainly not demonstrated using in-house resources alone. In addition, the work has called for skill sets and knowledge beyond those available within the sponsoring organisations.|
|(b) Contract award values-IT suppliers-7 May to 30 September 2010|
|Supplier||Award value (£)||Organisation|
DFT(c)-Department for Transport (Centre)
DVLA-Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
MCA-Maritime and Coastguard Agency
VCA-Vehicle Certification Agency
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much his Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent from the public purse on influencing public policy through (a) employing external (i) public affairs companies, (ii) strategic consultancies and (iii) corporate communications firms, (b) external marketing and (c) other activities in each of the last 10 years; 
(2) which of his Department's non-departmental public bodies have undertaken activities to influence public policy for which they engaged (a) public affairs and (b) public relations consultants in each year since 1997; and at what monetary cost in each such year. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport was formed in May 2002 and information is provided from that date or the date an agency/non-departmental public body was formed, if later.
None of the seven executive agencies of the Department has spent any money from the public purse on influencing public policy through (a) employing external (i) public affairs companies, (ii) strategic consultancies and (iii) corporate communications firms, (b) external marketing and (c) other activities.
The following non-departmental public bodies have not undertaken activities to influence public policy for which they engaged (a) public affairs and (b) public relations consultants nor spent money from the public purse on influencing public policy through (a) employing external (i) public affairs companies, (ii) strategic consultancies and (iii) corporate communications firms, (b) external marketing and (c) other activities:
Northern Lighthouse Board
Trinity House Lighthouse Service
Renewable Fuels Agency
Directly Operated Railways
Railway Heritage Committee
British Transport Police Authority
Passenger Focus spent £10,662 in 2005-06 and £6,021 in 2006-07 on activities to influence public policy for which they engaged public affairs consultants on advice and support on parliamentary affairs, but no specific activities or lobbying were undertaken. They also spent £18,674 in 2008-09 on employing external public affairs companies for support organising fringe events at party conferences.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to identify those of its services that could be provided through the post office network. 
Norman Baker: The Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) already has a large contract with Post Office Ltd (POL). This includes the long established motor vehicle taxation services and driver licensing services.
DVLA with the central Department, has additionally recently been engaged alongside other Government Departments in the Cabinet Office sponsored meetings to review the potential for POL to provide wider counter services across Government.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the operation of the Freight Facilities Grant. 
Mike Penning: No recent discussions have taken place with the Scottish Government on the operation of the Freight Facilities Grant.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for the Freight Facilities Grant. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport's capital budget (from which Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) is funded) was discussed with the Chancellor and Chief Secretary in the recent spending review.
Following the spending review settlement, we are currently considering what budgets will be available across a number of the Department's smaller programmes (including FFG).
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of (a) fatalities, (b) serious injuries and (c) minor injuries sustained by (i) users of mobility scooters and (ii) people hit by mobility scooters in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: I have discussed this matter with my colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) and with officials as part of a wider consideration of the topic of mobility scooters.
Road casualty statistics do not currently include mobility scooters as a separate vehicle category, so we have no central data on the number of these vehicles involved in accidents although we are aware of specific incidents.
We are also aware that the number of mobility vehicles is on the increase. In 2010, the Department for Transport initiated a survey to help assess the number of mobility scooter users and the extent to which their use may have injured people. I will be considering its conclusions as part of an overall review of the laws governing the use of mobility vehicles. The results of the survey can be viewed on the Department's website at:
Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of (a) 12 October and (b) 10 November 2010 on a constituent, Mr Lilly. 
Mike Penning: A response to the letter of 12 October 2010 was despatched on 18 November 2010. The Department for Transport has no record of the letter of 10 November 2010.
Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to improve access to public transport for (a) blind people and (b) people with other disabilities in (i) the West Midlands, (ii) Wolverhampton South West constituency and (iii) nationally. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport is committed to improving access to transport for all disabled people.
By way of improvements to physical accessibility, national deadlines ranging between 2015 and 2020 are in place for public transport vehicles to meet modern accessibility standards. In addition, I am currently
considering plans for implementation of provisions in the Equality Act 2010 which aim to ensure better levels of wheelchair access to taxis both in terms of availability and assistance. I will be making an announcement in due course.
In the recent spending review, the Government also confirmed their commitment to continue to protect concessionary travel, from which many disabled people benefit.
By 2015, nine rail stations in the West Midlands will receive an accessible, step-free route as part of the Access for All programme. A further 90 stations have been offered funding for a variety of smaller scale access improvements including the installation of tactile surfaces, lighting upgrades, public address systems, signage and automatic doors. In line with the Coalition's localism agenda, it will be for local partnerships-integrated transport authorities working with local authorities and communities to identify solutions for local improvements.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for development of rail freight services (a) in Stockton North constituency and (b) in Teesside; and what his policy is on (i) freight capacity and (ii) rail freight safety in such development. 
Mrs Villiers: The development of rail freight services is commercial matter for the private sector rail freight operators. The provision of freight capacity and rail freight safety are operational matters for Network Rail. Capacity allocation and rail safety is overseen by the independent Office of Rail Regulation.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the level of overcrowding on rail routes in Yorkshire. 
