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1 Oct 2007 : Column 2385W—continued


These figures indicate 40 net public library closures in England in 2006-07 which represents around 1.1 per cent. of the total of 3,573 libraries. In addition almost 200 significant refurbishments took place last year. Library reorganisations can result in better and wider access—for example to take account of where population shifts from one area to another, or where two small, part-time libraries are closed and strategically replaced with a larger new library open for longer hours.

Data on the number of closures per parliamentary constituency are not collected centrally.

The formal powers of intervention established under section 10 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 have only been used on one occasion, when Ministers initiated a review of the public library provision in Derbyshire in 1991. This review did not result in the then Secretary of State making use of his full powers of intervention.

There are currently no plans to use the powers established in the 1964 Act to intervene in the management of any English library authority: such decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis as issues arise.

Tourism

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the overseas offices of regional development agencies which deal with tourism. [155440]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 17 September 2007]: Of the eight Regional Development Agencies outside London, only Advantage West Midlands (AWM) has offices which deal with tourism. The Benelux Inward Investment Office in Belgium and the Chicago office have had peripheral involvement in tourism. AWM wishes, in general, to establish greater synergies between its tourism promotion and more general marketing and inward investment activities, including through its overseas offices.


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In London, the Mayor’s Office has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai and Delhi that include representation from the London Development Agency (LDA). The offices are multi-purpose, promoting cultural links, the sharing of best practice in city governance, inward investment, business liaison and educational promotion for London universities. These offices have only been peripherally involved in tourism, but the Mayor’s Office is working with VisitLondon to consider an increase in such activity in the future.

Communities and Local Government

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what responsibility Mr. Neil McDonald in her Department (a) has and (b) had for home information packs. [153688]

Yvette Cooper: Neil McDonald held the role of the Home Information Packs Programme Director from July 2006 to May 2007. He is currently Director, Planning Policy.

Non-domestic Rates

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the consultation on supplementary business rates. [153718]

John Healey: The review of sub-national economic development and regeneration published on 17 July 2007 explained that the Government had begun to consider options for a supplementary business rate, working with local government, business and other stakeholders, and that we will report back later this year.

Planning: Public Participation

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will bring forward proposals to ensure that local communities are involved in decisions about the spending of section 106 monies for developments affecting their area. [155518]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 17 September 2007]: Planning obligations (s06 agreements) are private agreements negotiated between local planning authorities and persons with an interest in a piece of land, usually in the context of planning applications. They are intended to make acceptable development which would otherwise be unacceptable in planning terms. They may be used to prescribe the nature of the development, or to secure a contribution from a developer to compensate for loss or damage created by a development or to mitigate a developments impact. Planning obligations should never be used purely as a means of securing for the local community a share in the profits of a development.

Local planning authorities should include in their development plan documents, policies about use of planning obligations. The process of setting planning
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obligation policies and negotiating planning obligations should be conducted as openly, fairly and reasonably as possible. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase act 2004 requires regional planning bodies and local planning authorities to prepare a Statement of Community Involvement, in which they set out their policy on involving their community in preparing regional spatial strategies, local development documents and consulting on planning applications.

Regional Planning and Development

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) funded on the (i) South West Regional Spatial Strategy and (ii) East of England Regional Spatial Strategy. [153694]

Hazel Blears: The regional planning body (RPB) is responsible for preparing draft regional spatial strategy (RSS) revisions; including gathering any evidence and undertaking any studies to support that process.

In both regions, the Government offices were involved, with the RPB and other key partners, in work on sub-regional and other studies to inform the preparation of the draft RSSs. In the East of England, this involved an element of joint funding of some of these pieces of work by the Government office. In the South West, work was commissioned by the Government office to update transport modelling for the West of England area to help inform the examination in public.

In addition, to meet statutory requirements Government office for the east of England has commissioned work on sustainability appraisal and the habitats regulations assessment (appropriate assessment) as part of developing the proposed changes to the draft RSS. Similar work is also anticipated by Government office for the south-west.

Children, Schools and Families

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he plans to outsource work undertaken by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. [151919]

Kevin Brennan: This is a matter for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Anthony Douglas, the chief executive, will write to the Hon. Member with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Letter from Anthony Douglas, dated 25 July 2007:


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Education Maintenance Allowance: Somerset

Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many residents of Wansdyke constituency have been in receipt of educational maintenance allowance in each year since its introduction. [149899]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and hold the information about take-up and payments under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the Council’s Chief Executive, has written to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 12 September 2007:

Take-up of EMA in each academic year
2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 to end June

Bath and North East Somerset

561

1,060

1,356

South Gloucestershire

830

1,450

1,801


Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many residents of Wansdyke constituency are (a) eligible for and (b) in receipt of education maintenance allowance. [149900]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and hold the information about take-up and payments under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the Council’s Chief Executive, has written to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.


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Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 12 September 2007:

Number of 16 year olds expected to be eligible for EMA in 2006/07 EMA Take-up 16 year olds EMA Take-up 17 year olds EMA Take-up 18 year olds Total Take-up to end June 07

Bath and North East Somerset

720

687

523

146

1,356

South Gloucestershire

1,010

924

685

192

1,801


Education Maintenance Allowance: York

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students at education institutions in York are receiving education maintenance allowances; and what the total expenditure on the allowances in York was in the last year for which figures are available. [152194]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and hold the information about take-up and payments under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the Council's chief executive, has written to my hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Rob Wye, dated 20 September 2007:

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students at education institutions in York were receiving education maintenance allowances in 2006-07; and what the total expenditure on the allowances in York was in the 2006-07 academic year. [154940]

Jim Knight [holding answer 10 September 2007]: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council, who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and hold the information about take-up and payments under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the Council's chief executive, has written to my hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Rob Wye, dated 20 September 2007:


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