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Disabled People: Rights

Baroness Darcy de Knayth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I refer the noble Baroness to the answer my right honourable friend the Prime Minister gave to my right honourable friend the Member for Manchester Gorton (Sir Gerald Kaufman) in another place on Thursday 14 December 2006, Official Report, cols. 1287-1288W.

EU: Tax

Lord De Mauley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): No. The European Commission has the competence to launch investigations of allegations of illegal state aid. This will usually be triggered by complaints from affected businesses. Her Majesty’s Government will intervene, in support of such complaints, where appropriate.



16 Jan 2007 : Column WA139

There is no six-year time limit on the recovery of illegal state aid. The State Aid Procedural Regulation provides for a 10-year limit.

Firearms: Certificates

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The fees charged for granting or renewing a firearms certificate are calculated on the basis of the average costs of administration and are currently set at £50 and £40.

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There is no statutory right of appeal against certificate conditions although unreasonable additions may be challenged by way of judicial review.

Food: Organic

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:



16 Jan 2007 : Column WA140

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): This Government are strongly supportive of organic food and will remain so, not least for its biodiversity benefits. We place significant value on the contribution made by organic production toward our sustainability objectives. We have provided considerable support to the organic sector in financial aid to organic farmers and through the organic action plan.

Government Offices of the Regions: Costs

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government Office for the East of England is one of nine offices in the Government Office network.

Figures for the number of staff it has employed within the past 10 years are detailed in the table below for March of each year.

Staff in post figures detail the numbers of permanent, fixed term and casual staff who were working in the office at that time. Total headcount figures include additional employees of the Government Office for the East of England who were out of the office for any reason such as career breaks, maternity leave and secondments.

March 1997March 1998March 1999March 2000March 2001March 2002March 2003March 2004March 2005March 2006

Staff In Post

173

169

163

176

178

189

235

271

277

267

Total Headcount

182

183

178

195

189

201

246

290

286

278

Full Time Equivalent

182

175

175

192

170

190

239

277

266

267

Homelessness

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Information about English local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected by the Department for Communities and Local Government in respect of households (rather than people) at local authority level and on a quarterly basis. The department does not hold statistics for the devolved Administrations.

Households that are accepted by English local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need are owed a main homelessness duty by the local authority. Figures for 1995, 2000 and 2005 are provided for England in the table below.

The duty owed to a household accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.



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Applicant households found to be unintentionally homeless and in priority need (i.e. accepted as owed a main homelessness duty)- England

1995

117,490

2000

111,340

2005 (P)

100,170

Note- (P) Provisional data

Other applicant households are found by the local authority to be homeless (some of which may be unintentionally so) but not in priority need, in which case a main homelessness duty is not owed. These are not included in the table.

House of Lords: Water

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Bottled water purchased by the House of Lords is sold for profit in the House's refreshment outlets and provided free of charge in committee and meeting rooms. Water sold in the refreshment outlets is available in 33c1 and 75cl bottles. Water provided in committee and meeting rooms is available in 75cl bottles.

The number of bottles purchased during the past three years is as follows:

For sale in refreshment outletsProvided free of charge in committee and meeting roomsTOTAL

33cl

75cl

75cl

33cl + 75cl

2004

2280

23700

9360

35340

2005

1776

19500

9768

31044

2006

2424

19020

9360

30804

Light Pollution

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The development of guidance on light pollution has had to be accommodated

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alongside other changes to the planning system including the review of land use planning by Kate Barker in December 2006.

The aim is to consult on a draft in summer 2007, taking into account the recommendations of the Barker review about the need to reduce the range of planning policy guidance.

Local Government: Comprehensive Performance Assessment

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Population statistics for local authorities in England, including the non-metropolitan unitary authorities, are available from the Office for National Statistics website at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Expodata /Spreadsheets/D9394.xls.

Details of the electorate in each local authority area are also available from its website at http://www.statistics. gov.uk/statbase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D8887.xls.

Information on the latest comprehensive performance assessment ranking of each authority is available from the Audit Commission website at http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/cpa/index.asp? page=index.asp&area=hpcpa.


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