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16 Jun 2009 : Column 207W—continued

Recreation Spaces

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department’s Green Spaces Hub will hold any data relating to green space in private ownership. [279876]


16 Jun 2009 : Column 208W

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: None of the data sets in the Green Spaces Hub identifies land ownership.

The Green Spaces Hub makes available in one place data sets on green and open spaces that are owned by several public sector organisations. Some of these data sets identify only public sector managed land while others identify land parcels, and therefore ownership could be private or public. In these cases there is no ownership designation.

Regional Planning and Development

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to publish the final regional spatial strategy for the South West before the end of June 2009. [279573]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: We intended to issue the final regional spatial strategy for the South West at the end of June. However, on 20 May, the High Court issued a judgment that the previously issued regional spatial strategy for the East of England had failed to meet certain requirements of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, in respect of three towns. My Department and the Government Office for the South West are considering the implications for the regional spatial strategy for the South West, but cannot reach a clear view until the written judgment is issued by the Court. It is not possible to set a new timetable, until the implications of the judgment have been clarified, and what action is required, if any.

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements there are on him to consult on revisions to a regional spatial strategy. [279926]

Mr. Ian Austin: PPS 11: Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) sets out the requirements for the Secretary of State to consult on revisions to a RSS, refer to Table 1: Summary of the RSS Revision Process page 24 .

Once the Secretary of State receives the Panel Report prepared by the independent Chair of the Enquiry in Public, the Secretary of State then drafts the Secretary of State's Proposed Changes to the RSS, which is then subject to a eight-week public consultation process, prior to the issue of the final RSS by the Secretary of State.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the effect on businesses of self-certification of fire risk assessments under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. [278837]

Mr. Malik: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has been in force since October 2006. Last year my Department commissioned an initial evaluation into the effectiveness of the Order in England, looking at its impact on the enforcers, 'responsible persons', and on the fire safety industry. A copy of the report ('Initial Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005'—Fire Research 3/2009) is available in the Library.


16 Jun 2009 : Column 209W

Rented Housing: Disabled

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps his Department is taking to (a) promote and (b) enforce minimum standards of facilities for tenants with severe disabilities in housing provided by not-for-profit housing associations; [275744]

(2) if he will take steps to improve regulation of the standards for housing provided by not-for-profit housing associations for people with severe disabilities; [275747]

(3) if he will take steps to strengthen the regulation of charges levied on local authorities by not-for-profit housing associations who provide accommodation and support for tenants with severe disabilities. [275748]

Mr. Ian Austin: The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) is currently in the process of developing its standards framework. The aim is to improve the standard of service for all tenants, and the standards currently being developed will be a key method of achieving this. Where landlords do not meet these standards, the TSA will use the powers bestowed on them through the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 to ensure this is addressed, and the quality of service improved.

The Care Quality Commission is responsible for the regulation of accommodation for people who require nursing or special care. From 2010 a new registration system will ensure that health and adult social care providers must be registered with the CQC to show they meet a wide range of essential, common quality standards.

The CQC have a wide range of enforcement powers, such as fines and public warnings, and they have flexibility about how and when to use them.

Further information on the Commission including their enforcement powers can be found on their website at:

Since there are no apparent circumstances where a not for profit housing association would levy charges upon a local authority, no regulation is currently being envisaged in this area.

Social Rented Housing: South East

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many unsold market homes have been bought by the Homes and Community Agency for use as social housing in (a) the South East and (b) Milton Keynes since the establishment of the agency. [276245]

Mr. Ian Austin: The following tables show the expected numbers of affordable homes to be provided in both the South East region and Milton Keynes with grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency since 1 December 2008 when the agency was established.

Allocations in the South East region for the purchase of developer stock from 1 December 2008 to 31 March 2009

Number of units

Low cost home ownership

454

Social rent

584

Total

1,038


16 Jun 2009 : Column 210W

Allocations in Milton Keynes for the purchase of developer stock from 1 December 2008 to 31 March 2009

Number of units

Low cost home ownership

58

Social rent

6

Total

64

Source:
Homes and Communities Agency

Surrey Police: Council Tax

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many meetings between Ministers and officials from his Department and (a) Surrey Police and (b) Surrey Police Authority took place between July 2008 and May 2009; on what date each such meeting took place; who attended each meeting; and what topics were discussed at each meeting. [279307]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: There was one meeting with Surrey police authority on 21 April 2009 to allow the authority to present its challenge to its designation for capping face to face with Ministers. Ministers at the meeting were the then Local Government Minister, the then Police Minister and their officials. Those attending on behalf of Surrey police authority were Peter Williams (chairman of the authority), Dr. Sue Martin (chief executive), Ian Perkin (treasurer) and Mark Rowley (chief constable).

