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Land Development

Ms Shipley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much (a) greenfield and (b) brownfield land has been redeveloped by each regional development agency in each year since their formation. [71752]

Mr. McNulty: This information is held by individual regional development agencies, and it has not been possible to obtain all the data in the time available. I shall write to my hon. Friend shortly.

Right-to-buy Receipts

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from borough councils regarding the proposed redistribution of right-to- buy receipts from local authorities. [72395]

Mr. Raynsford: Written representations have been received from about 20 local authorities, either directly or via local MPs. We will be consulting on the details of the new arrangement shortly.

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Local Government Contracts

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when the Government will publish the draft code of practice on work force matters in local government contracting, relating to the review of best value. [73110]

Mr. Raynsford: The Code of Practice, setting out an approach to work force matters in local government service contracts which involve a transfer of staff, is being published today as part of a draft Government circular for public consultation "Best Value and Performance Improvement".

The draft code will ensure that all contracting exercises and contracts are designed in a way that secures a high quality work force over the life of a contract. It meets our commitment to act to end the threat of a 'two-tier workforce' of transferees and new joiners in local government contracting. And it is consistent with the message in the draft circular that all local authorities must adopt a positive approach to work force matters if they are to achieve best value.

In publishing the draft circular, the Government are delivering on their commitment in the local government White Paper "Strong Local Leadership—Quality Public Services", to streamline and reform best value. The circular consolidates and replaces existing guidance, and emphasises the key role that best value can play in driving up the delivery of local services and improving the quality of life for all. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the House Libraries.

Physical Regeneration

Ms Shipley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement on the implications of the comprehensive spending review for the future direction of (a) funding for physical regeneration and (b) regional development agencies; [71756]

Mr. McNulty: Physical regeneration is undertaken on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister by the regional development agencies and English Partnerships.

RDAs are funded through a single programme that enables them to undertake a holistic approach to economic development and regeneration. The level of spending on physical regeneration is not distinguished from other spending within this single programme.

Following the spending review, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced substantial new resources and responsibilities for the RDAs, further strengthening their role as catalysts for economic development and regeneration in the regions. The details are set out in Chapter 23 of the Spending Review 2002 White Paper.

English Partnerships is currently subject to a quinquennial review and we intend to make a further announcement about its future remit shortly, although as my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister told the House on 18 July he has

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New Deal for Communities

Mr. Love: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the (a) total expenditure and (b) expenditure in capacity building was in each year in each New Deal for Communities area; what the (i) total planned expenditure and (ii) planned expenditure on capacity building will be until the end of each project; and if he will make a statement. [69187]

Mr. McNulty: The tables, which I shall place in the Library, illustrate the total expenditure and expenditure in capacity building in each year in each New Deal for Communities area so far and the total planned expenditure and planned expenditure on capacity building until the end of each project.

Good regeneration schemes are developed by genuine and effective partnerships. And good regeneration partnerships genuinely empower the local community, local business, schools, service providers and others in the district. Building and maintaining such partnerships, however, takes time and effort.

The Government have designed the New Deal for Communities (NDC) programme so as to enable local partnerships to build the capacity of all those involved, including local residents and statutory agencies.

There is no single definition of community capacity building, and so the figures in the tables should not be used as a basis for comparison between partnerships. Community capacity building can involve a wide range of differing activities—for example it may involve training community representatives, providing support workers to help the community develop skills, or providing access to administrative or office resources. Retaining the involvement and support of the community should be a priority throughout the life of any regeneration scheme.

Government guidance for NDC partnerships has made clear that we expect them to spend time and money in building the capacity of local people and agencies to participate. NDC partnerships were given considerably longer to prepare their Delivery Plans than in previous regeneration programmes. For the first time, the Government provided funding to help the partnership prepare its Delivery Plan, so that local people could be genuinely involved in the process of preparing the plan. The rules for NDC partnerships allow them to spend up to 10 per cent. of their funding on management and administration costs (that is double the amount allowed under previous programmes), to ensure that the partnership is properly resourced to deliver a programme with communities at its heart. We have asked each partnership to develop and implement a local learning plan, to equip all of the key players to play their full part in the process of neighbourhood renewal.

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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much he estimates has been saved by the introduction of local reference rent and single room rent. [61382]

Malcolm Wicks: The local reference rent and single room rent were introduced to ensure that the needs of people receiving benefit are balanced against those of the taxpayer. These rules ensure that people receiving housing benefit do not have their rent met in full if it exceeds the broadly average rent for similar sized properties in the locality in which they live, and that the benefit system does not provide unemployed young adults with better housing than their working peers can afford.

The information is in the table.

Estimated reduction in housing benefit expenditure arising from the introduction of the local reference rent and single room rent
£ million

Financial yearEstimated reduction in housing benefit expenditure


1. Estimates are expressed in nominal terms.

2. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest £5 million.

3. Estimates for 2001–02 and 2002–03 are based on forecast caseload and price levels.


Rent Officer data and Housing Benefit administrative data 1996 to 2001.

People's Consultative Forums

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many seats pensioners voluntary groups have on Older People's Consultative Forums, broken down by each nation and region. [64843]

Mr. McCartney: Within central Government pensioners voluntary groups are represented on the Partnership Group on Older People, established to focus on the provision of advice to the Cabinet Ministerial Committee on Domestic Affairs Sub-committee on Older People. There are 22 members, who include voluntary organisations such as Age Concern England, Help the Aged and the National Pensioners Convention.

There is one other central Government forum, the Department of Health's Older People's Taskforce, which includes Age Concern England.

Consultative forums within the devolved Administrations are the responsibility of the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Consultative forums are also organised by local authorities.

Information on representation on these and other forums is not held centrally.

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