§ Mr. Edward Davey
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the(a) total budget,(b) funding from his Department, (c) administration budget and (d) staff cost to his Department of the (i) Go North East—Corus Task Group and (ii) Review of the Planning Inspectorate was in financial years (A) 2002–03 and (B) 2003–04; and if he will make a statement on the (1) current and (2) future work of each body. 
§ Keith Hill
The information is as follows.
(i) GO North East—Corus Task Group
(a-d) No specific budget has been allocated by the Office for either administration costs or programme costs for this work.
(1) ONE NorthEast (the Regional Development Agency for the North East) in 2000 was asked to lead a Task Group to make a strategic response to the job reductions on Teesside announced by Corus at that time. This group completed its work in 2002. In response to the group's announcements in March and April 2003 on the future of its UK operations and the Teesside steel making facilities, ONE NorthEast reassembled the Task Group to work with the company to help to secure steel manufacturing at Teesside. The group has so far supportedWork to help the development of a business plan for Teesside Cast Products.Examining a diversification strategy for the supply chain.A study of the potential for use of any land and premises released.
(2) The group will continue for the foreseeable future, at least until the future of the Teesside steel making operations is settled.
(ii) The Review of the Planning Inspectorate
(a-d) The Review of the Planning Inspectorate was carried out by officials within the of the Deputy Prime Minister, with advice from consultants, directed by a Review Project Board of key stakeholders. The decision to undertake a review of the Inspectorate was made in July 2002. The administration costs to the Office in 2002–03 were £22,150 none of which were pay costs; and in 2003–04 were £144,420 of which £84,700 were pay costs. 1500W
- (1) The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) plays an essential role in the planning and other land-use related processes in England and Wales, handling plaoning appeals, development plans and other casework under planning, housing, environment and other relevant legislation. In doing so, it also plays an important part in the achievement of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister PSA targets and the delivery of its sustainable communities programme.
- (2) The review demonstrated that PINS has performed well in carrying out its duties, at a time when the volume of planning appeals is increasing. The review makes a number of recommendations on how its business processes might be improved to meet this demand more effectively and to help enable it to play its full part in delivering the Government's programme of planning reform.
The review was completed in October 2003, and the Review Report, together with an Action Plan, was published in February 2004.
§ Mr. Edward Davey
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the(a) total budget, (b) funding from his Department,(c) administration budget and (d) staff cost to his Department of (i) Regional Housing Boards, (ii) the Buildings Regulations Advisory Committee, (iii) the Community Housing Task Force and (iv) the Home Ownership Task Force were in financial years (A) 2002–03 and (B) 2003–04; and if he will make a statement on the (1) current and (2) future work of each body. 
§ Keith Hill
The information requested is as follows:
(i)Regional Housing Boards
(a-d) There were no identifiable budgets for the Regional Housing Board.
- (1) The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received the first Strategies in July 2003 and accepted the broad thrust of the Boards' recommendations for 2004–05 and 2005–06.
- (2) Each Board has been asked to develop their Strategy with a view to producing an updated version in early 2005 in order to advise Ministers on how allocations for 2006–07 and 2007–08 should be made.
One of the recommendations in the Barker Review was that Regional Housing Boards and Regional Planning Bodies be merged. The Government intend consulting with key stakeholders to consider how these bodies can be merged, and will come forward with proposals by the summer with a view to implementing them in 2005.
(ii) The Building Regulations Advisory Committee
(a-d) The Building Regulations Advisory Committee do not receive Government funding other than the internal costs to the Office of sponsoring this body.
- (1) The Building Regulations Advisory Committee was set up under the Building Act 1984 to advise the Secretary of State on the exercise of his power to make building regulations, and on other subjects connected with building regulations. It is currently assisting the Office with reviews of a number of parts the building regulations, including a review of Part B (Fire Safety) and Part C (Conservation of fuel and power).
- (2) In the coming year, the Committee will be assisting with new studies, including one on the potential for action through the building regulations to promote economy in the use of water and a review of the application to dwellings of Part M (Access to and use of buildings).
(iii) The Community' Housing Task Force
(a-d) The administrative budget for the Community Housing Task Force for 2002–03 was £1,064,200 of which £568,800 were staff costs. For 2003–04 the administrative budget was £927,600 of which £620,600 were staff costs.
