|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what date the public inquiry into the planning appeal in respect of the Victorian Jumbo water tower at Colchester is to be heard. 
Ms Keeble: The planning appeals and related listed building consent appeals were received on 19 June and are to be the subject of a public local inquiry. The Planning Inspectorate is processing the appeals and arrangements are currently in hand to identify a suitable date for the inquiry.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the top 10 companies to which his Department contracted out their construction and refurbishment work in the last 12 months. 
|Service provider||Spend £|
|Dalkia Energy and Technical Services||3,004,046|
|Willmott Dixon Ltd.||2,102,034|
|Thrislington Engineering Co Ltd.||294,315|
|Dalkia Technical Service Ltd.||265,216|
|M J Ferguson Ltd||150,000|
|R G Carter Maintenance||131,988|
|Planned Maintenance Engineering Ltd.||130,578|
|Mansell Construction Services Ltd.||98,982|
|Hon. Lady Smith Construction Ltd.||75,270|
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what his policy is on (a) electrification of the east coast main line between Edinburgh and Aberdeen and (b) reopening the Borders railway; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Jamieson: These are primarily matters for the Strategic Rail Authority whose Strategic Agenda contains a list of possible future rail schemes, including some electrification schemes and the reopening of the Borders railway.
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 554W
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason the Government do not allow local (a) residents and (b) authorities to decide on the level of local housing development in their areas. 
Ms Keeble: The Government believe that a strategic approach should be taken in determining the level of housing development to ensure that every member of our society has the prospect of a decent home, that economic growth is not impeded and that our countryside is protected from unnecessary and insensitive development. Local authorities, representing the local electorate, play a key role in this process but Government may need to intervene in the wider public interest.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans the Government have to increase the power of local residents to counter-appeal against housing developments on green belt land. 
Ms Keeble: Local people already have the opportunity to make their views known on development proposals before local planning authorities determine planning applications. There is also the right to challenge the grant of planning permission by a local planning authority by seeking judicial review. We have no current plans to introduce a third party right of appeal against authorities' decisions to grant planning permission.
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the performance of the Government Offices for the Regions in 200001 was in meeting targets for issuing decisions on called-in planning applications and on recovered appeals following receipt of the inspector's report; and if he will make a statement. 
The number of call-in and recovery casestypically, between 120 and 150 of each a yearrepresents a very small proportion of the number of planning applications and appeals dealt with every year. They also tend to be rather more complicated than the generality of planning decisions. Nevertheless, it is clear that, overall, there continues to be a need to expedite the decision-making process. The Department is considering what further measures are needed to improve performance.
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 555W
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps he is taking to select English candidates for appointment to the next term of the European Union Committee of the Regions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: Members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) are appointed by the European Council on the basis of proposals made by member states. We have invited comments from the Local Government Association and from regional interests on a proposed procedure for selecting persons to be proposed to the European Council this autumn as English members of the UK delegation to the Committee of the Regions.
The proposals are designed to give regional bodiesRegional Chambers and the Greater London Authoritya formal link with the Committee of the Regions, while maintaining a coherent group representation for England as a whole. These proposals reflect our intention to make an order under the Greater London Authority Act 1999, to amend the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993, so as to extend eligibility for CoR membership to members of the Greater London Authority, including the Mayor.
Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what responses he has received to ""Access to Information in Local Government", a consultation paper on aspects of the access to information regime for local authorities in England. 
Mr. Raynsford: To date we have received 150 written responses to "Access to Information in Local Government", a consultation paper on aspects of the access to information regime for local authorities in England. We are now considering these responses carefully.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to revalue domestic properties in England for council tax purposes; and if he will make a statement. 
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 556W
council tax bills based on updated property values issuing in 2007. Revaluations will not, of course, lead to any overall increase or decrease in the council tax yield.
Regular revaluations will ensure that the council tax burden is distributed fairly on the basis of more up-to-date property values. Respondents to last year's Green Paper on local government finance were overwhelmingly supportive of the proposal to establish a fixed cycle for council tax revaluations. Setting out a timetable for revaluations gives local authorities a clear timetable and framework within which to make their financial plans.
Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his plans are for distributing revenue grant to local authorities in 200203; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Government's objective is to create a local government finance system that distributes grant fairly and effectively and gives councils greater financial autonomy to help them better meet the needs of their local communities.
In our Green Paper on local government finance, published last September, we consulted on whether to extend the moratorium on changes to the formula used to distribute revenue grant to local authorities by a further year, to include 200203. After considering the consultation responses, we have concluded that while reforming the revenue grant distribution system is an important priority, we must ensure that there is adequate time for preparation and consultation.
We know that there remain disparities in the education funding formula which are not justified by the education needs of children. We have been working with local government and other education interests on the best way to resolve these issues but there is not yet agreement on the way forward.
We have therefore decided to keep the existing grant formula stable for 200203. Over the coming year, we will work up proposals in partnership with local government for a reformed grant formula which we will introduce in 200304. The Government will work to the same timetable with local government and the wider education community on revising the education funding formula to focus on children's needs. I then expect to see the moratorium on formula changes re-introduced for 200405 and 200506.
Today's announcement will give local authorities some welcome financial stability and will allow them to plan ahead. Meanwhile we will enhance that financial stability and predictability by developing the floors and ceilings protection which we introduced for some authorities in 200102 so that all authorities get a reasonable increase in grant and no authority gets an unduly large increase. We intend to extend floors and ceilings to cover police and fire authorities for 200203; and to discuss how best to enhance grant stability in 200203 for shire district councils, who do not have education and social service responsibilities.
20 Jul 2001 : Column: 557W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|