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Mr. Iain Wright: Based on HM Land Registry house price data for April to June 2007, there were 20 local authorities that had 15th percentile house prices that were less than 70 per cent. of the national level.
Blackburn with Darwen
Kingston upon Hull
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of homes that meet the decent homes standard but do not meet the thermal comfort standard. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In order to meet the decent homes standard a home must provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort as defined in A Decent Home: definition and guidance for implementation available at:
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities she expects to include Best Value Performance Indicators (a) No. 1, (b) No. 2 and (c) No. 3 as one of their priority targets in their 2008 local area agreements. 
John Healey: Best value performance indicators are being abolished with effect from 1 April 2008 and will be replaced with a single set of 198 national indicators, which was announced by the Secretary of State in October 2007. The national indicator set includes:
NI 1: Percentage of people who believe people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local area,
NI 2: Percentage of people who feel that they belong to their neighbourhood, and
NI 3: Civic participation in the local area.
Local authorities are currently negotiating with their local partnerships and Government offices to agree which of the 198 indicators in the national indicator set will be included in their LAA. The negotiations will not conclude until June 2008.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) estimate her Department has made of and (b) research her Department has conducted into the cost of (i) local authority reporting to central Government and (ii) local government inspection by external inspectors and auditors. 
John Healey: A PricewaterhouseCoopers report Mapping the Performance Landscape, commissioned by this Department and published in July 2006, estimated that the costs of reporting performance information to central Government was of the order of £2.6 million. This estimate is based on a study of four local authorities. The Department for Communities and Local Government will begin research during the 2008-09 financial year to consider the savings due to the introduction of the new performance framework.
The Department is responsible for sponsorship of the Audit Commission. The Audit Commission is the only inspectorate of local government to charge a fee element to authorities for inspection. The total inspection fee income in 2006-07 published by the Commission was around £11 million. The Department also pays grant to the Commission to underwrite the cost of its inspection activity. In 2006-07, this grant totalled almost £26 million. The Department does not hold information about the costs of inspection of local authorities by other local inspectorates.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for which funding streams the index of multiple deprivation, or elements of it, is used as a mechanism in whole or in part to allocate central funding to local areas. 
John Healey: The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) has been used by Communities and Local Government to determine eligibility for the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund which was in operation between 2001 and 2008. The Department has also recently used the IMD as the basis for two of the three criteria used to determine eligibility for the Working Neighbourhoods Fund.
I am also aware that the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) has used the IMD or elements of it to allocate funding for a number of its programmes; and that the Department of Health has used the IMD either as an element or to allocate funding to primary care trusts (PCTs) on the basis of the relative needs of their populations.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the re-use of empty domestic dwellings will be incentivised in the allocation mechanisms of housing and delivery grant. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government published draft allocation criteria for the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant for consultation in October 2007, which closed on 17 January. We will set out final allocation criteria in due course taking account of the views expressed in the consultation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the extent to which local authorities
have used Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres to support and develop the role of street markets in their own town centres; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Governments planning policy for town centres, Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6), recognises that street and covered markets (including farmers' markets) can make a valuable contribution to local choice and diversity in shopping, the vitality of town centres and to rural economies.
PPS6 asks local authorities to seek to retain and enhance their existing markets and, where appropriate, re-introduce or create new ones. They are also asked to ensure that existing markets remain attractive and competitive by investing in their improvement. It is for local authorities to decide on the level of support they give to street markets in their town centres, as appropriate to their particular area.
John Healey: Highway maintenance is one of the services supported via formula grant. Formula grant, which comprises revenue support grant, redistributed business rates and principal formula police grant, where appropriate, is an unhypothecated block grant i.e. councils are free to spend the money on any service provided they meet their statutory obligations. For this reason, and due to the method of calculating formula grant, particularly floor damping, it is not possible to say how much grant has been provided for any particular service.
In addition, Lancashire received £14.332 million of capital funding for highway maintenance in 2006-07. This funding is not ring-fenced and authorities have discretion to spend it in line with their priorities.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether account is taken of security systems and burglar alarm systems by the Valuation Office Agency when revaluing a property for (a) non-domestic rates and (b) council tax. 
Similarly, such systems should be taken into account when reviewing a banding for council tax although, in practice, the effect on value is extremely unlikely to result in a home being placed in a different band.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2008, Official Report, columns 589-91W, on the Thames Gateway to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar if she will list the central Government departments that are involved in the Thames Gateway. 
Communities and Local Government
Department of Health
Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
UK Trade and Investment
Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs
Department for Children, Schools and Families
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Transport
Department for Culture Media and Sport
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Justice
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 592W, on the Working Neighbourhoods Fund, which local authorities which were in receipt of Deprived Areas Fund, but which did not receive Neighbourhood Renewal Funding, will not receive Working Neighbourhood Funding following the end of any transitional relief. 
John Healey: The authorities listed were in receipt of Deprived Area Fund but did not receive Neighbourhood Renewal Funding and will not receive an allocation of funding from WNF following the end of transitional relief.
Kensington and Chelsea
East Riding of Yorkshire
Ellesmere Port and Neston
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Weymouth and Portland
Newark and Sherwood
Crewe and Nantwich
Isle of Wight
City of London
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