Previous Section Index Home Page

Second Homes

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment he has made of the extent of (a) central Government and (b) local government finance employed to subsidise the costs of the council tax rebate for (i) second homes and (ii) other residential properties entitled to a council tax discount or rebate for each of the past five years for which records are available; [62618]

Mr. Raynsford: Local authorities are compensated through revenue support grant paid by central Government for council tax income foregone as a result of dwellings in their area being entitled to council tax discounts.

The total council tax income foregone in respect of second homes is estimated at £80 million for England in 2001–02. Information for individual local authorities is not centrally available. Further work is being done to calculate the total council tax income foregone as a result of 25 per cent. and 50 per cent. discounts and I will write with further details when this has been completed.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what arrangements he is making for the consideration of local authorities' objections to the provisional financial settlement for 2003–04. [62345]

Mr. Raynsford: We will announce the arrangements for the 2003–04 provisional local government finance settlement in the autumn, following the consultation on options for the new system over the summer.


Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many requests were made, broken down by

18 Jun 2002 : Column 307W

Government office region, for planning applications to be called in for the last year for which figures are available; and, for each region, how many were called in. [62580]

Mr. McNulty: The number of requests to call in planning applications is not recorded. The number of planning applications called-in within each Government office region between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2002 is as follows.

Government officeCalled-in
Yorkshire and the Humber13
West Midlands23
East Midlands16


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps are being taken to increase the number of homes for homeless single mothers. [61904]

Mr. McNulty: Under current legislation, local authorities have a statutory duty to provide accommodation for people who are homeless through not fault of their own and who have a priority need for accommodation. The priority need categories include households with dependent children or a pregnant woman.

The Government are committed to ensuring homeless families are provided with decent housing. The supply of affordable housing has a vital role to play in increasing the homes available to house homeless single mothers. The Government have raised investment in affordable housing through the Housing Corporation to over £1.2 billion by 2003–04, almost double 2000–01 levels. In 2000–01, the Corporation approved schemes to the value of £4.5 million for vulnerable mothers with babies and £418 million for homeless people. In addition, where a single mother has a support need that makes it difficult to sustain a tenancy, the Supporting People programme, to be launched in April 2003, will help prevent tenancy breakdown.

In March this year the Government announced a new approach to tackling homelessness backed by £125 million. This includes ensuring that no homeless families with children have to live in bed-and-breakfast accommodation except in an emergency.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many homeless shelters in major cities serve free meals. [61905]

Mr. McNulty: Information relating to the number of homeless shelters in major cities which serve free meals is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

18 Jun 2002 : Column 308W


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps are being taken to restrict the power of landlords to evict renters with little or no notice. [61906]

Mr. McNulty: For most tenancies landlords must give two months notice to end a let. If the tenant does not leave, repossession of the property involves a court order enforced by bailiffs. It is not for a landlord to carry out an eviction.

Local authorities have powers to investigate any complaints of illegal eviction and to caution or prosecute as appropriate. The then Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions published the research report "Harassment and Unlawful Eviction of Private Rented Sector Tenants and Park Home Residents" in 2000. At the same time separate guidance to local authorities was published. Copies of both documents are available in the House Library.

Cornish Language

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what evidence he has collated that supports the conclusion that Cornish is not an appropriate language to be specified for the purposes of the European Charter for regional or minority languages. [62648]

Mr. Raynsford: I look forward to receiving the Government office for the south-west's report and supporting evidence, which will inform the Government's decision on whether or not Cornish meets the charter's definition of a regional or minority language.

Parish Councils

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total cost was of sending out the literature from the Standards Board to all parish councils; and if he will make a statement. [62650]

Mr. Raynsford: In May 2002, the Standards Board for England sent copies of guidance on the operation of new codes of conduct to all local authorities within its remit, including parish councils. The total cost of this guidance, including the costs of despatch, was £188,380, some 80 per cent. of which it is estimated relates to providing the material to the 8,500 parish councils in England. This indicates an average cost of a little under £18 per parish council.

Competitive Tendering

Mr. Collins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister on how many occasions in the last 12 months the requirement to engage in a competitive tendering process has been waived by his Department due to national security obligations under paragraph 6(h) of the supply regulations. [62824]

Mr. Leslie: There have been no occasions.

Local Government Elections

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for allowing 18-year-olds to stand for election to local councils. [62689]

Mr. Raynsford: We have no current plans to allow 18-year-olds to stand for election to local councils.

18 Jun 2002 : Column 309W

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of ordinary written questions for his Department were answered within a week of tabling in each month since June 2001; and what proportion of questions for named day received a substantive answer on that day in each month since June 2001. [58975]

Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is as follows.


Date Named day question answered on the nominated dayOrdinary written question answered within a week of being tabled

Public Bodies

Tony Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the statutes which require public bodies to make reports to Parliament. [59749]

Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

The Cabinet Office is compiling this information and I shall write to my hon. Friend once it has been collated.


EU Enlargement

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps she is taking to make Scottish companies aware of the business opportunities presented by the enlargement of the European Union. [45786]

Mrs. Liddell: I take every opportunity to outline the opportunities for Scottish business which are presented by EU enlargement. I also work with organisations such as CBI Scotland and Scottish Council for Development and Industry in their work in promoting these opportunities. Together with the DTI, the Scotland Office is anxious to encourage maximum benefit for Scotland from enlargement of the EU.

Next Section Index Home Page