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24 Oct 2002 : Column 490W—continued

Education Funding

Mr. Luff: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to use the actual costs incurred by schools in delivering education to their pupils as the principal determinant of the distribution of funding to local education authorities; and if he will make a statement. [76263]

Mr. Raynsford: Funding will be distributed to Local Education Authorities in 2003–04 on the basis of a per-pupil amount plus top-ups for additional educational needs and area costs. The per-pupil amount will be determined by deducting the top-ups from the overall sum available and our aim will be to judge the right balance between these elements.

Planning Policy

Mr. Gray: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when PPG7 was last redrafted; when he expects to publish the new draft of PPG7; and why a redraft of PPG7 is needed. [76666]

Mr. McNulty: The current version of Planning Policy Guidance Note 7 (PPG7), The Countryside, was published in February 1997, although some aspects of the guidance have been updated since. PPG7 will be replaced by a new planning policy statement (PPS) in line with the proposals set out in last year's Planning Green Paper, Planning: delivering a fundamental change, and confirmed in our paper, Sustainable Communities—delivering through planning, published on 18 July. We expect to publish a draft PPS7 for public consultation in 2003.

Affordable Housing

Martin Linton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the use by Wandsworth Borough Council of section 106 agreements to require affordable housing on site by developers within the borough. [76230]

Mr. McNulty: None. However, the Government takes its affordable housing policy as well as any available section 106 agreements into account as material considerations, in deciding whether planning applications should be called in for inquiry.

Local Government Act

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many individual applications he has received from local authorities under sections two and five of the Local Government Act 2000; [76316]

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Mr. Raynsford: We have received enquiries about possible use of section 5 Orders in respect of legislation that is the responsibility of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister from Camden, Shepway, Southampton and Watford. None of these enquiries have yet resulted in an Order being laid. In one case the request has been superseded by other de-regulatory measures.

Procedures for applying for orders made under Section 5 of the Local Government Act 2000 are set out the guidance on the operation of the well being powers published in March 2001. Authorities are also able to discuss the potential use of Section 5 orders in the course of negotiating Local Public Service Agreements. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister considers any applications which relate to legislation for which it has responsibility and provides advice to other departments as necessary.

Milton Keynes and South Midlands

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he has taken to advertise the conclusions of the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Regional Growth Study. [76839]

Mr. Raynsford: During the Course of the study there have been a number of events to keep the relevant parties informed of progress. In addition a series of factsheets was published on the web sites of the regional planning bodies and the Government Office for the South East. The study report was launched by my right hon. Friend the Lord Rooker on 18 September 2002 at a conference of key stakeholders including representatives of local authorities, other Government agencies and community bodies including CPRE, education establishments and voluntary organisations. Copies of the summary report were distributed at the launch event and a copy of the full report has been sent to each organisation represented. All local MPs and local authorities have received a copy of the full report and it is available on the web site of the Government Office for the South East and those of the three regional planning bodies.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what plans he has for public consultation about the recommendations of the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Regional Growth Study; [76847]

Mr. Raynsford: I understand that the regional planning bodies are currently considering how to take account of the conclusions of the study as part of the process of updating regional planning policy guidance.

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Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what action he has taken to implement the recommendations relevant to his Department of the Social Exclusion Unit report ''Reducing Re-offending by Ex-prisoners.'' [76805]

Mrs. Roche: Responsibility for co-ordinating action to implement the recommendations of the Social Exclusion Unit report ''Reducing Re-offending by Ex-prisoners'' rests with the Home Office, where a new unit, the Adult Offenders Rehabilitation Unit has been set up. This unit will, in due course, produce an action plan detailing how the recommendations will be taken forward. The Social Exclusion Unit remains fully involved in monitoring and facilitating progress through its implementation team.

New Deal for Communities

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much public money has been used for the purposes of settlements and payments relating to (a) redundancy and (b) termination of contracts for employees of the New Deal for Communities in the last five years. [75965]

Mrs. Roche: In the last five financial years, #4,000 of New Deal for Communities (NDC) grant has been used for the purpose of terminating contracts of employment. This occurred in year 2001–02, and was spent by the Clapham Park NDC in Lambeth. No NDC grant has been spent on payments relating to redundancy in the last five financial years.

In total, #2 billion has been made available to the 39 NDC Partnerships over the 10 year lifetime of the programme. The individual Partnerships have grants of between #30m and #61m.


Focus Group Research

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what use he and his Department has made of focus group research since June 2001; if he will identify for each research project the topics covered, the person or organisation carrying out the research, and the total cost; and if he will publish the research on his Department's website. [74985]

Mr. MacShane: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made use of focus group research on two occasions since June 2001.

In March 2002, we commissioned a research paper on ''Community Perceptions of Forced Marriage''. It looks at the perceptions of forced marriage held by British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis of different generations and social backgrounds. We paid Professor Yunas Samad (University of Bradford) and Professor John Eade (University of Roehampton) a total of #30,000. They made extensive use of focus groups in Bradford and Tower Hamlets. The results of the research will be published on 12 November 2002. The paper will be available in hard copy and on the FCO website.

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Separately, in July 2002, ICM Research carried out four focus groups for the FCO on attitudes to Britain's membership of the European Union. The total cost was #10,575. The exercise formed part of an FCO internal research project and the participants were informed that their contributions would be treated in confidence. The results will therefore not be published.


Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department has met with political party leaders in Guyana recently to discuss the political situation there. [75108]

Mike O'Brien: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly engages with Guynanese politicians about the political situation in Guyana. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met President Jagdeo and the leader of the oppostition, Desmond Hoyte, in Guyana in April this year to discuss the political situation. My noble Friend Baroness Amos met President Jagdeo in April and May, and, again, most recently during his visit to London in September. We keep in close contact with Guyanese politicians through our High Commissioner in Georgetown.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in negotiating the allocation and distribution of oil revenues in the peace talks between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM. [74897]

Mr. MacShane: The Sudanese parties, mediators and observers at the peace talks have agreed that all briefing on the substance of the talks should be done by the Kenyan Special Envoy, Lt General Lazaro Sumbeiywo. We are therefore unable to comment on the progress of the discussions on wealth sharing.

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