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Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what has been the total Government spending to date on the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line. 
Mr. Spellar: The scope and options for taking forward the project, if powers are granted under the TWA (Transport and Works Act 1992) Order, are currently being considered with Railtrack, the Strategic Rail Authority, Virgin and the other passenger and freight operators on the route. Until the final outputs are agreed, a meaningful estimate of the full cost of the upgrade cannot be given.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assistance is available to key workers who are unable to top up their maximum borrowing potential to an amount sufficient to obtain a mortgage for a property in London under the Starter Home Initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: The Starter Home Initiative will supplement the amount which key workers are able to borrow in order to help them purchase a home. In their bids for SHI funding, scheme managers set out the household incomes they will be targeting for SHI assistance, the range of property prices to be purchased and the amount of SHI funding required. SHI will be provided only to potential purchasers who can demonstrate that they can sustain the long term costs of home ownership. SHI will not benefit those who are unable to raise the other resources necessary for house purchase.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement in respect of third-party rights of appeal in relation to planning applications. 
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Ms Keeble: As indicated in our Planning Green Paper, published on 12 December, a third-party right of appeal against the grant of planning permission could add to the costs and uncertainties of planning, which we could not accept. We believe that the right way forward is to make the planning system more accessible and transparent and to strengthen the opportunities for community involvement throughout this process. Proposals to achieve this were set out in the Green Paper.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will bring forward legislation for a register of social landlords to be held and administered by local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: No. The Housing Corporation has a statutory duty, under section 1 of the Housing Act 1996, to maintain a register of social landlords. This is open to inspection at all reasonable times at the head office of the Housing Corporation and is also available on its website http://www.housingcorp.gov.uk/index.htm.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who approved the employment of the road surfacing contractor in the recently completed road surfacing of the M5 Avonmouth Bridge Road; and what their previous record of experience was with this type of work. 
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which local authorities are subject to a ceiling in the local government finance settlement; how much money is forgone by each of these authorities; what the average reduction to all local authorities would be if the ceiling had not been introduced; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: The table shows the local authorities subject to ceilings, together with the difference between the increase produced by the standard spending assessment formula and the increase payable at the ceiling, for each of these authorities:
|Kensington and Chelsea||8,596,545|
|Kingston upon Thames||593,416|
|Derbyshire Police Authority||355,410|
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Figures quoted in the table are based on data provided to local authorities on 28 December 2001. These are subject to change, and the final data will be announced with our final settlement proposals in late January or early February.The money raised through the ceiling helps to finance the cost of the floor. The average reduction to each authority is therefore not relevant.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which division in his Department is responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations to the letting of controls; and what information they hold on contracts let by other divisions in his Department. 
The Procurement Services Division maintains details of contracts that it has let on behalf of Directorates who do not hold a delegation to award contracts. Other Directorates that have a delegation to award contracts are expected to maintain their own records. There is currently no central record of all contracts let by the Department.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many council houses in Buckinghamshire have smoke alarms that are (a) mains powered and (b) battery powered; and in the case of battery powered alarms how many are powered by (i) a one-year life replaceable PP3 battery and (ii) a 10-year life sealed unit lithium battery. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list those policy initiatives his Department or its predecessor Departments have made in the field of planning and transportation since 1997 which have affected parish and town councils. [27654R]
Ms Keeble [holding answer 15 January 2002]: Planning Policy Guidance note 12: Development Plans (1999) states that local authorities should consult parish councils about development plans. Guidance on Full Local Transport Plans (2000) states that local authorities should work closely with parish councils in drawing up and implementing their local transport plans.
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Quality Town and Parish councils, about which we have issued a consultation paper. The Rural White Paper also set out proposals for supporting the preparation of town and village plans, the design and land-use aspects of which can be adopted by the local planning authority as supplementary planning guidance.
The Planning Green Paper "Planning: delivering a fundamental change", issued in December 2001, proposes that local authorities' existing development plans should be replaced by local development frameworks which would include action plans, principally for areas undergoing change. Action plans may include neighbourhood, village or parish plans.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the latest forecast of the Highways Agency is of the future congestion levels around junction 25 of the M5 in (a) one year, (b) three years, (c) five years and (d) 10 years; and what plans he has to implement a separate junction on the M5 between junction 24 and junction 25. 
Mr. Spellar [holding answer 15 January 2002]: There are no current predictions of future congestion on either the M5 at junction 25 or on the local roads, but the Highways Agency is developing, with Somerset county council, a traffic model for the Taunton area. This will include this junction and the surrounding roads which are the responsibility of the county council. I shall let the hon. Member know when the work is complete.
There are no current plans for an additional junction on the M5 motorway between junctions 24 and 25 but the London to South Wales and the South West Multi-Modal Study is looking at problems on the main transportation corridors in the study area, including the M5 at Taunton. I cannot speculate on the conclusions of the study, which is due to report in the spring.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason a TR110 statutory notice has been served on Taunton Deane borough council by the Highways Agency in connection with a planning proposal near junction 26 of the M5. 
Mr. Spellar [holding answer 15 January 2002]: A direction, under Article 14 of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995, was served by the Highways Agency on Taunton Deane borough council to allow the agency time to assess the traffic impact on junction 26 of the M5 of a proposal to erect industrial units on land adjoining Chelston Business Park.
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