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7 Jan 2008 : Column 240W—continued


Specialised Diplomas: Expenditure

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what expenditure from the public purse has been incurred to date by (a) the Learning and Skills Council, (b) the sector skills councils, (c) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, (d) the Gateway process and (e) his Department on (i) the diploma programme and (ii) individual diplomas. [173868]

Jim Knight: Expenditure on (i) the diploma programme by the Learning and Skills Council, the Sector Skills Council, the Qualifications Curriculum Authority, the Gateway process and the Department is set out in the following table.

£ million
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 (30 November)

LSC

Sector Skills Council

1.847

6.217

5.533

QCA

1.14

6. 86

8.76

Development costs .

1.4

2.4

6.54


Expenditure on (ii) individual diplomas (including by the LSC) is zero as participation on diplomas has yet to start.


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Teachers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) secondary and (b) primary Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) teachers were in service at any time during their first three years after gaining QTS in the latest period for which figures are available. [174271]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Vocational Training: Sunderland

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to ensure that residents from the city of Sunderland will have the necessary skills to take advantage of jobs resulting from the Olympics in 2012. [175224]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has a joint responsibility with the Department for Work and Pensions to maximise the employment and skills benefits for the UK arising from Games-related business. In the main, this will be achieved using existing initiatives such as Train to Gain, as we help employers in meeting their skill needs to design, build and deliver the Games, and encourage individuals to develop their skills so that they can compete for opportunities and progress within the labour market beyond 2012. To do this, we have initiated a programme of activities which are nation or UK-wide, rather than related to specific cities or regions. On the employer side, two cluster groups of sector skills councils are leading two areas: one to look specifically at the issues relating to the built environment and environmental improvements for the Games; and the other is looking at the staging and legacy aspects of the Games. Other specific employer-led initiatives include a programme of media training placements being developed by Skillset; the national skills strategy for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism in England developed by People 1st; and the National Skills Academy for Construction centre on the Olympic site which the Prime Minister announced on 29 November. For individuals, initiatives include new advanced apprenticeships in sporting excellence; customer service and hospitality apprenticeships; and the LDA-led Personal Best Programme which is currently being
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piloted in London but will be offered nationally and is targeted at individuals furthest away from the labour market to improve skills and promote employability.

Within the Sunderland area itself initiatives include promoting business opportunities to Sunderland companies; engaging in discussions regarding the Cultural Olympiad; Sunderland venues registering as possible venues for pre-Games training camps; and Sunderland university has been involved in discussions concerning the north-east's regional cultural volunteering programme. The north-east's plans for the Games also include the development of a sport-related work force and making the most of the opportunities available for the key nine sectors in the regional economic strategy.

Young People: Disadvantaged

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what funding he plans to allocate to Hertfordshire to assist young people with disadvantaged backgrounds; and if he will make a statement. [174465]

Jim Knight: Funding for young people with disadvantaged backgrounds is a component of the Dedicated Schools Grant. On 12 November I announced to Parliament the three year school funding settlement for 2008-11. In addition to the existing funding for deprivation in DSG allocations, a new deprivation indicator is being used to fund the Pockets of Deprivation Ministerial Priority. In 2008-09 funding for Hertfordshire is £3,896 per pupil, of which 7.5 per cent., or £292, is for educational disadvantage.

Further information on the new indicator, the local authority allocations for pockets of deprivation and the overall proportion of each local authority’s DSG allocation for deprivation is on the Teachernet website at:

Youth Citizenship Commission

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when the Youth Citizenship Commission referred to in the Governance of Britain Green Paper will be launched; who the members of the commission will be; when he expects the recommendations of the commission to be published; and if he will make a statement. [174088]

Ed Balls: We will be making an announcement on the Youth Citizenship Commission in the new year.


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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 7 January 2008

Communities and Local Government

Christmas

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether it is her Department's policy to use (a) incandescent light bulbs and (b) LED lights for festive decorations on departmental premises; [173490]

(2) what her Department's policy is on the selection of (a) real and (b) artificial Christmas trees for her Department's festive decorations; and how real trees are disposed of. [173532]

Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government provides a real Christmas tree in the reception of its three HQ buildings. The trees are sustainably sourced, whereby for each tree harvested, another is planted. These are decorated using ultra-energy-efficient LED lights. The trees are disposed of sustainably by conversion to wood chips for composting and mulching.

Closed Circuit Television: Planning

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what permitted development rights exist for CCTV cameras (a) on a fixed pole and (b) affixed to a building. [176193]

Mr. Iain Wright: Part 33 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 grants permitted development rights for the installation, alteration or replacement on buildings or other structures (such as walls, fences or poles) of CCTV cameras for security purposes, subject to specified limits on size, numbers and positioning. Part 33 does not apply to listed buildings. Nor does it give permitted development rights to poles or other structures specially constructed to hold cameras.

