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Government Offices for the Regions: Manpower

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff are employed by the Government office for (a) the east of England, (b) the east midlands, (c) London, (d) the north-east, (e) the north-west, (f) the south-east, (g) the south-west and (h) Yorkshire and the Humber; what each office's expenditure was in each of the last five years; and what the total staffing cost was for each office in the last year for which figures are available. [188899]

Mr. Dhanda: The staffing information (as at January 2008) is as follows:

The running cost expenditure for each of the offices for the last five years is as set out in the following table.








East Midlands












North East






North West






South East






South West






Yorks and the Humber






The total staffing costs in 2006-07 were as follows:

Home Information Packs

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many representations have been received calling for a home information pack to be required prior to marketing. [188209]

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Caroline Flint: We have received a range of representations about HIPs, including some relating to the current first day marketing provision. We continue to welcome such representations as HIPs bed in and we move towards a permanent state of implementation.


Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2008, to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield, Official Report, columns 1527-28W, on housing, how many domestic dwellings were on the valuation list in each year since the establishment of council tax. [178620]

John Healey: Details of the number of domestic dwellings on the valuation list are published each year in “Local Government Financial Statistics (England)”.

The information for 1993 was published in LGFS No. 4: 1990-91 to 1993-94, for 1994 in LGFS No. 5: 1994, for 1995 in LGFS No. 6: 1995, for 1996 in LGFS No. 7: 1996, for 1997 in LGFS No. 8: 1997, for 1998 in LGFS No. 9: 1998, for 1999 in LGFS No. 10: 1999, for 2000 in LGFS No. 11: 2000, for 2001 in LGFS No. 12: 2001 and for 2002 to 2006 in LGFS No. 17: 2007.

These publications are in the Library of the House and LGFS Nos. 11, 12 and 17 are also available on the Communities and Local Government website at

The data are provided by the Valuation Office Agency.

Housing: Debt

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the historic housing debt remaining at the latest available date; what rate of interest was charged on that date; how much has been written off for (a) stock transfer and (b) large-scale voluntary transfers since 2000; and what the cost is of treating the remaining debt in the same fashion as that in transfers. [186840]

Caroline Flint: No distinction is drawn between ‘historic debt’ entered into to build councils’ housing stock and ‘new debt’ entered into to pay for decent homes. The total assumed housing debt in 2007-08 is £17.3 billion. The interest on debt is governed by each council’s Consolidated Rate of Interest (CRI). The CRI is different for each authority and depends upon the number, value and period of the various loans that authorities have negotiated individually. The average CRI for 2007-08 is 6.17 per cent.

If a local authority’s attributable housing debt is not cleared either in part or in entirety by receipts from a registered social landlord (RSL) through large-scale voluntary transfer arrangements, the debt that remains is transferred from the local-authority sector to central Government through a payment made to the Public Works Loan Board. Overhanging debt payments to the Public Works Loans Board under these debt transfer arrangements since 2000 are shown in the following table.

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£ million

















A payment of £17.3 billion would be required to be made to the PWLB to transfer the remaining housing debt to the Exchequer.

Job Creation: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many jobs were directly created by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund in Newcastle in 2006-07; and what proportion of these were for residents of (a) Newcastle and (b) priority areas of the fund. [187410]

John Healey: In 2006-07 the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) was pooled within the Local Area Agreement (LAA). The NRF was un-ring-fenced and eligible areas were free to use this funding in ways that would contribute to narrowing the gap between the most deprived areas and the rest within each district. Performance was monitored across six key themes—crime, education, health, worklessness, housing and live ability.

It is not possible to determine exactly how many jobs were created as a direct consequence of NRF use in Newcastle.

Job Creation: Working Neighbourhoods Fund

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued on the recording of jobs created directly in Working Neighbourhoods Fund priority areas. [187411]

John Healey: The Working Neighbourhoods Fund will be paid as part of the new Area-Based Grant—a non-ring-fenced general grant—from April 2008. In accordance with the freedoms and flexibilities afforded to local authorities through the local government White Paper we will not be placing any additional burdens on local authorities to report on the use of any part of the grant outside the 198 National Indicators. Performance on tackling worklessness will be monitored as part of these 198 indicators, but not specifically the number of jobs created.


Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether public requests to order disposal can be applied to land owned by (a) Government Departments and their agencies, (b) the Crown Estate, (c) regional development agencies, (d) English Partnerships and (e) the British Rail Residual Body. [183249]

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Mr. Dhanda: Part 10 of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 makes provision for the disposal of public land, including the specific public request to order disposal (PROD) power. Schedule 16 of the Act lists the specific bodies to whom part 10 of the Act applies.

The five bodies listed in the question are not listed in schedule 16 of the Act and therefore public requests to order disposal cannot be applied to any land owned by these bodies, apart from one small exception. English Partnerships is a single operational entity which brings together the Urban Regeneration Agency and the Commission for the New Towns. However, these two bodies continue to exist legally. The Commission for the New Towns is listed in schedule 16 of the Act as a body to which part 10 applies. If it could be proved that the land in question was owned by The Commission for the New Towns, the public request to order disposal could be applied to that land.

Local Authorities: Equality

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government have taken to assist local authorities in tackling gender pay gaps among their employees. [188901]

John Healey: Central Government have recently increased the financial flexibility available to local authorities to meet their equal pay obligations and to speed up progress on delivering equal pay. On 5 February, we announced that the Government would continue to support councils to meet their equal pay obligations through a further equal pay capitalisation round in 2008-09. This builds on the £500 million issued to 46 authorities on 28 September 2007 for the current financial year. These directions were issued much earlier in the financial year than previous capitalisation directions to facilitate better financial planning and to maintain the momentum already achieved.

Local Authorities: Vehicles

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department collects information on the proportion of local authorities' vehicles manufactured in the UK. [187677]

Mr. Dhanda: This information is not held centrally.

Local Government Finance: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the area based grant for 2008-09 will be for each Tyne and Wear local authority; and how much its various predecessor grants were for those authorities in 2007-08. [187424]

John Healey: The Government published allocations of the area-based grant (ABG) at individual authority level on a three-year basis alongside the local government finance settlement 2008-09 to 2010-11. Full details of the allocations, as at the time of the
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settlement, are available on the Communities and Local Government website:

The 2008-09 Allocations for Tyne and Wear authorities for the period 2008-09 are as follows.

£ million



Newcastle upon Tyne


North Tyneside


South Tyneside




Area-based grant is a new non-ring-fenced general grant which comprises some 40 funding streams from seven Government Departments including my own, three of which are new and 37 of which were previously paid as specific grants. Data on the 2007-08 allocations of the 37 predecessor grants are not held in one place at individual local-authority level, and it would incur disproportionate costs to collate the information. A list of the former specific grants moved into ABG is available on our website at

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