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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on the impact of immigration on (a) new house building and (b) previously occupied housing, with particular reference to Peterborough. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 19 October 2007]: Information is not available centrally on the local impact of migration on household growth. At the England level, the 2004-based household projections show that, for England, 73,000 of the 223,000 annual average household growth (or 33 per cent.) is attributable to net migration.
The draft East of England Plan includes a housing requirement for Peterborough of 25,000 additional dwellings between 2001 and 2021, which takes into account population growth and demographic change. It will be for Peterborough city council and its partners to assess locally how the demand and need for additional housing should be met through its existing and proposed housing stock.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she is giving to local authorities on the implications of the Governments policy of promoting the role of the third sector in delivering services for the transfer or sale of buildings and other assets to voluntary organisations. 
John Healey: As part of the Governments response to the Quirk Review on community management and ownership of public assets, Communities and Local Government intends to publish new guidance on local authority asset management in general, and including specific guidance on transferring physical assets to community management and ownership, in spring 2008.
The Cabinet Office is directing specific funding support to partnerships of local authorities and third sector organisations to facilitate the transfer of physical assets from local authorities, through its £30 million Community Assets Fund.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the precept was on Band D council tax bills set by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority in each year since 1997-98; 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to amend the Levying Bodies (General) Regulations 1992 in relation to the precept set by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. 
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether each local authority pension fund in the East of England is in surplus or in deficit; and by how much in each case. 
John Healey: The 89 funds that comprise the Local Government Pension Scheme in England and Wales are undergoing an actuarial valuation of their funds as at 31 March 2007, as required by the schemes regulations. The outcome for each fund, including their solvency position, will not be known until later in the current financial year.
In the meantime, the results from the 2004 valuation for English local authorities participating in the scheme are given at www.xoq83.dial.pipex.com/actvale.pdf
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1683W to the hon. Member for Beckenham, on local government finance, whether the funding allocated for participatory budgeting in each of the pilot areas will entirely be allocated according to participation by the public. 
John Healey: Participatory budgeting gives residents a real say in how part of a public budget is spent. The funding in each of the pilot areas set out in the reply of the 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1683W, is being allocated according to participation by the public.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) total budget and (b) estimated administration costs are of each Government Office for the Region in England in 2007-08. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department and its taskforces have made of the
(a) direct and (b) indirect costs of local government inspection to (i) central Government and (ii) local government. 
John Healey: The Audit Commission is the only inspectorate of local government to charge a fee element to authorities for inspection. The Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for sponsorship of the Audit Commission. The total inspection fee income in 2006-07 published by the Commission was around £11 million. This is offset by Revenue Support Grant. CLG also pays grant to the Commission to underwrite the cost of its inspection activity. In 2006-07 this grant totalled £26 million.
There are no definitive figures to calculate the indirect costs of inspection to local government. The Government are committed to changing the local inspection landscape and significantly reducing the cost and amount of inspection carried out; this includes reducing inspectorate expenditure by around a third over the medium term as overall inspectorate activity is reformed. Indirect costs of inspection are expected to reduce as the amount of inspection is reduced.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations her Department received from the Audit Commission to reform sections 15 and 16 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 in relation to the inspection of accounts and the fees levied on parish councils for carrying out such inspections. 
John Healey: The Audit Commission made representations seeking reform of sections 15 (Inspection of documents and questions at audit) and 16 (Right to make objections at audit) of the Audit Commission Act 1998 in October 2005. These representations were considered and amendments to those sections are proposed in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill. These amendments, respectively, place restrictions on the rights of individuals to see personal information which is included within audited accounts, and withdraw objectors rights to appear before the auditor to make objections, thereby limiting objections to those made in writing.
The representations in relation to section 15 asked for the section to be repealed, arguing that persons can already obtain information from auditors under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The representations in relation to section 16 asked for the section to be repealed, arguing that the right to make objections at audit is more efficiently met in other ways.
These proposals are not included in the Bill currently before Parliament. Assurances have been given to the Audit Commission that these proposals will be carefully considered at the next legislative opportunity.
Sir John Butterfill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to ensure the use of land in Parliament Square as a campsite complies with the provisions of the Public Health Act 1936. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 17 October 2007]: The Government are not intending to take any action to ensure Parliament Square as a campsite complies with section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936.
The Mayor of London and the Greater London authority (GLA) are responsible for the management of the central gardens of Parliament Square, including any byelaws under section 385 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. The Mayor has recently made it publicly clear that
the GLA can no more allow the Square to become an unauthorised camp site than would be the case with any other park or public square in London. Parliament Square does not have the facilities to be a campsite and must be a sanitary and healthy environment for all.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the date is for the transfer of regional planning responsibilities from the regional chambers to the regional development agencies. 
The review sets out the Government's proposals for the future of regional institutions including regional assemblies. Regional assemblies will continue as regional planning bodies until new arrangements are introduced.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the presence of ground source heat pumps would be taken into account in the valuation of a property for business rate purposes by the Valuation Office Agency. 
John Healey: The plant and machinery involved in heating a building by means of a ground source heat pump will form part of the premises, and its contribution to the rental value of the premises will be reflected in the assessment of rateable value.
Mr. Iain Wright: Lancashire county councils latest estimate for their permitted sand and gravel reserves is 4.1 million tonnes (2007 figure). This figure reflects those sites with current planning permission.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidelines are issued to Lancashire County Council on the amount of sand it is expected to produce each year. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Sand and Gravel Guideline (2001-16) produced by Communities and Local Government allocated 55 million tonnes for the North West. The North West regional assembly subsequently sub-regionally apportioned 8.2 million tonnes of this to Lancashire for this period. Sub-regional allocations are subject to periodic review.
Detailed operational information on the Train to Gain service is not held centrally by the Department but is collected by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). I have asked Mark Haysom, the LSC chief executive, to write directly to the hon. Member with the available information. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Jonathan Shaw: The Environment Agency provides flood warnings to the public by local radio and directly to individuals by telephone, mobile phone, text messages, emails, pagers and faxes through their Floodline Warnings Direct service. The agency considers these communication methods more effective than sirens.
Jonathan Shaw: Immediate prospects for the UK dairy sector are much better than they have been for some time. This is due to the current positive world market situation leading to increasing world demand though we recognise that input costs have increased for many.
Hilary Benn: The Rural Payments Agency is undertaking a wide range of actions aimed at improving its performance in administering the single payment scheme (SPS). Action to date enabled the agency to meet its formal target of making over 96.14 per cent. of 2006 SPS payments by 30 June 2007.
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