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E-Mail Addresses

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister by what e-mail address members of the public may contact

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(a) him and (b) each of the Ministers in his Department; and for each e-mail address if he will state (i) the date it became active and (ii) the number of e-mails received in each month since activation. [97470]

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Mr. Leslie: The information requested on e-mail addresses and the dates they became active are in the following table. The information on the number of e-mails received in each month since activation is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

ContactPublished e-mail address Activation date
Deputy Prime 10 June 2002
Departmental Minister 10 June 2002
Departmental 10 June 2002
Departmental 10 June 2002
Departmental 10 June 2002
Office of the Deputy Prime September 2002

EU Regional Policy

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to support the Declaration by Mayors and Leaders of Urban Areas for an ambitious European Union Regional Policy; and if he will make a statement. [103406]

Mr. Leslie: The Government's preferred approach to EU regional policy is set out in the consultation paper "A modern regional policy for the United Kingdom", which was published on 6 March.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister welcomes the recognition given by the mayors and leaders of urban areas, in their declaration, of the importance of urban areas, not least to the delivery of the Lisbon objectives.

The launch of the Government's paper on 6 March marked the beginning of a period of consultation in the UK on the future of the European Structural Funds, which will conclude on 4 July. We are actively seeking the views of all stakeholders, including the mayors and leaders of urban areas, during this process.

The Government is committed to an active regional policy that reduces regional disparities and helps all nations and regions.

Fire Service

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has made in developing the role of the fire and rescue service in respect of (a) mass decontamination and (b) national search and rescue under the fire new dimension project. [103295]

Mr. Raynsford: The procurement of mass decontamination equipment (in England and Wales) under the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's £56 million New Dimension programme is nearing completion. It will deliver 80 new vehicles and 190 purpose built decontamination units each capable of decontaminating some 200 people an hour; a range of new fire service equipment for detection and monitoring of radiation and hazardous substances at incidents; and 4,000 new gas tight suits—a doubling of present capacity—to enable fire-fighters to operate safely. Training for this enhanced role is planned to start in April, with deployment of the equipment to follow soon thereafter.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also taking urgent steps to enhance the fire service's capability in urban search and rescue. We have made available £3 million for the training of trainers and responders in structural collapse techniques, the purchase of technical search and rescue and heavy rescue equipment, and the provision of training rigs at the Fire Service College. We have also made available some £2 million for the need of the capital. We are seeking to secure the funding for a major national investment next financial year to complete delivery of the investment.

Local Authority Employees

Mr. Key: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what statutory remedies are available to local authority staff who are victims of workplace bullying; [103536]

Mr. Leslie: The main acts of parliament that are in place to deal with unreasonable behaviour or workplace bullying are as follows:

Mr. Key: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice the Government have received from the Health and Safety Commission on options for action to make a significant impact on preventing assaults, verbal threats and abuse in the workplace for employees of local authorities. [103538]

Mr. Leslie: The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is committed to tackling the problem of work-related violence. In March 2000 the HSC agreed a three-year programme to help employers tackle the problem of work-related violence. The programme builds on current and past initiatives and includes proposals for

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awareness raising, guidance and new research. It is particularly targeted at sectors that are most at risk of violence.

HSE has published general guidance for employers to help them tackle work-related violence, and sector-specific guidance covering health services and education.

Mr. Key: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will publish proposals under Section 3 of the Local Government Act 2000 for a code of conduct to protect employees of local authorities; and if he will make a statement. [103539]

Mr. Leslie: Part III of the Local Government Act 2000 provides for the Secretary of State to issue model codes of conduct as regards the members (section 50) and employees (section 82) of local authorities. Codes of conduct under section 50 were laid before Parliament in November 2002. These codes place obligations on members to treat others with respect and not to do anything which compromises the impartiality of those who work for the local authority.

Local Authority Spending (Torbay)

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the standard spending assessments and formula spending share was for each year for Torbay Unitary Authority; what the percentage change in each year from the previous year has been; and what the aggregate external finance was for each year. [103284]

Mr. Raynsford: Since 1 April 1998, when Torbay Unitary Authority was first created, there have been many changes in the functions and funding of services to Local Government. To enable a like-for-like comparison between years, we calculate adjusted Standard Spending Assessment's and grants. The percentage change figures have been calculated on the basis of these like-for-like comparisons.

Until the introduction of Central Support Protection Grant in 1999–2000, there was no need to calculate grant on a like-for-like basis, and for this reason grant comparisons in the years 1997–98 and 1998–99 are not available. There were no changes in funding and function between 1998–99 and 1999–2000 that needed reflecting in adjusted grants for 1998–99 to allow a like-for-like comparison; the actual 1998–99 values have therefore been used in this case.

In 2003–04, SSAs were replaced with Formula Spending Shares (FSSs). The 2003–04 total FSS figure has been compared to the FSS comparitor for 2002–03 in order to give a like-for-like comparison. The FSS comparitor for 2002–03 is similar to the adjusted 2002–03 SSA but with the increased resource equalisation also applied.

The adjusted 1997–98 total SSA figure for Torbay was calculated using the same formulae as for other education authorities, but assuming that the 1 April 1998 Local government reorganisations occurred a year earlier.

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YearTotal SSA/FSS(£ million)Percentage increase in SSA/FSS year-on-yearFormula Grant(ie RSG + NNDR)(£ million)Percentage increase in Formula Grant
Adjusted 1997–98 96.653
Adjusted 1999–2000 105.69178.066
Adjusted 2000–01110.38581.198
Adjusted 2001–02 108.859 78.192
Adjusted 2002–03 125.005 85.210


Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister under what conditions planning applications for housing development will be exempted from his policy that all new developments should have densities of 30 dwellings per hectare or above. [82458]

Mr. McNulty: Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing (PPG3) sets out national policy for making the best use of land in housing developments. Local authorities are expected to avoid developments which make inefficient use of land (those of less than 30 dwellings per hectare net). Housing proposals will be considered within the framework provided by the development plan as well as tested against the policies in PPG3. If there were local circumstances which justified a departure from national policy these should be set out in the plan.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to allow councillors on planning committees to make public statements on planning applications. [82714]

Mr. McNulty: The Local Government Act 2000 introduced a comprehensive ethical framework to local government. The framework required all authorities to adopt a local code of conduct, based on a national Model Code of Conduct, which members must give a written undertaking to observe. Ultimately it is for individual members to decide how they conduct themselves in carrying out official duties, including whether to make public statements, but if it is alleged that their conduct breaches the local code then they will be open to investigation by the Standards Board of England.

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