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Office Accommodation

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent in relation to changes in office accommodation which have taken place as a result of the change in Department structure since June; and if he will make a statement. [70743]

Mr. Leslie: Expenditure since June to date on changes in office accommodation resulting from the change in Department structure amounts to £16,000 plus VAT.


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent by his Department in rebranding his Department, broken down by (a) design of the departmental logo, (b) design and orders of new stationery, (c) Department signage and (d) website designs, as a result of the Department structural change in June; and if he will make a statement. [70746]

Mr. Leslie: ODPM uses the Royal Crest as the main part of its corporate identity and has incurred no 'design' costs as such. A nominal amount has been spent on originating artwork for print and electronic publishing.

My Department's costs have been low as it makes extensive use of electronic templates, keeps low stocks of stationery and generally uses out of date stationery for purposes such as internal photocopying and notepads.

Cost breakdown is as follows:

(a) logo £525 plus VAT
(b) stationery £7,400 including value of existing stock
(c) signage £3,600 plus VAT
(d) website £3,145.

The figure of £3,145 for the website represents half the cost of dividing one site into two sites. The other half of the cost is attributable to the Department for Transport.

Consultancy Fees

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent on consultancy fees in relation to the change in Department structure since June; and if he will make a statement. [70744]

Mr. Leslie: Additional consultancy costs of £10,858 (plus VAT) have been incurred, under an existing contract, for estates advice following the creation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Transport.

Standard Spending Assessment

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list those unitary authorities that made representations regarding the review of the SSA formula. [70951]

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Mr. Leslie: We have had at least one written representation making at least one point relating to the SSA system from the following shire unitary authorities since the publication of the Green Paper "Modernising Local Government Finance" in September 2000:

Others may have made representations either before that point, via representative groupings of authorities, in meetings with Ministers, or when talking to officials. As of Tuesday 15 July, we have not yet received any formal responses from unitary authorities to the current consultation.

23 Jul 2002 : Column 1002W

Firefighters' Pay

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the formula is for calculating firefighters' pay; and what other public servants have their pay determined by similar calculations. [71017]

Mr. Leslie: Firefighters' pay is negotiated between the local authorities employers and the Fire Brigades' Union in the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire Brigades. Annual pay increases since 1978 have been determined by a formula linking the pay of a fully qualified fire-fighter to the earnings of the top quarter of adult male manual workers.

No other public service pay group has their pay determined by the same formula but Police forces in England and Wales also have their pay determined by a formula. The formula used since 1994 is the median of private sector non-manual pay settlements in the past year.

Departmental Reorganisation

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what changes there have been in the total wage expenditure budget of his Department since the departmental reorganisation in June; and if he will make a statement. [71450]

Mr. Leslie: There have been no changes in the total pay budget associated with the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions' total administration resources. The division of these resources between the two new Departments—the Department for Transport and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister—is currently being finalised. However, no additional resources are being made available from the Exchequer as a result of the departmental reorganisation.


Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 8 March 2002, Official Report, column 584W, on air-conditioning, what his policy is on implementation of the ban on the use of chlorofluorocarbons in chiller plant in buildings owned by his Department; when a decision will be taken on a choice of air-conditioning for the QEII building to replace the present refrigerants of chlorofluorocarbon provenance; and whether it is intended that the new provision will contain not-in-kind and HFC refrigerants. [71597]

Mr. Leslie: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intends not to purchase products that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) or any other ozone-depleting substances, where there are suitable alternatives.

In respect of the QEII conference centre, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) on 9 July 2002, Official Report, column 874–75W.

Town and Country Finance

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to meet the leaders of the Town and Country Finance Issues Group. [71852]

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Mr. Raynsford: There are no meetings fixed at present, but I would be happy to meet the TACFIG group to discuss the current consultation on the system to distribute general grant to local authorities.

Children in Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 1 July 2002, Official Report, column 196W, on children in care, what figures his Department holds on the number of children that are (a) homeless, (b) in bed and breakfast accommodation and (c) in temporary accommodation. [71887]

Mr. McNulty: Summary information on activity under statutory homelessness provisions is reported to the Department by local authorities in England. This includes the number of households accepted under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts as being eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and the number of these households resident in various types of temporary accommodation, including bed and breakfast, at the end of each quarter.

Precise information on the total number of children is not collected, but from data reported we estimate there were some 112,500 children in households accepted as homeless during 2001–02. Available information indicates that on 31 March 2002 there were some 6,500 households living in bed and breakfast style accommodation, and the Bed & Breakfast Unit have estimated that this represents around 11,000 children. There were 40,700 households with dependent children in all forms of temporary accommodation provided by local authorities for the homeless, but no estimates for the number of children are available.

Mobile Phone Operators

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to review the mobile phone operators' voluntary code of operation on planning. [71790]

Mr. McNulty: My noble Friend the then Minister for Housing, Planning and Regeneration met representatives of the five mobile phone network operators on 8 May 2002 to discuss their progress in meeting their commitments to best mast siting practice and the audit arrangements that they have put in place to assess continuing compliance with the commitments.

Work currently under way to revise the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Masts is building on the commitments and on our guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (Telecommunications) to improve consultation on mast proposals with local communities and local planning authorities. The Working Group established to take that work forward will monitor the operation of the revised code and effectiveness of the commitments themselves.

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