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Written Answers

Friday 7 February 2014

Coastal Communities Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Winston

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, given the Coastal Communities Fund was set up in 2011, (1) how soon the promised grants from the updated total of £29m advertised in August 2013 will be allocated, (2) how many coastal communities are scheduled to benefit, and (3) which Minister will be responsible for allocating the funds.[HL5063]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): The £29 million funding announced for the UK-wide Coastal Communities Fund last August is for the 2014-15 financial year. The Department for Communities and Local Government, together with the devolved administrations for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be inviting applications for this funding round shortly with the aim of allocating the money available to projects by the end of 2014.

The Coastal Communities Fund is a competitive bid-led fund so it is not possible at this stage to say how many coastal communities will benefit. However, 104 grants were awarded across the UK in the first year of the Fund benefitting over 130 coastal communities.

Decisions on grant awards in England are taken by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, informed by recommendations from the Big Lottery Fund which helps to deliver the Fund on behalf of the UK Government. In Wales and Northern Ireland decisions are taken by an independent panel but with sign off by Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly Ministers. In Scotland, decisions are taken by an independent panel with no involvement of Scottish Government Ministers.

Electoral Registration

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers about registering United Kingdom citizens who are eligible to vote but are not on the electoral register.[HL4941]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The Government has regular engagement with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and Local Authority Senior Officers on the support it is giving local authorities and Valuation Joint Boards in Scotland during the transition to Individual Electoral Registration; this includes support to maximise the levels of electoral registration.

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Dave Smith, Head of the SOLACE Electoral Matters Panel, is a member of the Cabinet Office Programme Board overseeing the change to IER and officials regularly meet with him.

The Minister of State for Cities and Constitution attended the annual SOLACE elections conference on 16th January. Officials have also met with a wide range of local authority Chief Executives and senior officers over the past three years in preparing for the transition to IER.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Local Government Association about registering United Kingdom citizens who are eligible to vote but not on the electoral register. [HL4942]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Cabinet Office has engaged with the Local Government Association with Ministerial attendance at the Local Government Association’s Annual Conference in 2013.

Funding is being provided to local authorities to maximise registration amongst currently under-registered groups as part of the introduction of individual electoral registration, in addition to the duty that EROs have to ensure completeness and accuracy of the electoral register.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with London councils about registering United Kingdom citizens who are eligible to vote but not on the electoral register.[HL4943]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government is providing funding to all Electoral Registration Officers, including in London Councils, through the £4.2 million maximising registration fund to encourage them to take steps to maximise registration during the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.

Government: Ministerial Responsibilities

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which Ministers currently hold unpaid posts.[HL4979]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): I refer the Noble Lord to the GOV.uk web page: https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers

Lord-Lieutenants

Question

Asked by Lord Palmer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will announce who will be the next Lord-Lieutenant of Berwickshire.[HL5022]

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The appointment of the next Lord-Lieutenant of Berwickshire will be announced shortly.

Planning

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their plans with respect to the priorities they expect local planning authorities to give when considering applications for the conversion of agricultural buildings to (1) holiday homes, and (2) houses to meet housing needs.[HL4951]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): Local planning authorities are required to determine any planning application in accordance with its local plan and the National Planning Policy Framework unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish their summary of, and conclusions from, the Greater flexibilities for change of use consultation on the conversion of agricultural buildings.[HL4952]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: The consultation document Greater flexibilities for change of use noted that we would aim to introduce any new legislation by 6 April 2014. We are currently considering the responses to the consultation and will make any announcement in the Spring.

Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to complete the consultation process on the proposals contained in the consultation paper “Greater flexibilities for change of use”, issued in August 2013. [HL5131]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: The consultation on extending permitted development rights for change of use closed on 15 October 2013. We are currently

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considering the responses to the consultation and, as indicated in the consultation document

Greater flexibilities for change of use

, we will publish our response in due course.

Quangos and Non-governmental Organisations

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of chairpersons of quangos and non-governmental organisations have party political affiliations or sympathies to (1) the Conservative Party, (2) the Labour Party, (3) the Liberal Democrats, and (4) other parties.[HL5233]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Annual Survey of Ministerial Appointments and Reappointments to the Board of Public Bodies sets out the declared political activity for appointments and reappointments by party since 2000-01.

Waste Management: Rubbish Bins

Question

Asked by Baroness Kennedy of Cradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment has been made of the case for regulation of the provision of storage facilities for rubbish bins in residential blocks of flats.[HL4961]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): Requirement H6 of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations seeks to ensure that adequate provision is made for waste storage. Statutory guidance as to how this requirement can be met is provided in Approved Document H. Last year's Housing Standards Review consultation sought views on whether, and if so how, these provisions needed to be updated to better tackle bin blight. We are currently considering responses to the consultation.