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15 Nov 2004 : Column 1213W—continued

Commercial Property Leases

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list those consulted regarding Commercial Property Leases: options for determining or outlawing the use of upward-only rent review clauses; and if he will place copies of the responses in the Library. [197487]

Keith Hill: The consultation on Commercial Property Leases: options for deterring or outlawing the use of upward only rent review clauses ended on 30 September. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister specifically consulted the following organisations and bodies:

Property Interests

Professional/legal bodies
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Other business interests

Devolved bodies

Other Government bodies

Local Authority Associations

Consumer bodies

Environmental bodies

Trades Unions

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has also staged a series of well-attended seminars. A copy of the responses will be made available in the Library of the House in due course.

Community Hospital (Leighton Buzzard)

Andrew Selous: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will ensure that a community hospital is provided in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade as part of the infrastructure supplied under the Sustainable Communities Plan. [198201]

Keith Hill: Additional hospital capacity in the Milton Keynes and South Midlands growth area is one of the issues that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's
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funded "Planning for future of health and social care needs in the MKSM sub region" study is looking at. This study is due to report in summer 2005.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is working closely with other Government Departments to ensure that funding allocations for major services, such as health, respond effectively to growth. In March 2004, the Department of Health announced a funding package for the growth areas which includes: a commitment to including a growth area funding adjustment in future allocations; additional capital funding of £20 million for 2005–06; and additional revenue funding of £20 million for 2004–05 and 2005–06 for primary care trusts (PCTs) in the growth areas. £2.244 million of this revenue funding went to PCTs in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of the staff in his Department in (a) 2002 and (b) 2003 were people with disabilities. [196119]

Phil Hope: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton West on 9 November 2004, Official Report, column 619W.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the consequences will be for the staffing of his Department of the rejection of proposals for an elected regional assembly in the North East. [198215]

Mr. Raynsford: Staff who had been working on the Regional Assemblies Bill and other preparations for elected regional assemblies are being transferred to other priority work within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Education Authorities

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how each local education authority performed in (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04 against best value performance indicators 159 (a) to (d) , as defined in 2002–03. [196993]

Mr. Raynsford: Information on the performance of local education authorities against Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) 159 (a)–(d) for 2002–03 can be found on the BVPI website The data for 2003–04 is currently being audited and will be posted on the website in mid-December.

Electrical Standards

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the time scale is for the harmonisation of electrical standards under part P of the building regulations; what the reasons are for the requirement for electricians to pay a registration fee; what that fee is expected to be; and who will determine the level of the fee. [197857]

Phil Hope: Part P of the Building Regulations (Electrical safety in dwellings) will come into force on 1 January 2005. The Government have introduced part P to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires
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caused by defective fixed electrical installations. The regulatory impact assessment showed that it would be both practicable and cost-effective to take this step.

From 1 January anyone carrying out notifiable electrical installation work in dwellings will need to demonstrate that such work meets the requirements in part P. There are two ways in which this can be done.

First, those with sufficient qualifications, knowledge and experience can choose to join a competent person self-certification scheme authorised under the Building Act 1984. Members of such schemes will be able to self-certify that their work complies with part P. There will be an annual fee to belong to such schemes, the fee level being determined by the scheme operator. For schemes already authorised the fee range is from £300 to £1,000. Fees can be set only to cover running and development costs of the scheme.

Electrical contractors who choose not to join a scheme and all carrying out notifiable work on a DIY basis will need to submit a building notice to a building control body for each job. In this case there will be a building control fee to be paid. The building control body will then be responsible for inspecting and testing the work to ensure that it is safe.

English Regions Network

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the functions are of the English Regions Network; what guidance has been issued governing its activities; and to whom it reports. [198157]

Mr. Raynsford: The English Regions Network (ERN) is the co-ordinating body for the eight regional chambers in England, co-ordinating policy responses and commissioning research relevant to all regional chambers.

The ERN submits its business plan and reports against agreed objectives direct to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

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