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European Council Decisions

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement in response to the four points identified by the Council Recommendation 2002/178/EC on the implementation of member states' employment policies, pertaining to the United Kingdom. [57904]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I have been asked to reply.

The four points relating to the UK raise issues concerning: national social partnership on productivity, skills and work organisation; reducing the gender pay gap and improving child care provision; active labour market policies for unemployed adults; and work based training to address skill gaps and improve skills.

The recommendations to the UK have been fully addressed in the 2002 Employment Action Plan which is being supplied to the Library and put on the internet. The Government's response highlights developments since the 2001 Plan, including: work of the CBI and TUC under the Productivity Challenge; the Kingsmill report on closing the gender pay gap; the increasing focus on wider disadvantage; and the Performance Innovation Unit report on work force development.


Refurbishment (22 Whitehall)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the letter CL/02/035437 of 7 May, when he expects to report to the House on his investigation of the circumstances surrounding the procurement of timber for the refurbishment of 22 Whitehall; and if he will make a statement. [60798]

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Mr. Alexander: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 11 June 2002, Official Report, column 1188W.


Local Government White Paper

Liz Blackman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a further statement on his plans to legislate following the publication of the Local government White Paper, 'Strong Local Leadership-Quality Public Services'. [61490]

Mr. Raynsford: The White Paper "Strong Local Leadership—Quality Public Services" set out a vision for local government by proposing to give councils new freedoms to respond to the needs of their local communities and establish a new partnership between central and local government to deliver high quality services. We have already made substantial progress in implementing these proposals, today we are taking a further significant step forward by publishing for consultation a draft Local Government Bill which will give effect to those measures which require new primary legislation.

The consultation period will run until 23 August. The draft Bill, together with explanatory notes and regulatory impact assessments has been published on the website for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Copies of all the consultation material have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Single Regeneration Budget

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the grants paid through single regeneration budget V on the Isle of Wight, stating for each the (a) recipient organisation, (b) amount, (c) date of payments, (d) objectives and (e) performance against measurable performance indicators. [60154]

Mr. McNulty: Single Regeneration Budget V is administered through the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership. Information on recipient organisations, amounts, objectives and outputs to date are contained in the "Island Inclusive SRB5 Delivery Plan 2002/2003", copies of which have been placed in the House.

With regard to date of payments, these are made to the recipient organisations quarterly in arrears in August, November, February and April each year.

Fire Service Funding

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what funding was made available to fire authorities to assist them to provide fire safety advice to the public in the last 12 months. [60444]

Mr. Raynsford: Responsibility for the provision of fire services, including fire safety matters, rests locally with fire authorities. It is up to the authorities to set budgets in the light of their statutory obligations and local priorities.

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what funding was granted to the Fire Service, broken down by authority, in each of the last six years. [60438]

Mr. Raynsford: Fire Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) figures for England by fire authority, for the six years ending 2002–03, are shown in the table:

Fire standard spending assessment
£ million

Bedfordshire and Luton11.30712.03812.57013.08313.89614.552
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough13.64914.81415.61016.23716.94817.573
County Durham and Darlington13.99714.64715.12515.66416.21116.418
East Sussex17.56218.65219.52120.40521.64622.503
Greater Manchester73.15577.03278.83381.32084.68186.602
Hereford and Worcester12.82813.33914.41114.91515.25716.004
Isle of Wight3.1183.3953.5863.7843.9684.148
Isles of Scilly0.2890.2970.3100.3210.3370.355
Kent and Medway Towns33.18035.36436.55738.28240.61942.299
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland19.34220.16820.70921.38322.28823.069
North Yorkshire14.32215.29916.22116.74717.66418.991
Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham22.95924.31424.90325.50526.53727.041
Royal Berkshire17.29918.43418.88319.66020.96922.019
South Yorkshire32.31134.06435.69036.43437.47838.745
Staffordshire Fire Authority21.12221.98922.46823.26223.87624.425
Tyne and Wear35.67836.28836.87237.82939.51140.655
West Midlands72.31775.66478.37480.70683.34286.082
West Sussex15.85517.16217.20218.63119.62820.600
West Yorkshire57.30459.60961.26962.25965.25366.250
Wiltshire and Swindon10.45711.04111.81012.08712.71113.109

(12) Current name of fire authority. A number of authorities were affected by local government reorganisation on 1 April 1997 and 1998 and (London) 3 July 2000.


In the case of combined fire authorities, for example, Kent and Medway Towns, the fire SSA is allocated to the constituent local unitary authorities.

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Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of primary fires were (a) in road vehicles, (b) in dwellings, (c) in other buildings, (d) outdoor fires, (e) in private garages and sheds, (f) in retail distribution premises, (g) in industrial and transport premises and (h) in none of the above in the last 12 months. [60447]

Mr. Raynsford: The most recent data available refer to 2000, and are contained in the table.

United Kingdom 2000

Primary fires(13),(14)
Road vehicles94,82743
Other buildings22,44010
Outdoor fires(15)12,0645
Private garages and sheds7,8684
Retail distribution premises5,3672
Industrial and transport premises4,7052
None of the above(16)1,3671
All primary fires219,535100

(13) Including additional "late" call and heat and smoke damage incidents

(14) Figures are based on weighted sample data. Due to rounding data may not sum to 100 per cent. Data for 2000 are provisional.

(15) Other primary fires, excluding road vehicle fires and all outdoor secondary fires.

(16) This category comprises agricultural buildings.

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of house fires in each of the last six years were in (a) owner occupied housing and (b) rented housing. [60440]

Mr. Raynsford: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost to business resulting from fire-related damage in each of the last six years. [60435]

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Mr. Raynsford: The most recent data on the cost of fire are for 1999. The DTLR Costs of Fire model estimates that in that year the direct cost to business of commercial building fires in England and Wales was £620 million.

This figure only relates to the direct cost of commercial fires due to property damage (£580 million) and loss of business (£40 million).

The full cost breakdown for commercial fires includes the costs to business of anticipating fires (e.g. fire protection), costs to local authority fire brigades in attending incidents, and costs to society in terms of deaths and injuries sustained as a result of commercial fires.

The full cost breakdown for commercial building fires is shown in the following table.

England and Wales 1999
£ million

Cost component for commercial building firesCost
Costs in anticipation of fires:
Fire protection1,600
Fire safety20
Insurance administration350
Costs as a consequence of fires:
Property losses580
Loss to business40
Fire service response costs250

Data are not available for previous years. Earlier estimates, produced by the Home Office and non- Government organisations, were based on different methodologies and are therefore not comparable to the figures shown in the table.

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