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Electoral Register

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he intends to publish the consultation document on the Electoral Register. [45881]

Dr. Whitehead [holding answer Monday, 25 March 2002]: The difficult and complex issues involved are necessitating very careful consideration and we hope to publish our policy paper on access to the electoral registers after Easter.

Free Literature

Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many (a) local authorities, (b) schools and (c) companies ordered DTLR free literature in 2001. [45668]

Dr. Whitehead: The dissemination of DTLR Free Literature is contracted to an external distribution contractor. The contractor is unable to provide the information in the exact form requested but can provide the following information.

During calendar year 2001:




Privatisation

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if his Department has a standard definition of (a) privatisation, (b) part-privatisation, (c) public private partnership, (d) private finance initiative and (e) not for profit company (i) to which they must or have worked and (ii) which they have developed. [45673]

Dr. Whitehead: The Government set out its definitions for the various types of public private partnership in XPublic Private Partnerships—The Government's Approach" published in April 2000 and is available from the Libraries of the House.

Council Officers (Libel Actions)

Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what guidance he has issued to local authorities on the use of

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public funds to support costs incurred by council officers who have pursued libel actions; and what plans he has to review such guidance. [42666]

Dr. Whitehead: No guidance has been issued to local authorities. However, section 101 of the Local Government Act 2000 makes provision for the Secretary of State, by order, to give local authorities a power to provide indemnities to their members and officers. We intend to consult on the scope of this power in due course. The consultation paper will clarify the circumstances in which authorities will be allowed to indemnify their members and officers against costs that they might incur.

Finance (Liverpool)

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what revenue and capital support he plans to make available to local government services in Liverpool in 2002–03. [44395]

Dr. Whitehead: Liverpool City Council will receive a general grant for the funding of revenue expenditure (excluding local authority housing) of #432.9 million under the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2002–03. Of the special and specific grants paid by this Department, Liverpool will receive #15.1 million from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. They will also receive Housing Revenue Account subsidy (HRAS) calculated on the basis of claims yet to be made by the authority. The amount of HRAS claimed for 2001–02 is some #97 million, including a Major Repairs Allowance of over #17 million for capital repairs to their stock.

In 2002–03, Liverpool will receive #31.4 million basic credit approvals to support other capital spending as part of the single capital pot. They will also receive #9.9 million capital grant for Local Transport Plan administration. Additionally, #1.4 million Disabled Facilities Grants, and #0.4 million transitional private sector renewal grants are available to Liverpool, dependent on receipt of eligible grant claims.

Local Government Finance

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the criteria are for the use of local authorities' section 33 arrangement to reclaim VAT as applied to (a) the New Deal for Communities partnerships and (b) registered social landlords (i) wholly and (ii) partially comprising stock transferred from a local authority. [43494]

Ms Keeble: This is a matter for local authorities, New Deal for Communities partnerships and registered social landlords to resolve with Customs and Excise.

Local Authority Finance

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the average level of local authority debt in England is (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of their budget; and if he will make a statement. [46039]

Dr. Whitehead: The average level of local authority debt in England, as at 31 March 2001, is #95 million per local authority. This figure is 70 per cent. of their total

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budgeted revenue expenditure for 2001–02. These figures cover the London boroughs, Metropolitan Districts, Unitary authorities, Shire counties, Shire districts and the Isles of Scilly.

Local authority debt finances capital investment. Long-term borrowing to finance capital expenditure is regulated by Government through the issue of credit approvals.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the debt-free authorities in England, broken down by the parties which control them. [46038]

Dr. Whitehead: The 108 English local authorities listed below, together with the parties which control them, have reported that they had debt-free status as at 30 September 2001:

Local AuthorityPolitical control
Barking and DagenhamLab
Basingstoke and DeaneNoc
Bath and NE SomersetNoc
BedfordNoc
Bracknell Forest UACon
BrecklandCon
BroadlandCon
BromleyCon
BromsgroveCon
BroxbourneCon
ChichesterCon
CihlternCon
ChristchurchCon
City of LondonOth
CongletonLDem
CorbyLab
CotswoldNoc
CrawleyLab
DacorumCon
DartfordLab
DaventryCon
DorsetCon
Est CambridgeshireLDem
East DevonCon
East DorsetCon
East HampshireCon
EdenInd
ElmbridgeNoc
Epsom and EwellInd
Forest HeathCon
FyldeNoc
HambletonCon
HarlowLab
HartCon
HavantNoc
HertsmereCon
HorshamCon
HuntingdonshireCon
KennetCon
LichfieldCon
Malvern HillsNoc
Mid BedfordshireCon
Mid SussexCon
Mole ValleyNoc
North DevonLDem
North DorsetCon
North WiltshireNoc
PenwithNoc
RedditchLab
Reigate and BansteadCon
RunnymedeCon
RushmoorCon
RyedaleNoc
SalisburyNoc
SevenoaksCon
South BucksCon
South CambridgeshireNoc
South HamsCon
South NorthamptonshireCon
South OxfordshireNoc
South RibbleNoc
South ShropshireInd
South SomersetLDem
South StaffordshireCon
SpelthorneCon
St. EdmundsburyCon
Staffordshire MoorlandsNoc
StevenageLab
Stratford-on-AvonCon
Suffolk CoastalCon
Surrey HeathCon
SwaleNoc
TandridgeCon
TewkesburyNoc
Three RiversLDem
Tonbridge and MallingNoc
Tunbridge WellsCon
TynedaleNoc
UttlesfordNoc
Vale of White HorseLDem
WatfordNoc
WaverleyCon
Welwyn HatfieldLab
West Berkshire UALDem
West WiltshireLDem
Windsor and Maidenhead UANoc
WorthingCon
WychavonCon
WycombeCon
WyreCon
Wyre ForestNoc
Cambridgeshire Police Authority Dorset Police Authority Kent Police Authority Merseyside Police Authority Suffolk Police Authority Sussex Police Authority Wiltshire Police Authority
Dartmoor Natonal Park Authority Exmoor National Park Authority Lake District National Park North York Moors National Park Authority Northumberland National Park Authority Peak National Park The Broads Authority Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
North London Waste Authority
Greater London Authority

Source:

Capital Payments and Receipts (CPR2) 2001–02

Definition: An authority is debt-free if (a) at 31 March 2001, the authority's credit ceiling was nil or a negative amount and (b) at 30 September 2001, the authority had no money outstanding by way of external borrowing other than short-term borrowing or hard to redeem debt, as defined in Regulation 154 of the Local Authorities (Capital Finance) Regulations 1997.

Con = Conservative

Ind = Independent

Lab = Labour

Noc = No Overall Control

LDem = Liberal Democrat


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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what proposals he has to require debt-free local authorities to pay into a central fund. [46037]

Ms Keeble: Our proposals for local government funding are set out in the recent Local Government White Paper—XStrong Local Leadership—Quality Public Services". They include the introduction of an arrangement for pooling a proportion of housing capital receipts arising in debt-free authorities to fund new housing investment where the need is greatest. This will mirror the arrangements that apply to non debt-free authorities. We are not proposing that this pooling should apply to receipts already realised.


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