Community Relations

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she has taken to improve community cohesion and integration since 2005. [175634]

Mr. Dhanda: When Communities and Local Government (CLG) was set up in May 2005, policy for community cohesion was one of the areas which transferred to the new Department. Since then, CLG has provided support for local areas experiencing challenges to cohesion and supported the independent Commission for Integration and Cohesion. We announced an initial response to the Commission in
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October, which included an additional £50 million funding to support local areas work to build cohesion over the next three years. We will announce a full response to the Commission shortly.

Community Relations: Chelmsford

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to improve community cohesion in West Chelmsford constituency. [174983]

Mr. Dhanda: Both “Strong and Prosperous Communities” the Local Government White Paper and the Government’s initial response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion’s final report, “Our Shared Future”, recognise the need to respond to the community cohesion challenge faced by increasing change in local communities.

In the 2006 Best Value Survey West Chelmsford scored above the national average on the measure for cohesion (“the percentage of residents who agree that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together”). The Department for Communities and Local Government is not undertaking specific cohesion work with West Chelmsford.

However within the new performance framework for local authorities and local authority partnerships there are mechanisms to monitor progress against the new single set of national indicators which includes indicators of community cohesion, and the new local area agreements offer the opportunity to identify priority improvement targets.

Departmental Conditions of Employment

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of posts in her Department were recategorised from back office to frontline posts as classified by the Gershon efficiency review in each year since 2004. [172249]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Communities and Local Government is committed to achieving work force reductions of 400 full-time equivalents by the end of 2007-08. This is a net target and no posts will be reallocated to the frontline as part of it.

Empty Property

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes she is making to the requirement for local authorities to have a register of empty homes returned to use. [176196]

Mr. Iain Wright: There is no statutory requirement on local authorities to hold a register of empty homes returned to use. However, local authorities are expected to take measures to reduce the number of homes that are left empty for long periods of time as part of their strategic housing role. Local authorities may therefore choose to keep information about empty homes in their area in the form of a register if this helps to facilitate their strategic approach.


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English National Land Use Database

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many hectares of derelict land are recorded on the English National Land Use Database, broken down by government office region. [176162]

Mr. Iain Wright: In 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, there were an estimated 17,850 hectares of derelict land and buildings in England. This is broken down by region as follows:

Region Hectares

North East

1,130

North West

4,970

Yorkshire and The Humber

2,920

East Midlands

1,790

West Midlands

2,070

East of England

1,970

London

250

South East

1,260

South West

1,490

England

17,850


English Partnerships: Expenditure

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much English Partnerships has spent since its establishment in each parliamentary constituency in England. [175546]

Mr. Iain Wright: English Partnerships’ expenditure is not available at parliamentary constituency level as it records most of its expenditure by individual local authority. A breakdown of English Partnerships’ spend in each local authority area since 2001-02 has been deposited in the Library of the House. Due to organisational changes, data prior to 2001 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

As some expenditure is incurred at national level, a figure for national spend is included for completeness. This covers national investment in financial vehicles like the English Cities Fund, Priority Sites Ltd. and Networkspace; the purchase of national portfolios of land such as that from the NHS in 2005; and research.

Environment Protection: EU Law

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to amend legislation to meet the requirements of the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments. [176158]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Town and Country (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 (SI No. 293) (the 1999 Regulations) are the principal regulations which apply environmental impact assessment (EIA) to development proposals. On 15 November 2000 they were amended to apply EIA to applications for review of conditions attached to mineral planning permissions.


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We are currently planning to make two further amendments to the 1999 Regulations. The first will allow EIA to be applied at the reserved matters stage following the grant of outline planning permission

The second amendment will apply the requirements of the 1999 Regulations, as amended in 2000, to the few outstanding applications for initial review of old mineral permissions which pre-date 15 November 2000 and which are stalled because information to enable EIA to be carried out has not been provided. The effect of the new Regulations will be to allow new conditions to be attached to permissions to mitigate the environmental impact of mineral operations.

Fires: Chemicals

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what instructions were given by her Department’s staff at the oxyacetylene fire incident on the A12 at Eight Ash Green on Friday 5 October 2007; whether her Department received any requests for the penetration of the oxyacetylene cylinder by high velocity rifle round; and if she will make a statement. [175549]

Mr. Dhanda: No instructions were given by Communities and Local Government (CLG) staff with regard to the oxyacetylene incident on the A12.

CLG did not receive any requests for the penetration of the oxyacetylene cylinder by high velocity rifle round.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire-fighters have been (a) killed and (b) injured by explosions caused by oxyacetylene cylinders in the last 10 years. [175553]

Mr. Dhanda: There have been no recorded deaths or injuries of firefighters following explosions of an acetylene cylinder in the last 10 years.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on which occasions trunk road motorway or rail closures of more than three hours have been caused by fires involving oxyacetylene since such fires began to be recorded as fires of special interest; and if she will make a statement. [175554]

Mr. Dhanda: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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