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Mr. Swire: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what correspondence he has received concerning the definition of a member in the Local Authorities (Members' Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003; and what steps he is taking to amend the definition. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received a number of letters from Parish Councils in recent weeks, many sent via their local Member of Parliament, in respect of the definition of a member in the Local Authorities (Members' Allowances) (England) Regulations.
This definition excludes un-elected parish councillors who are not therefore entitled to receive allowances for travel and subsistence. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will be amending the regulations governing councillors' allowances shortly so that all parish councillors are eligible to receive such allowances.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from (a) local authorities and (b) others in support of the fourth option of keeping council housing stock in the hands of local government. 
Keith Hill: In the last twelve months, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received eleven representations regarding support or suggestions for a fourth option. Two of these are from a local authority, while a further two were received from a tenant protest group expressing their wish for councils to keep control of their housing stock. The remainder were from concerned tenants and their representatives, including four MPs.
Mr. Raynsford: The amounts of council tax collected by English local authorities during each financial year since 199697, irrespective of the year to which they related, are tabled as follows. They exclude amounts paid for through council tax benefit.
Figures for the amounts of council tax collected are not requested from local authorities until after the end of the relevant financial year. The amounts received during 200304 and 200405 will depend upon the council tax levels set for each year, changes in the tax base, the collection rates achieved, amounts of council tax benefit expenditure incurred, and amounts collected in respect of earlier years.
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Mr. Colman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) solely state-financed and (b) public-private partnership and private finance initiative projects for which his Department is responsible have been launched in each region in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Raynsford: Since the creation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in May 2002 there has been no new Public Private Partnerships (PPP) projects signed. However, seven Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects have been signed and these are broken down as follows:
Mr. Colman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was spent by (a) the Government on solely state-financed projects and (b) the (i) Government and (ii) private sector on public-private and private finance initiative projects for which his Department is responsible, in each of the last 10 years, broken down by region. 
Mr. Raynsford: Since the establishment of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in May 2002 a total of seven Private Finance Initiative projects have been signed with a total capital value of £233.18 million, the capital value of these projects, which the Government are supporting is as follows:
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concerning the method of voting to be used in the referendums for elected regional assemblies; and what advice he has received from the Commission on this issue. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published consultation papers and draft Orders on 18 December 2003 on the detailed procedures by which the all-postal referendums would be governed. The Electoral Commission has published its response to that consultation, which is available from www. electoralcommission.org.uk.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is in the process of consulting the Electoral Commission, as required by the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act 2003, before the Orders governing the referendums are laid in Parliament.
Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what areas of policy will be (a) devolved from central Government to regional government and (b) transferred from local authorities to regional government; 
Mr. Raynsford: The vast majority of elected regional assembly powers will be devolved from central Government. These were set out in the Regional Governance White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice Revitalising the English Regions". Assemblies will take over responsibility for areas of economic development, housing, planning, transport, culture, the environment, public health and sustainable development.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Phil Hope) has made clear previously, responsibility for fire will pass to elected assemblies as announced in the Fire White Paper, "Our Fire and Rescue Service".
Yvette Cooper: To date the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not issued any guidance in respect of Supporting People to the Regional Housing Boards and will be considering the role of Regional Bodies in Supporting People as part of the work following on from the Independent Review.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what contingency funding he has retained centrally for Supporting People in 200405; and what criteria he will apply in deciding how to allocate such funding. 
Yvette Cooper: One of the main objectives of the Supporting People programme has been to devolve the responsibility for commissioning support services to local Supporting People teams. All Supporting People programme grant is allocated to the 149 administering authorities.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to increase the funding to those Supporting People teams where the late announcement of pipeline funding has led to a delay in the utilisation of properties purchased through the Housing Corporation. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government commissioned the Independent Review of Supporting People after the resources required by local authorities increased substantially during the course of last year. Resources for 200405 were not allocated until the Independent Review was complete. The Independent Review found that £1.8 billion is too much to pay for legacy provision.
Local authorities have seen a substantial increase in their resources for services covered by Supporting People in the last few years. It is a matter for Supporting People teams to manage their budgets and improve value for money.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will not be increasing the grant awards to authorities affected by pipeline funding in 200405. Equally where there has been the inevitable slippage in pipeline schemes the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will not be reducing grants to reflect this change in circumstance.
Yvette Cooper: The recent Independent Review which was carried out on the Supporting People Programme concluded that £1.8 billion was too much to pay for legacy provision. Work is being undertaken, following the recommendations of the Review, to inform the Spending Review 2004 funding decisions.
Yvette Cooper: The Supporting People budget for Gloucestershire in 200304 is £28.1 million and in 200405 will be £27.8 million. Future years' funding for the programme will be decided in the Spending Review 2004.
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