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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what costings of (a) Conservative, (b) Labour and (c) Liberal Democrat policies his Department has (i) undertaken, (ii) co-ordinated and (iii) advised upon in the last 12 months; and in respect of which policies. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: In accordance with Cabinet Office guidance, costings were carried out at the request of Ministers of some of the policies set out in the Conservative documents Home Truths: the Right to Own" and Better Public Services, Better Value".
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the (a) local authority and (b) stakeholder members of the regional chambers are subject to potential investigation by the Standards Board for England in their capacity as members of the regional chamber. 
Mr. Woolas: Local authority members who serve on regional assemblies are subject to the code of conduct of their local authority. Where an allegation of misconduct is made against a member, it is a matter for the Standards Board for England to decide whether the allegation should be investigated. Other stakeholder members of regional assemblies are outside the remit of the Standards Board but must adhere to the individual code of conduct each assembly has in place.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish (a) a cost-benefit analysis and (b) the regulatory impact assessment for the Government's plans to establish regional fire control rooms in England outside London. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has already published a cost-benefit analysis of the FiReControl project. This is available on the FiReControl website (www.firecontrol.odpm.gov.uk) as the Economic Case" section of the project's Outline Business Case. After the technology/infrastructure services procurement is completed, it will be possible to produce a Full Business Case containing actual costs for the infrastructure.
Prior to April 2004, regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) were not required for any proposal that had an impact solely on public services. When the policy decision to proceed with the FiReControl project was announced to the house on 4 March 2004, it was determined that the proposals to establish regional fire control rooms in England met this criterion. For this reason, no RIA was developed.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from the London borough of Islington on its requirements for social housing authorities' new developments; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The policy for ensuring provision of affordable homes is being considered as part of the Tamworth Local Plan review process. The Inspector's report on these revisions is due to be published soon and it would not be proper to pre-empt these considerations.
Earlier this year the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister introduced changes to the planning system aimed at removing barriers to delivering affordable homes and to free up unused employment land where it is needed for housing. Following publication of the Inspector's report, Tamworth borough council will begin work on a Housing Development Plan Document which will form part of the overall Local Development Framework for the borough. Work on the document
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which will set out future housing needs, including for affordable and social housing, is due to get under way early in 2006.
My hon. Friend will be aware that the Government have a long-term strategy to increase the supply of affordable housing. Over the next five years our new homebuy schemes will extend the opportunity for home ownership for potentially 100,000 households by 2010. These schemes will introduce simpler, fairer and more affordable products to help people to get a foot on the housing ladder.
We are also investing heavily in new affordable homes for rent with investment for 200708 earmarked at around £2 billion which is double what it was in 1997. At the same time we are increasing investment in social homes which, in the three years to 2008, will provide 75,000 new homes which is a 50 per cent. increase per year over original targets. The West Midlands Regional Housing Strategy is providing the first step towards addressing affordable housing issues in the region. The Strategy has informed the regional housing board's allocation of funding for the period 2004 to 2008 including £368 million for investment in social housing which should deliver nearly 10,000 new homes across the region.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the level of Government expenditure has been on the Supporting People programme in each year of its operation; and what allocations have been made for (a) 200506, (b) 200607 and (c) 200708. 
|Expenditure (£ billion)|
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the predicted grant underspend for 200506 in the supporting people programme reported by the Audit Commission. 
Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister welcomes the audit commission's report and is looking at all of the findings. These will be taken forward through our work on developing the supporting people strategy. We intend to publish a consultation paper on this shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding he has allocated to tackling (a) ascariasis, (b) elephantiasis and (c) river blindness in Africa in 200506. 
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Hilary Benn: DFID prioritises the provision of basic health services in Africa and is helping to build comprehensive and sustainable health services in many countries. This helps poor countries tackle diseases such as ascariasis, elephantiasis and river blindness, in addition to many others.
These diseases are often linked to dirty water or poor sanitation. DFID is committed to helping African countries provide clean water and sanitation for their people and will double aid expenditure on water and sanitation in Africa over the next three years.
In addition, DFID targets funds at parasitic diseases through a number of Global Health Partnerships, multilateral agencies and researchers. For example, DFID supports the African Programme for Onchocerciasis (river blindness) Control. We have supported onchocerciasis control continuously since 1974, contributing around £4.65 million to date. DFID is currently undertaking a progress review which will help determine our contribution in 200506 and future years.
DFID have also pledged £2.5 million over five years (200510) to the Lymphatic Filariasis (elephantiasis) Support Centre (LFSC) at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), to support the work of the Global Alliance for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) of which £500,000 will be disbursed during 200506.
Mr. Thomas: At the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Japan in January this year member states including the United Kingdom renewed their commitment to reducing disaster risk. At Gleneagles in July, the G8 also agreed to increase investment in disaster risk reduction. The challenge is to transform these commitments into action in developing countries where it is needed most.
In 2004 the Secretary of State for International Development committed the Department to increase expenditure on disaster risk reduction. The UK is already the largest contributor of unearmarked funds to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). Earlier this year, we committed £3.5 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for their disaster risk reduction programmes in Africa and Asia. We have also allocated 10 per cent. of our tsunami response funds to support disaster risk reduction measures in the countries affected. In October 2005 we committed £12.5 million over five years to support the community level disaster risk reduction work of five international non-governmental organisations.
We are developing a new policy paper on disaster risk reduction to enable DFID to tackle disaster risk more effectively, and to advise our country offices on ways of incorporating disaster risk reduction into development. We have also called on the United Nations and the World Bank to do more on disaster risk reduction. This challenge is being taken up through the reform of the
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International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and increasing recognition of disaster risk reduction in Poverty Reduction Strategies.
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