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The supply of equipment to Members will be subject to a new procurement exercise in the next one to two years. Consultation with Members on future requirements will form part of the procurement exercise.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: Support agreements of three years were formerly obtained for computer equipment, including printers. New equipment is now acquired with four years’ extended warranty. The current approach will be reviewed within the next one to two years as part of a new tender for the supply of hardware.

House of Lords: Photocopiers

Lord Campbell-Savours asked the Chairman of Committees:



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The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The House authorities endeavour to provide photocopiers in communal areas that fulfil the needs of users while retaining ease of operation and maintenance. The user requirements are for reasonably basic functions that include the ability to make multiple copies, double-sided if required, and for the machine to collate documents. These requirements were taken into consideration during the tender process in 2005 to contract photocopiers for the Palace and the outbuildings and will be taken into account again during the tender exercise this autumn to replace the photocopiers in Fielden House.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: Eight photocopiers are provided in communal areas within the Lords area of the Palace of Westminster and nine photocopiers are provided in the Lords outbuildings. The rental cost of these photocopiers for each of the past four years is as follows:

2004-052005-062006-072007-08

Palace

£7,960

£5,478

£5,669

£5,669

Outbuildings

£7,417

£6,001

£5,864

£5,864

Total

£15,377

£11,479

£11,533

£11,533

Housing: Affordability

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The definition of housing affordability pressure is “the ratio of lower quartile house price to lower quartile earnings”. This is reported annually by district and can be found on the department's website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/152924.xls.

This was used to calculate housing affordability in the districts where an eco-town was proposed. The Government's definition of affordable housing appears in Planning Policy Statement 3—Housing and was quoted in the Written Answer of 1 July.



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Housing affordability pressure in locations where eco-towns were proposed was one of a number of criteria used to shortlist eco-town proposals. When assessing all bids, the same basket of criteria was used to arrive at an overall grading for each location.

Housing: Design

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): There are a range of public bodies that local authorities can apply to for help in relation to the promotion of good housing design within their area. The choice between these bodies would depend on the specific advice and support that the local authority is seeking.

The Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE), which is sponsored by DCMS and supported by my department, can provide expert advice on proposed schemes and practical assistance on visioning, masterplanning and public space projects through their Design Review and Enabling Services. The Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS), which is hosted by English Partnerships, offers guidance on strategic and complex planning applications around the delivery of large housing or regeneration projects, including around design. The Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC) can advise and assist local authorities in assessing and developing the generic skill base that they need to create and maintain better places and deliver good quality housing.

Housing: Development

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): There is no evidence to support the view that developers deliberately “land bank” by carrying out minimal works to a site so as to meet commencement of development conditions for planning permission. We therefore have no plans to change planning legislation in this respect.

Housing: Home Information Packs

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The stakeholder panel was conducted under the Chatham House rule prohibiting the attribution of comments to individuals present.

Housing: Mortgages

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): We are currently considering a number of options for helping the state of the housing market and the availability of mortgages, but we have no plans to make resources available to local authorities to provide mortgages to first-time buyers.

Local authorities already have this power and can do so if they wish.

Immigration: Cost of Applications

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The costs of processing an application do not vary according to the length of time that a person has spent in the UK as a taxpayer. It is right that all applicants pay towards the costs of processing the application to cover these costs.

For applications that are set above the cost of delivery, it is right that those who use the system most and who benefit most from the services and applications that we offer contribute most to the end costs of the immigration system.

Immigration: Failed Asylum Seekers

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Forty-five Sudanese asylum applicants (including dependants) were removed or departed voluntarily to Sudan in 2005, with 75 in 2006 and 65 in 2007. Figures include persons departing voluntarily after enforcement action had been initiated against them, persons leaving under assisted voluntary

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return programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration and those whom it is established have left the UK without informing the immigration authorities. Figures are rounded to the nearest five, and information for 2006 and 2007 is provisional.

Further national statistics on asylum removals from the UK are available from the Library of the House and the Home Office’s research, development and statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

It is not possible to say what stage in the asylum process the returnees as a whole have reached at the time of their removal, including whether their claim has failed at that point, because those departing voluntarily can do so at any stage.

On 9 July 2008, Ministers announced that the Government have deferred enforcing the return of non-Arab Darfuri asylum seekers to Sudan pending the outcome of a country guidance case that is due to be heard by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in the near future. The case, originally listed to be heard in May, is currently waiting to be relisted and will address the safety of return to Khartoum.

Immigration: Georgia

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.



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Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The United Kingdom Border Agency is currently investigating the noble Lord's concerns. I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my response in the House Library.


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