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Thames Gateway Development (Police)

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the number of additional (a) police stations and (b) police officers which will be required under the Government's plan for an additional 120,000 houses to be built between 2003 and 2016 in the Thames Gateway. [190687]

Keith Hill: The Government's agenda for an additional 120,000 homes in the Thames Gateway includes 80,000 homes already committed in the planning system. It therefore entails an additional 40,000 homes spread across the London, Essex and Kent Gateway areas.

The Thames Gateway sub-region covers three separate police forces—the Metropolitan police and the Essex and Kent forces. Policing policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, but the management of the police estate and allocation of resources are matters for each Chief Constable and police authority, who will make decisions according to local operational plans and priorities.

General grants funding for police authorities is allocated on the basis of relative need, with resident population forming the most significant single factor in this assessment. It is a matter for the Chief Constable and police authority of each force to determine budget requirement and allocate resources in accordance with local operational priorities.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Office will work together to assist police authorities in planning future needs, for example, by providing forecasts of population changes in the Thames Gateway. General police grants are calculated using a formula weighted largely on population estimates, with the management and allocation of these resources being matters that are decided locally.

Regional Fire Control Centres

Mr. Swire: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he will fund the move of regional brigades to a centralised regional fire control centre; and whether the costs of such a relocation will be taken out of the brigades' existing budget. [196489]

Mr. Raynsford: There are no current proposals to create regional fire and rescue authorities or brigades. The creation of regional fire and rescue control centres will lead to considerable efficiencies and improved resilience. However if, during the transition period, authorities incur a net additional expense, new burdens principles will apply. The new burdens principle means that, where a central government department's policies or initiatives lead to a net increase in the cost of providing local authority services, Government will fund the additional expenditure, provided that the

aggregate value all department's burdens across all local authorities in England in any financial year is greater than £100,000.

Mr. Swire: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he has (a) contracted a company to design a building for a regional fire control centre for the South West and (b) estimated how many people would be working in
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such a building; what type of equipment will be needed in such a building; and whether outline planning permission has been sought for this building. [196491]

Mr. Raynsford: A generic design for the regional control centres (RCCs) has been developed in consultation with fire and rescue service staff by a professional design team. The developer selected to build the RCC in each region will be required to complete the design to reflect local requirements, including site conditions and planning.

Work is in progress on staffing models for the RCCs. The number of staff to be employed in each RCC will vary regionally, reflecting different demand levels.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is undertaking a major procurement under the EU's 'Negotiated Procedure' rules to provide modern, high quality technology, including integrated command and communications systems, mobilising and resource management system, GIS and gazetteer, and an automatic vehicle location system, for each RCC. The procurement will also provide networking equipment to connect together the RCCs, creating a national resilient network.

Planning status was one of the criteria for site location.

Right to Buy

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what changes the Government has made to right to buy (a) discounts and (b) eligibility in England since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [197086]

Keith Hill: Following consultation, the Government reduced maximum Right to Buy discounts in February 1999 to levels that reflected more closely the actual cost of buying a home in each of the nine English regions. The previous nationwide limit of £50,000 was replaced by nine regional limits:
London, South East38,000
South West30,000
North West, West Midlands26,000
Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands24,000
North East22,000

In March 2003, the Government reduced to £16,000 the maximum Right to Buy discount available in 41 areas that were under the greatest housing pressure, as evidenced by high levels of homelessness and high local house prices. The position in all 354 local housing authority areas in England was considered. The 41 areas were:
LondonAll London boroughs except Barking and Dagenham and Havering
South EastChiltern, Epsom and Ewell, Hart, Oxford, Reading, Reigate and Banstead, Tonbridge and Mailing, Vale of White Horse, West Berkshire,

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The Government has made no changes to eligibility for the Right to Buy. Its Housing Bill, which is currently completing its progress through Parliament, proposes to increase the initial qualification period from two years to five years. Tenants will however qualify for the same percentage of discount after five years as they would have done under the current rules.


Access to Universities

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he intends to include milestones for individual universities in their access agreements in his annual report to Parliament under Schedule 5 of the Higher Education Act 2004; whether they will otherwise be published by (a) him and the Director General of the Office for Fair Access; and whether comments made by the Director General in respect of milestones for individual universities will be published. [194838]

Dr. Howells: Access agreements, which will include institutions' own milestones, will be published documents. It is a matter for the Director whether he includes milestones for individual universities in his annual report or whether he publishes any comments he makes on them.


Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people in Bath and North East Somerset are on apprenticeship schemes. [196759]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested is only available for local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) areas. In July 2004, there were 2,900 people on Apprenticeships in the West of England LSC area.
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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of separation and divorce cases referred to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service during 2001/02 and 2002/03 were resolved without a formal court hearing. [194220]

Margaret Hodge: The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) does not collect the data requested. However, in many cases, CAFCASS's intervention has helped parties to reach agreement either by consent order or alternative arrangements so that parties have not proceeded to formal court hearings.

Child Care (Cleethorpes)

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many child care places there have been in (a) Cleethorpes constituency and (b) Great Grimsby constituency in each year since 1997. [194182]

Margaret Hodge: The information is not available in the form requested.

Figures for 2003 and 2004 are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Number of day care places1, 2 by type of provider North East Lincolnshire local education authority 2003 and 2004

Position at 31 March each year
Full day care7001,000
Sessional day care700600
Out of school day care400500
Crèche day care6070

(15) The figures have been rounded.
(16) Data Source: Ofsted.

Figures for 1997–2001 are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Number of day care places1, 2 by type of provider North East Lincolnshire local education area 1997–2001

Position at 31 March each year
Day nurseries200300300400500
Playgroups and pre-schools9001,0001,000800700
Out of school clubs40200300200300
Holiday schemes(19)0200(20)800(21)200200

(17) The figures have been rounded.
(18) Data Source: Children's Day Care Facilities Survey.
(19) From 1999, places were counted once for each school holiday. Before 1999, places were counted once each year.
(20) Places may have been counted once rather than once for each school holiday; see 3 above.
(21) Includes schemes that were exempt from registration.

The figures for 2003 and 2004 are not directly comparable with the figures for 1997–2001 because the figures for 2003 and 2004 were derived from the Ofsted database of registered child care providers and the figures for 1997–2001 were derived from the Children's Day Care Facilities Survey, which was discontinued in 2001. There are no figures for 2002.

With the introduction of the National Day Care Standards and the transfer of responsibilities for registration and inspection of childcare providers from local authority social service departments to Ofsted in September 2001; childcare places were classified according to the type of day care provided: full day care, sessional day care, childminder, out of school day care or crèche day care. Ofsted have produced figures based on this classification on a quarterly basis from March 2003. Their latest figures were published on 21 October 2004 in their report "Registered Childcare Providers and Places, 30 September 2004" which is available on their website,
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Up until March 2001 child care providers were classified according to the type of provider; day nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, childminders, out of school clubs and holiday schemes. Figures based on this classification were published in a series of statistical bulletins, which are available from the Department's website,

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