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Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much of the budget from his Department for the home energy efficiency scheme in 2000-01 has been allocated; and what difficulties have been encountered by managers of the scheme in meeting the target number of homes due to be assisted. 
Mr. Meacher: For the 2000-01 financial year the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) in England had a total budget of £121.8 million. This was for the final months of the old scheme and for the new HEES scheme, which started on 1 June 2000. The total amount allocated for the year was £113.1 million. Of this, £77 million was paid on the receipt of satisfactory invoices. The balance of £36.1 million represents work orders yet to be completed or for which invoices have not yet been submitted.
The new public spending framework introduced in the Comprehensive Spending Review gives the Department freedom to carry forward unspent grant provision from one year to the next, within a three-year budget cycle.
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The main difficulty encountered by HEES is recruiting sufficient contractors to install and repair gas central heating systems. This is caused by the national shortage of qualified heating engineers. To address the problem, scheme managers are seeking additional qualified heating installers, and encouraging existing installers to increase the number of installation teams dedicated to HEES. These efforts have substantially increased the number of installations and cut the time taken to install measures to less than three months in most areas of England.
In conjunction with Transco plc and the Gas Industry National Training Organisation, my Department introduced training programmes to provide an additional 800 gas engineers over the next 12 months to work under HEES. These will enable the scheme to cope better with short-term fluctuations.
Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effects on the High Peak constituency of his Department's policies and actions since May 1997. 
Ms Armstrong: The principal funding that this Department has provided to High Peak borough council and Derbyshire county council between 1997-98 and 2001-02 is shown in the table. This includes grants and borrowing approvals for revenue and capital expenditure.
It is not possible to determine how much of this money Derbyshire county council has spent on High Peak constituency. It is for the local authority to decide where within its boundary these resources are applied.
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|Nature of funding||1997-98||1998-99||1999-2000||2000-01||2001-02(1)|
|High Peak borough council|
|Revenue support grant||1.993||2.186||2.122||2.001||2.235|
|Income from national non-domestic rates||2.790||2.829||3.043||3.384||3.353|
|Housing investment programme||0.894||1.036||1.103||2.732||(2)3.817|
|Capital receipts initiative||--||0.685||0.671||--||--|
|Housing revenue account subsidy (management and maintenance allowance)||(3)704.69||(3)702.92||(3)709.44||(3)733.63||(3)732.81|
|Capital challenge (supplementary credit and basic credit approvals)||0.340||0.398||0.500||--||--|
|Derbyshire county council(6)|
|Transport supplementary grant||1.008||1.060||1.132||--||--|
|Transport annual capital guideline||1.008||1.060||1.132||--||--|
|Transport block supplementary credit approval||0.970||0.891||2.371||5.939||18.008|
|Rural bus challenge grant (from 1999-2000)||--||--||0.800||0.155||0.600|
|Rural bus subsidy grant (from 1998-99)||--||0.714||0.714||0.714||0.912|
(1) Where known
(2) Includes major repairs allowance
(3) Per property
(4) SRB schemes include a five-year industrial development and enterprise training project, a five-year community-led project to improve social well-being in the most deprived area in the High Peak and a five-year project to develop Buxton. There is no SRB expenditure in that part of Derbyshire Dales district which falls within the High Peak constituency.
(5) Includes expenditure in Derbyshire Dales district which falls within the High Peak constituency.
(6) Figures for Derbyshire county council exclude funds allocated for the Derby local transport plan area.
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3 Apr 2001 : Column: 100W
(a) if he will assess the benefits of including the performance of registered social landlords in meeting housing need within the objectives of the Housing Corporation's proposed new regulatory code and (b) what representations he has received on this issue. 
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Mr. Raynsford: The contents of the Housing Corporation's new regulatory code are a matter for the Housing Corporation. The Corporation issued a draft regulatory code on 12 January 2001 for consultation and has received a number of representations in respect of the contents of the code.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 27 March 2001, Official Report, column 568W, what plans he has for the Housing Corporation's draft revised Statutory Housing Management Guidance to contain strengthened guidance on the obligations on registered social landlords to provide accommodation for households with priority under local authority allocation schemes. 
Mr. Raynsford: Under S36 of the Housing Act 1996, guidance to registered social landlords is issued by the Housing Corporation. The Corporation plans to issue for consultation a draft of its revised Statutory Housing Management Guidance in May. The Secretary of State will not approve guidance under S36(4) unless he is satisfied with its requirements in relation to the provision of accommodation for households with priority under local authority allocation schemes.
Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he intends to proceed with the East London Line extension to (a) Croydon, (b) Wimbledon and (c) Clapham Junction. 
Mr. Hill: The proposals to extend the East London Line to West Croydon and Wimbledon form part of the Transport and Works Act 1992 application submitted last year by London Underground Ltd. The Secretary of State is considering the Inspector's report.
Mr. Hill: The Strategic Rail Authority are actively working on developing the Orbirail concept as a major part of their aspirations to enhance rail services in London. The Government support these aspirations, but no commitments can be made at this stage while the proposals are still under consideration.
Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what role the Children's Commissioner for Wales will have in respect of matters that are not devolved to the National Assembly for Wales. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: The Commissioner's core functions under the Bill rightly focus on matters that come within the Assembly's wide fields of responsibility. However, the Government have carefully considered the points made in debate here and in another place about
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the Commissioner needing to have a role in matters not devolved to the Assembly. We therefore intend amending the Bill to empower the Commissioner to consider, and make representations to the Assembly about, any matter affecting the rights and welfare of children in Wales.
Mr. Stunell: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Hazel Grove constituency, the effects on Hazel Grove of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
The Solicitor-General: In November 1999, in line with national policy the Stockport/Sale branch of the Crown Prosecution Service introduced procedures based upon the Narey proposals. It did this in liaison with the Greater Manchester police and the Stockport magistrates court.
All adult defendants charged with a criminal offence now make the first appearance before Stockport magistrates court within 96 hours. The present figures suggest that between 40 per cent. and 45 per cent. of all defendants have their case finalised more quickly than previously was the case.
In January 2001, in line with national policy and new legislation, the CPS and the magistrates court started sending the most serious (indictable) cases to the Crown court within one week of the first appearance in the magistrates court. Henceforth, Crown court judges will monitor the progress of these cases and it is anticipated that they should also be finalised more quickly than previously.
So far as youth offenders are concerned, the CPS--together with the police, the magistrates courts and the local youth offending team--have agreed procedures designed to bring persistent youth offenders before the court much more quickly. They are working towards the Government's 71-day target for disposing of such cases. Protocols have also been designed to bring all youth offenders before the Crown court much more quickly.
Since May 1997, the Stockport team of the Stockport/ Sale branch has successfully prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, including several murders, attempted murders and drug-related offences. On Friday 23 March 2001, a 16-year-old youth was found guilty of attempted murder and aggravated burglary on 87-year-old, Miss Edith Champman, of Hazel Grove. The defendant has been remanded in secure accommodation for reports to be prepared before he is sentenced. In October 2000, Ian Morrison was found guilty of the attempted murder of his ex-wife and two police officers and attempted wounding with intent of a third police officer. He was sentenced to a total of 16 years' imprisonment.
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