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Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will issue guidance to the Planning Inspectorate on the interpretation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in the determination of appeals. 
Ms Keeble: Inspectors received extensive training on human rights matters prior to the coming into force of the Human Rights Act. Inspectors are kept appraised of key Court judgments involving various Convention rights.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what guidance his Department issues to the Planning Inspectorate in determining appeals concerning gypsy families. 
Ms Keeble: The Government's policy on Gypsy sites and planning is set out in Circular 1/94. This puts Gypsies on the same footing as others in relation to the planning system whilst recognising their special accommodation needs. Inspectors will also have regard to other relevant planning policies set out in Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Circulars. As with all planning decisions, each must be considered on its particular circumstances and merits.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on his response to those parish and town councillors who are refusing to sign the new declaration of interests. 
Dr. Whitehead: As we have consistently explained, Parish councillors have for many years been subject to a Code which includes the requirement to declare their interests. The new Code, which includes a new requirement to complete a register of interests, has been supported by the National Association of Local Councils and the Association of Larger Local Councils, and by the majority of Parish Councils who responded to our consultation. I would encourage all councillors to accept the new Code.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the instances in which breaches of declaration of interest by parish and town councillors have been reported to his Department. 
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Dr. Whitehead: There is no requirement for such breaches to be reported to my Department. Under section 58 of the Local Government Act 2000, written allegations of a councillor breaching the new code of conduct are to be sent to the Standards Board for England.
Ms Keeble: My Department provides support for improving and maintaining rural bus services by means of the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and Rural Bus Challenge schemes. A total of £198 million has been allocated to those two schemes for the period 200102 to 200304.
In addition, the Countryside Agency supports small-scale rural transport projects, such as community mini-buses, through its Rural Transport Partnership scheme for which £32 million is available for the period 200102 to 200304.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the role of the Traffic Commissioners with specific regard to the maintenance and enhancement of bus servies in rural areas. 
Ms Keeble: The Traffic Commissioners have no role in the provision of individual bus services. That is entirely a matter for the bus operator, and the relevant local authority if the service is subsidised.
All local bus services must have their particulars registered with the relevant Traffic Commissioner. Operators can face disciplinary action by the Commissioner if they do not operate the service as described in the registration. A new, more flexible penalty power comes into force on 1 May.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent reports have been commissioned on effective methods of mass decontamination from (a) chemical and (b) biological (i) attacks and (ii) disasters; and if he will place the reports in the Library. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council if he will list the functions of his Department that have been (a) market tested and (b) outsourced in each of the last five years, specifying the (i) money saving and (ii) percentage saving in each case. 
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However, it currently outsources a number of services including payroll (Chessington ADP), PCSPS pension services (Paymaster), cleaning, security, building maintenance and IT service and support all of which have been in place for longer than five years.
During 2001, the Internal Management Consultancy Branch of the Cabinet Office undertook a review of Central Services (Personnel, Finance and Accommodation). The recommendation was that all services were to be kept in-house to retain value for money and service levels to staff and management.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the President of the Council if he will list the magazines and periodicals subscribed to by his Office, stating for each subscription (i) the number of copies taken, and (ii) the annual cost. 
|Diplomatic Service List Book||Six monthly||1||£27.50|
|Vacher's Parliamentary Companion||Quarterly||24||£3072.00|
|The Railway Guide||Monthly||1||£99.00|
|The New Statesman||Weekly||2||£211.20|
Mr. Yeo: To ask the President of the Council if he will list the newspapers subscribed to (a) Monday to Saturday and (b) on Sunday by his Office, stating for each subscription (i) the number of copies taken, and (ii) the annual cost. 
|Monday to Saturday||Copies||Annual cost|
|The Guardian (Saturday)||1||£48.00|
|The Daily Telegraph||2||£240.00|
|The Independent on Sunday||1||£43.20|
|The Daily Express||5||£420.00|
|The Daily Mail||5||£480.00|
|The Financial Times||3||£720.00|
|The Daily Record||2||£168.00|
|The Sunday Times||1||£57.60|
|The Independent on Sunday||1||£57.60|
|Scotland on Sunday||1||£38.40|
26 Apr 2002 : Column 470W
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