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Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the role of the railways in creating sustainable communities; and if he would make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government meet as a matter of course. It is not the normal practice of the Government to release details of meetings.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which railway stations will have a reduced service as a result of franchise specifications drawn up by his Department in the past three years. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Following on from the Future of Rail White Paper (July 2004) and commencement of the Railways Act (Summer 2005), the Department has been responsible for drawing up franchise specifications for the South Western, East Midlands, West Midlands, and New Cross Country franchises.
Further detail is provided in the stakeholder briefing documents available on our website copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. These documents summarise the service pattern changes proposed in the Invitations to Tender we issue to bidders. It should be noted, however, that the Department for Transport's approach to specification gives operators the flexibility to run more services, where this is operationally practicable, since we specify minimum, not maximum, service levels.
Mr. Tom Harris: As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, the Department for Transport (DfT) undertakes a Lessons Learned exercise at the conclusion of every franchise replacement process to understand whether any areas for improvement have been identified. These are then incorporated into the procedures for subsequent franchise replacements. Therefore, the procedures being used for the replacement of the New Cross Country, East Midlands and West Midlands franchises incorporate improvements to the process identified from the recently completed franchises.
Mr. Tom Harris: The North West Regional Planning Assessment (RPA) for the railway made a strategic assessment of commuting in Greater Manchester and sets out options for development of the railway in the North West. The RPA has informed Network Rails North West Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS), which makes a more detailed assessment of the scope for increasing commuter use of local rail services in Greater Manchester.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of rail passengers travelling between (a) 7 am and 9 am and (b) 5 pm and 7 pm (i) from (A) Bletchley, (B) Wolverton and (C) Milton Keynes Central to (1)
London Euston, (2) Birmingham and (3) other northern destinations and (ii) to (x) Bletchley, (y) Wolverton and (z) Milton Keynes Central from (X) London Euston, (Y) Birmingham and (Z) other northern destinations. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport does not hold this information. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) does however publish regional passenger flows in the National Rail Trends Yearbook editions, which are available in the House Libraries or from, their website:
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2007, Official Report, column 1516W, on advertising, how much of the expenditure was spent solely on (a) sponsoring supplements and (b) advertorials; and what the topic of each advertorial and supplement was. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many businesses in (a) rural and (b) urban areas have a rateable value of less than £25,000; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: In the 2005 non domestic rating lists, which is available on www.voa.gov.uk, there are (a) 367,202 rating assessments in a local authority which is classified as being a mainly rural area and (b) 670,300 rating assessments in a local authority which is classified as being an urban area, as defined by DEFRA guidelines, with a rateable value of less than £25,000. There are a further 336,100 rating assessments classified as being in a mixed area.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities she expects not to receive sufficient additional funding to cover costs they have incurred in relation to the concessionary bus travel scheme. 
The Government policy is not to ring fence grant unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Government have provided an overall increase in Government grant of £3.1 billion or 4.9 per cent. in 2007-08 for all local services including local authorities'
responsibilities for concessionary travel schemes. This includes an additional £367 million for the recent improvement in the statutory minimum concessionary travel scheme. It is for local authorities to develop and implement affordable schemes with local bus providers which deliver effective concessionary travel to meet their statutory responsibilities, and also achieve the aims of those additional concessions which local people wish to see run in their areas.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government why responsibility for reaching the Decent Homes target by 2010 has been transferred from her Department to Communities England. 
Yvette Cooper: Communities England is the proposed new national housing and regeneration agency, which will combine English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and a range of key delivery functions from the Department, including in the area of Decent Homes.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much programme expenditure sponsored by her Department was spent via each of the Government Offices for the Regions in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Angela E. Smith: 2004-05 is the latest year for which an analysis of expenditure outturn by region has been published by the Treasury. Total programme expenditure for Communities and Local Government managed by Government Offices for 2004-05 was as follows:
|Government office||Total Communities and Local Government programme spend by GO (£ million)|
Estimated administration and programme spend by Communities and Local Government for 2006-07 through Government Offices was provided to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski) on 6 February 2007, Official Report, column 784W and to the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood on 25 January 2007, Official Report, column 1924W.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will introduce proposals to place local authorities under an obligation to assist former members of the armed forces and their families who are homeless. 
Yvette Cooper: Under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996), local housing authorities in England must provide assistance to housing applicants who are homeless or likely to become homeless within 28 days and who are eligible for assistance. This includes applicants who are former members of the armed forces and their families.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many Homebuy loans were issued to support key workers in (a) Dorset and (b) Hampshire in the last period for which data are available. 
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her estimate is of the level of home ownership in (a) each local authority area and (b) each region in each year since 1979. 
Reliable estimates of home ownership at local authority level are only available from census
dataand the most recent figures, from the 2001 census, can be found at the following link:
Annual estimates of home ownership at regional level are available from household surveys. These figures include a margin of error and can therefore fluctuate between years. Estimates are only available for some of the early years: 1981, 1984 and 1988. Annual figures are available from 1991. Estimates are shown in two tables because the data for the years 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1991 are only available by standard statistical region and data for subsequent years, 1992-2006, are only available by Government office region.
|Table 1: Home ownership by standard statistical region, 1981-1991number of households (thousand) in owner occupation and expressed as a proportion of all households|
|Standard statistical region|
|North||North-west||Yorkshire and Humberside|
|Number (Thousand)||Percentage||Number (Thousand)||Percentage||Number (Thousand)||Percentage|
|Standard statistical region|
|East midlands||West midlands|
|Number (Thousand)||Percentage||Number (Thousand)||Percentage|
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