HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 cc635-6W
Mr. Grogan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will issue the results of round 1 of the gypsy Sites Refurbishment Grant programme. [154040]

Mr. Raynsford

My Department has today written to all local authorities that submitted bids for Gypsy Sites Refurbishment Grant. 75 bids were received for this first round of the £17 million three-year grant programme. A total of 38 projects have been approved for grant funding in 2001–2002. A list of successful and unsuccessful bids has been placed in the Library of the House.

All bids were evaluated against key criteria including: quality of the project plan; outcome of consultation with residents; cost of the project; site condition analysis; previous investment history; site sustainability and certainty of the local contribution element.

Authorities whose bids have been successful are being given evaluation feedback. We consider this is important in its own right. It will also afford authorities the opportunity to improve their bids and resubmit them for consideration in rounds 2 and 3.

We believe that the existing network of local authority owned gypsy sites represents a valuable resource for gypsies. The three year grant programme is in recognition of the importance the Government attach to local authorities keeping their sites in good condition and available for use by gypsies. It is also in line with our aim of providing everyone with the opportunity of a decent home.

The injection of funding, and that which will follow in rounds two and three, will help local authorities extend the useful life of sites; bring them into full use and improve the quality of life for residents. Helping to keep gypsy sites available for use is also an important part of Government policy to minimise the disruption that can arise from unauthorised encampments.

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