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) on what date his Department first informed Surrey police that it intended to use a 2008-09 notional budget requirement and a 2008-09 notional Band D council tax rate in determining whether to cap Surrey Police Authority’s precept; [279316]

(2) what information (a) the Secretary of State and (b) (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department provided to Surrey police in July 2008 on the notional council tax precept to be used when setting its 2009-10 budget. [279655]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Officials wrote to the authority on 26 June 2008 informing it that the Secretary of State had proposed a notional budget requirement of £189,622,000 for 2008-09. The authority subsequently exercised its right to challenge its proposed notional budget requirement.

Officials then wrote to the authority on 11 September 2008 informing it that, having carefully considered its challenge, the Secretary of State had confirmed the notional budget requirement of £189,622,000 for 2008-09.

Further correspondence from officials beginning on 24 October 2008 (in response to a query from Surrey police on 21 October) confirmed that, in the event that Ministers decided to cap in 2009-10 and included a council tax capping principle, such a principle would operate with reference to a notional level of council tax for 2008-09.

Unitary Councils: Costs

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden
16 Jun 2009 : Column 211W
(Mrs. Spelman) of 12 May 2009, Official Report, column 730W, on unitary councils, how latest estimates for the restructuring costs for the new unitary councils break down between spending areas; and if he will make a statement. [278987]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The transition costs of around £138 million were based on the councils' proposals for unitary structures in their areas, remodelled where appropriate by independent financial consultants to reflect risks in the proposals and the potential impact of those risks on the business cases. These costs were summarised in the Impact Assessments published before the proposals were debated and approved by the House.

The stocktake visits that my officials undertook earlier this year confirmed that transition costs and savings were broadly in line with those in the proposals, and transition costs (at around £135 million) were likely to be slightly below the original estimated figure. We will continue to monitor progress in delivering these costs and savings.

Cabinet Office

Abortion

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the rate of (a) conception and (b) pregnancy
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terminated by abortion was among those under the age of 18 years in (i) England, (ii) Essex and (iii) Castle Point in each of the last five years. [278013]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated June 2009:

Rate of (a) conceptions and (b) conceptions leading to a legal abortion, among girls aged under 18( 1) , for (i) England, (ii) Essex county and (iii) Castle Point local authority district for 2003 to 2007
Rate per 1,000( 2)
(a) Conceptions

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007( 3)

England

42.2

41.6

41.3

40.6

41.7

Essex county

31.7

30.5

30.6

32.5

32.9

Castle Point LAD

32.5

30.8

32.0

29.9

34.4


Rate per 1,000( 4)
(b) Conceptions leading to a legal abortion

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007( 3)

England

19.4

19.1

19.3

19.8

21.1

Essex county

15.2

15.9

15.9

17.5

18.7

Castle Point LAD

17.7

20.0

19.8

17.5

19.7

(1) Under 18 years at estimated date of conception.
(2) Number of conceptions to women under 18 per 1,000 female population aged 15 to 17.
(3) Figures for 2007 are provisional.
(4) Number of conceptions to women under 18 leading to a legal abortion per 1,000 female population aged 15 to 17.

Bank Services: Lincolnshire

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate she has made of the proportion of households in (a) Cleethorpes constituency and (b) Great Grimsby constituency that have bank accounts. [279271]

Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

The Family Resources Survey data for 2006-07, published in June this year, show that the number of adults without access to a bank account fell from 2.8 million in 2002-03 to 2.1 million in 2006-07. The survey data do not provide figures by constituency. However they show that around 91 per cent. of households in the Yorkshire and Humberside region are ‘banked’.

Local Government Finance

Robert Neill: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) of 7 May 2009, Official Report, column 391W, what data the Office of National Statistics’ uses to make comparisons between spending levels of local authorities. [279795]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I have been asked to reply.

Information from local authorities are recorded on annual revenue outturn (RO) and budget (RA) forms.


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