Mrs Villiers: The Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) publishes statistics on passengers in excess of capacity in National Rail Trends (NRT). These figures were updated in July 2010 for London commuter services, and will be published for other regional centres when this information is available.
More detailed crowding information on the requested services may be available directly from the operators at the following addresses:
Northern Rail Ltd., Northern House, 9 Rougier Street, York, YO1 6HZ.
Customer Relations, First TransPennine Express, Freepost, ADMAIL 3878, Manchester, M1 9YB.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what methodology his Department uses to collate data on passenger overcrowding on the rail network in (a) London, (b) non-metropolitan urban areas and (c) metropolitan areas. 
Mrs Villiers: Statistics on train crowding are published by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in the National Rail Trends (NRT) Yearbook, which is available in the House Library, or from the ORR website:
The NRT Yearbook contains 'passengers in excess of capacity' (PiXC) statistics showing overcrowding on London commuter services. Summary statistics on crowding levels into selected regional cities will be released at a later date.
The PiXC crowding measure is derived from the number of passengers travelling in excess of capacity on all services.
The main source of data used to derive the PiXC measure is obtained from the counts carried out in the autumn of each year. These are derived from a mix of manual and automatically generated passenger counts.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent meetings he has had with representatives of the Road Safety Markings Association; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: I met with representatives of the Road Safety Markings Association in my office on 14 October.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of his Department's capital grant for road safety the proposed reduction of £17.2 million in the comprehensive spending review represents; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: As part of the coalition Government's commitment to decentralising power and financial autonomy to local government and communities, the Department for Transport (DfT) is radically simplifying its funding for 2011-12, moving from 26 different grant streams to just four. This has included discontinuing the dedicated capital grant for road safety.
It is for local authorities to decide how to invest the funding support provided in the comprehensive spending review period. The planned Department for Transport funding to support local authorities' capital investments for the period is summarised in the following table. More details have been provided in an answer given to the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts) on 25 November 2010, Official Report, columns 386-87W.
|Total DfT c apital f unding for local authorities (excluding TfL)|
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects on the national road network of an increased frequency
of abnormal weather conditions arising from climate change; and whether he has made an estimate of future resource requirements to ensure network resilience. 
Norman Baker: The Highways Agency manages the strategic road network in England. It has used the latest scenarios from the UK Climate Projections and developed a climate change risk assessment methodology as part of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. This will enable incorporation of climate change considerations into design standards and specifications, routine maintenance, operating procedures, and the development of contingency plans; ensuring that the Highways Agency continues to operate a dynamic and resilient network.
In support of the Adaptation Strategy, the Highways Agency has developed an Adaptation Framework, designed to meet the needs of the network and to address the aims of the adaptation provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008.
The management of local roads in England is a matter for local highway authorities. It is for each authority to assess how the maintenance of their roads should take account of climate change. The Department for Transport has, in conjunction with the UK Roads Board, published "Maintaining pavements in a changing climate". This includes guidance on maintenance practices which improve the resilience of roads to climate change.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has carried out research on the opportunities for use of alternative fuels in taxis; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Transport has not carried out research which looks specifically at the opportunities for use of alternative fuels in taxis. However, the Department has commissioned work to look at
biofuel deployment options across transport modes, including in the road transport sector, which is due to report in the spring.
Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he undertook a cost-benefit analysis of the construction of a Mottram and Tintwistle bypass prior to determining the schemes to be approved under the Investment in Highways and Local Transport programme. 
Norman Baker: The Mottram and Tintwistle bypass scheme was removed from the roads programme by the previous administration in 2009. The Secretary of State's announcement to the House on 26 October and the associated document "Investment in Local Major Transport Schemes", relate only to projects in the current programme and projects submitted to the Department prior to the suspension announced in June 2010. The Mottram and Tintwistle bypass does not fall into either category and therefore was not considered in making the statement of 26 October.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what special grant funding for the national concessionary travel scheme he has allocated to each integrated transport authority for the purpose of its statutory duty to fund the national concessionary travel scheme in each of the last three years. 
Norman Baker: Currently, the bulk of concessionary travel funding that Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs) receive is provided through levies from the relevant local authorities-who receive funding via Formula Grant from Communities and Local Government. The remainder of funding is provided through special grant from the Department for Transport.
ITAs received the following special grant payments from Department for Transport in the last three years:
|2008-09||2009-10||2010-11||Total last three years|
Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to delegate responsibility for regional transport strategy to local enterprise partnerships. 
Norman Baker: Local enterprise partnerships will be free to bring forward their own transport strategies if they so wish.
Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effects of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review on the future viability of (a) sex offender treatment programmes, (b) thinking skills programmes, (c) unpaid work orders, (d) supervision orders, (e) domestic violence interventions and (f) other sentencing options for lower tier offenders in the community. 
Mr Blunt: Internal resource allocations for the spending review 2010 period have not yet been decided, but we have made it clear that we expect savings to be achieved in large part through improvements in efficiency and by stream-lining administration. We will publish a Green Paper before the end of the year, setting out our plans to reform sentencing options and rehabilitate offenders more effectively, which we expect will have a positive impact on the viability of all the disposals and programmes available.
Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what guidance he plans to issue to local authorities on enforcement of new legislative provision in respect of coroners; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of managing the coroner' service in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. 
Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for coroner law and policy only. The financial costs of the coronial service fall to the individual relevant authorities.
We aim to issue improved guidance on important procedures such as the conduct of post-mortem examinations, while supporting the local management and delivery of the service. We will continue to work collaboratively with coroners, their staff, local government, police authorities and the senior judiciary to deliver service improvements.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to provide additional assistance to those coroners who report a lack of adequate facilities in 2010-11; and when he plans to bring into force those provisions in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 which relate to such facilities. 
Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for coroner law and policy, but no operational role in the service delivered by coroners. Local authorities (and, in some districts, police authorities) are responsible for funding and staffing the coroner service.
My officials will continue to work with local and police authorities, and the Coroners' Society to ensure that coroners have access to appropriate facilities to hold inquests as part of their investigations into sudden and unexpected death.
In my statement of 14 October 2010, Official Report, columns 37-38WS, I set out our proposals for taking forward coronial reform. We are reviewing what provisions within the 2009 Act we may commence, and this will include provisions which relate to staff and accommodation.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many individuals were prosecuted for the offence of dog fouling in each local authority area in England in each of the last five years; 
(2) how many individuals were given a fixed penalty fine for the offence of dog fouling in each local authority area in England in each of the last five years. 
Mr Blunt: The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts in England for offences under section 3 of the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, from 2005 to 2009 (latest available) can be viewed in the table.
Figures are presented for police force area in England as data held on the Ministry of Justice's Court Proceedings Database are not available at local authority area level.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) advise that records on fixed penalty fines for the offence of dog fouling are not held centrally and would need to be obtained from each separate local authority.
Court proceedings data for 2010 are planned for publication in spring 2011.
|Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences under section 3 of the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, by police force area, England, 2005 - 09( 1, 2, 3)|
|Police force area||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009|
|(1 )The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) Only those police force areas are shown where data have been reported.
Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what terms of reference have been set for the feasibility study on the future of the Land Registry; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Djanogly: The feasibility study is tasked with identifying the opportunities for private sector involvement in the Land Registry.
The project is expected to deliver a written study that will contain sufficient detail to enable Ministers to make a decision on the future direction of Land Registry in early 2011, so that any financial benefits may be realised within the 2010 spending review period.
The completed study should fully articulate all of the potential benefits, costs, risks, issues and legislative requirements that may follow from the options for private sector involvement. The work will identify the steps required and time frames for the execution of the necessary transition for each of the future business model options explored and any alignment or conflict with wider government initiatives.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many organisations in each constituency have legal aid contracts (a) in total, (b) for criminal work only, (c) for civil work only and (d) for criminal and civil work. 
Mr Djanogly: I understand that the Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not hold this information in the format requested.
The LSC has contracts with 1,750 solicitors firms for criminal legal aid work in England and Wales. Some of these firms provide services in a number of different locations. I have placed in the Library a table showing the number of criminal legal aid providers in each local authority area in England and Wales.
It is not possible to answer this question in full in respect of civil legal aid contracts at this time. Following the tender process undertaken earlier in the year, the LSC has awarded contracts for all civil categories of law except Family (and Family with Housing) that came into effect on 15 November 2010. The LSC is currently finalising the contract documentation, after which time the final number of organisations delivering services under these contracts will be available by procurement area and access point. It is currently estimated that there will be in the region of a thousand contracts in total for non-family civil legal aid, some of which will be with organisations with multiple locations and/or for multiple categories of law. I will write to you once the final information is available.
Tenders for Family and Family with Housing services were set aside following judicial review proceedings by the Law Society. At the end of financial year 2009-10, there were 2,434 offices with family legal aid contracts and numbers of family providers will be broadly consistent with this as family providers continue to operate under the Unified Contract (Civil) which was introduced on 1 April 2007 and has been extended until 30 November 2011.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the (i) financial and (ii) social effects of withdrawing the availability of legal aid for cases relating to education provision. 
Mr Djanogly: The Department did not commission research, or carry out a formal evaluation of research. Although an impact assessment was published with the consultation paper on 15 November and can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at:
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the effects of the implementation of his proposals for the future of (a) legal aid and (b) conditional fee agreements on the cost to the public purse of very high cost cases in the spending review period. 
Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice published initial Impact Assessments and Equality Impact Assessments alongside the consultation papers "Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales" and "Proposals for Reform of Civil Litigation Funding and Costs: Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations" which were published on 15 November 2010, available at:
The proposals on which we are consulting, which cover every aspect of legal aid, including scope, eligibility, remuneration and very high cost cases, will radically reform the system. They will aim to tackle the spread of expensive and unnecessary litigation into everyday society at taxpayers' expense. The Government accept Lord Justice Jackson's assessment that the costs of civil litigation are too high and that the current arrangements impact disproportionately on defendants.
Final impact assessments will be published alongside the Government response to both consultations next spring.
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