|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Clare Short: This project was formally reviewed in June 2001 and has been monitored on a regular basis since then. It is an institutional building project focused at national and local government levels, NGOs and civil society. The project is assisting the Polish authorities in changing the way regional planning is implemented in line with good EU practice by the instruction of a more participative and bottom-up approach to decision-making processes.
DFID assessments have shown that the project is providing value for money in terms of its impact on (i) the progress being made in the Lubelski voivodship in building local capacity and networks and (ii) links being made into the national policy debate to inform regional policy in preparation for Poland's accession to the EU and its future effective use of structural funds.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the proposed changes in the rules relating to the use of right to buy receipts; from when the new rules will operate; what changes are envisaged for debt-free authorities; for what reason debt-free authorities will be required to set aside a percentage of prior receipts in future; what the percentage will be; how this money will be redistributed to other authorities; under what statement these changes will be introduced; whether it is Government policy to match exactly the higher allocations to support general borrowing as a result of the ending of the authorities' ability to finance expenditure from receipts; which authorities he estimates will be affected, and how much will be redistributed in each case; what consultation he will undertake before introducing this change; and if he will publish the results of the consultation. 
7 May 2002 : Column 22W
Ms Keeble: The local government White Paper"Strong Local LeadershipQuality Public Services"set out our intention to pool a proportion of housing capital receipts arising in debt free authorities to finance new housing investment in areas where it is most needed. The change will put the treatment of housing capital receipts in debt free authorities on an equal footing with their treatment in other authorities. It also removes a real disincentive to authorities to take up the new borrowing freedoms planned as part of the simplification of the local authority capital finance system described in the White Paper.
The change will be introduced alongside the wider changes to the local authority capital finance system which require primary legislation; the timing of this is still to be decided. The detailed arrangements for pooling, including the proportion of receipts to be pooled, and the allocation of resources from the pool are currently being considered. The new arrangements will not apply to receipts already realised. We will be consulting on detailed proposals and will report on the outcome of the consultation.
The number of authorities that will be affected by the change will depend on what happens to debt levels and on housing stock transfers between now and the introduction of the pooling arrangement. A list of the authorities that were debt free at 1 April 2001 was given in reply to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) on 9 April 2001, Official Report, columns 33032W. Housing capital receipts are mainly generated from the sale of dwellings and around 30 of these authorities own council housing. The amount of additional resources for allocation from the pool to fund new housing investment will depend on the proportion of receipts to be pooled and future levels or receipts for debt free authorities.
Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish a report on the progress on adoption of area-wide local plans and unitary development plans. 
7 May 2002 : Column 23W
Ms Keeble: The report on the progress on the adoption of area wide local plans and unitary development plans is published today and details the progress made by local authorities in England in preparing and reviewing their development plans.
Although it was considered that the publication of the planning Green Paper would raise uncertainties in respect of local authorities preparing plans, this report gives a clear indication that local authorities are continuing with development plan work. We have yet to achieve 100 per cent. national coverage and there are still 13 per cent. of LPAs who have not produced an adopted development plan. The continuing delays in adopting local plans and, subsequently, altering or replacing those plans adds weight to the recommendations in the planning Green Paper on the need for reform of the planning system to introduce faster and more flexible arrangements.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which proposals in the planning Green Paper would require (a) primary legislation and (b) secondary legislation to be implemented. 
Mr. Byers: A number of the proposals will require changes to primary legislation. Among them the proposals to abolish structure plans, local plans and unitary development plans and replace them with the new Local Development Framework, and introducing statutory Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) to replace Regional Planning Guidance. Powers would need to be introduced for major infrastructure projects to be referred to Parliament and any changes to the current system of planning obligations. A number of development control measures such as putting funding for planning aid on a statutory basis and introducing a planning checklist are likely to require primary legislation. While some legislative amendment may be required for the introduction of business planning zones.
Many of the changes in the Green Paper can be made by secondary legislation. In particular those development control measures designed to speed up and made the process more transparent such as the proposals to enable electronic submission of planning applications and appeals, and the requirement on local authorities to make copies of plans and planning applications publicly available at low or no cost. A number of the proposals will requires amendments to be made to the General Development Procedure Order.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the Court of Appeal decision in Newport BC v. Secretary of State for Wales on the application of PPG8. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether the appointment of consultants to advise on the responses to the Planning Green Paper was subject to a competitive tendering process; when expressions of interest were invited; and how many firms tendered. 
7 May 2002 : Column 24W
Mr. Byers: Smith and Williamson were appointed under a framework agreement under which each work assignment commissioned forms a contract in its own right (in accordance with the terms and conditions of the overarching framework). The framework was let following a competitive tender exercise conducted under the EC Restricted procedure, i. e. service requirement advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities, Expressions of Internet (EOIs) invited from potential suppliers, EOIs sifted to select those to be invited to tender.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which consultants were appointed to analyse the responses to the Planning Green Paper; and what are (a) their terms of reference and (b) the timetable for completion of their work. 
Mr. Byers: The Department appointed Smith and Williamson management consultants on 5 December 2001. The consultants were appointed to analyse and data process standard responses to the Green Paper. They were asked to produce quantitative data on the overall response and by respondent type. Smith and Williamson delivered their findings on 29 April.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the proposals in his Planning Green Paper. 
Mr. Byers: Following the coming into force of the Human Rights Act, all government policy and legislation needs to be considered for its compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights. Should any of the proposals in the Green Paper result in primary legislation, the Ministers responsible will make a statement as to the compatibility of the relevant provisions to both Houses.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|