- (1) The Community Housing Task Force is working with 165 local authorities, their tenants and broader stakeholders providing support, advice and building capacity to enable delivery of robust Option Appraisals by July 2005. The Government Offices for the Regions are responsible for assessing and signing off the Options Appraisals submitted. The Options Appraisal process sets out how local stock owning housing authorities together with their tenants will deliver Decent Homes by 2010 considering the various stock investment routes available to them.
- (2) No change is envisaged in the Community Housing Taskforce's key role in working with local authorities and tenants in delivering decent homes. However, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the joint working between the Taskforce and Government Offices, the Department is currently considering integrating the Taskforce within the Government Office network.
(iv)Home Ownership Task Force
(a-d) The Office provided no direct funding specifically for the Home Ownership Task Force. However, in 2003–04 staff costs of £13,000 were incurred by ODPM in servicing the secretariat.
- (1) The Home Ownership Task Force was established by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister in the Sustainable Communities Plan to look at the whole range of programmes aimed at helping social tenants and others into home ownership. The Task Force's work is now complete and its final report "A home of my own" was published on 13 November 2003. Copies of the report and executive summary are available on the Housing Corporation's website at www. housingcorp.gov.uk.
§ Mr. Edward Davey
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the(a) total budget, (b) funding from his Department, (c) administration budget and (d) staff cost to his Department for the (i) Property Advisory Group, (ii) Residential Property Tribunal Service, (iii) Community Forum and (iv) London Youth Crime Task Force was in financial years (A) 2002–03 and (B) 2003–04; and if he will make a statement on the (1) current and (2) future work of each body. 
§ Keith Hill
The information requested is as follows:
(i)The Property Advisory Group
(a-d) The Property Advisory Group did not have its own budget, but was funded from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister administrative resources. In 2002–03, total administrative costs were £49,570, of 1502W which staff costs was £40,557. For the period April to July 2003. the equivalent figures were £23,653 and £14,033.
- (1) The Property Advisory Group was wound up in July 2003 following an internal review of arrangements for consulting the property sector. The successor body is the Property Consultative Group.
(ii) Residential Property Tribunal Service
(a-d) The Residential Property Tribunal Service total budget for 2002–03 was £7,624,000 of which £7,530,000 was funding by the Office. Of this £1,934,000 was the administration budget all of which were staff costs. The total budget for 2002–03 was £7,822,000 of which £7,722,000 was funding by the Office. Of this £2,247,000 was the administration budget all of which were staff costs.
(1) The Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS) determines:disputes relating to enfranchisement or service charges;variations of leases previously dealt with at court;disputes about the new 'right to manage' provision.
(2) The RPTS will also be conferred with additional jurisdictions, including determining breaches of a lease. Provisions in the Housing Bill currently before Parliament also propose to confer new jurisdiction on the RPTS to hear appeals on local authority notices on the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System under Part 1, licensing decisions in respect of Houses in Multiple Occupation and other residential properties under Parts 2 and 3, and the making and content of Management Orders under Part 4 of the Bill.
(iii) The Community' Forum
(a-d) The Community Forum do not receive Government funding other than internal costs to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of sponsoring this body. The total ODPM annual budget for the Forum is £150,000 all of which is staff costs.
(1) The National Community Forum was established in January 2002 to advise the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) and provide a national focus for community involvement.
The Key Objectives of the Forum are:to act as a sounding board for the NRU by providing a community perspective on Government programmes;to develop new ideas to help make relevant policy and programmes more effective;to increase people's understanding of the role of the community in the delivery of neighbourhood renewal.
Alongside the Forum's broader task of advising the NRU on the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy, work is carried out in smaller groups, which focus members' energy according to their interests and experience. These groups deal with individual topics, which are structured around the following five central themes:Tackling the barriers that the benefits system can create for community engagement.The relationship between Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), Local democracy and Community Networks.Challenging the mindsets and structural barriers that prevent the engagement of different sectors of the community in neighbourhood renewal.1503WParticipation in community development by Young People.The impact of the 2004 Spending Review on engagement of the community sector.
(2) In the coming year the Forum will continue with its task of advising the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit and its work in smaller groups on individual topics.
(iv) The London Youth Crime Task Force
This is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary whose Department funds the Task Force.