HC Deb 07 September 2004 vol 424 cc1170-3W
Mr. Tony Clarke

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent by Northampton borough council in each year since 1997 on(a) refurbishment, (b) redecoration and (c) renewal of its directly-owned housing stock; and what the average spending per property was each year, excluding the amount spent on central Government schemes, including the New Deal. [186516]

Keith Hill

Work carried out on council housing stock is generally categorised as Capital and Revenue. The work carried out under the Capital heading includes installation, replacement or major repairs and could be categorised as refurbishment. Work under Revenue would consist of minor and routine repairs, including redecoration. Figures for Capital and Revenue spend since 1997 are set out in the following table:

particularly the possibility of individual members holding executive positions, and of mayoral referendums and petitions.

The amended Code provides for restrictions on publicity in circumstances where there is a by-election or election affecting the local authority's area, a mayoral referendum or a mayoral petition. The 2001 amendment explicitly enables local authorities to respond to events or enquiries during the period preceding an election or referendum with answers that are factual and not party political.

Bob Spink

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Audit Commission's latest ratings are for councils in(a) Essex and (b) the Eastern area. [186534]

Mr. Raynsford

The information is as follows:

(a) The Audit Commission announced the results of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) for district councils in the county of Essex in June this year. The outcomes of the assessments for Maldon and Rochford district councils have not yet been published. The results are listed in the following table along with the results for Essex county council and single tier councils in Essex.

Council Rating
Essex County Council1 Good
Basildon DC Fair
Braintree DC Good
Brentwood BC Good
Castle Point DC Poor
Chelmsford BC Good
Colchester BC Excellent
Epping Forest DC Good
Harlow DC Poor
Southend on Sea BC1 Fair
Tendring DC Good
Thurrock1 Weak
Uttlesford DC Fair
1Single tier and county councils.

(b) The table below shows the CPA results for councils in the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk. District councils in the County of Suffolk have yet to be assessed. The exception is Ipswich, in Suffolk, which was a Pathfinder council for the CPA methodology and was rated as a 'good' council. CPA categories for Single Tier and County Councils were last announced in December 2003 and their results will be updated again in December 2004. All district councils will have been assessed by December 2004.

Council CPA


Date Assessment


Bedfordshire County1 Poor 18 December 2003
Bedford BC Good 22 July 2004
Luton BC1 Good 18 December 2003
Mid Bedfordshire DC Fair 22 July 2004
South Bedfordshire DC Good 22 July 2004
Cambridgeshire County1 Good 18 December 2003
Cambridge CC (Pathfinder) Excellent 22 January 2004
East Cambridgeshire DC Good 22 July 2004
Fenland DC Fair 22 July 2004
Huntingdonshire DC Excellent 22 July 2004
Peterborough CC1 Fair 18 December 2003
South Cambridgeshire DC Fair 22 July 2004
Hertfordshire County1 Excellent 18 December 2003
Broxbourne BC Good 6 May 2004
Dacorum BC Good 6 May 2004
East Hertfordshire DC Good 6 May 2004
Hertsmere BC Fair 6 May 2004
North Hertfordshire DC Fair 6 May 2004
St Albans CC Fair 6 May 2004
Stevenage BC Good 6 May 2004
Three Rivers DC Good 6 May 2004
Watford BC Weak 6 May 2004
Welwyn Hatfield DC Fair 6 May 2004
Norfolk County1 Good 18 December 2003
Breckland DC Good 13 November 2003
Broadland DC Fair 13 November 2003
Great Yarmouth BC Good 13 November 2003
King's Lynn and West Norfolk BC Good 13 November 2003
North Norfolk DC Fair 13 November 2003
Norwich CC Fair 13 November 2003
South Norfolk DC Good 13 November 2003
Suffolk County1 Good 18 December 2003
Ipswich BC Good 22 January 2004
1Single tier and county councils.

Bob Spink

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many councils in England were assessed as(a) excellent, (b) good, (c) fair and (d) weak in the last available assessment. [186535]

Mr. Raynsford

Tables showing the latest results for all single tier and county councils and for all the district councils that have been assessed so far (189 out of 238 councils altogether) have been made available in the Library of the House. Since the Comprehensive Performance Assessment categories for all single tier and county councils were last announced (December 2003), a number of councils have had a corporate reassessment in 2004, seven of which have now moved up a category. These councils are Coventry, Durham, North Lincolnshire, Southwark, St Helens, Wakefield and Walsall.

Mrs. Spelman

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance his Department has issued relating to local authority websites; whether this includes guidance on external links to councillors' party political websites; and if he will make a statement. [186134]

Mr. Raynsford

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has issued no guidance specifically concerned with local authority websites.

The Department for En#ironment, Transport and Regions Circular 06/2001 "Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity", issued under section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986, sets out certain limits on the nature of material to which a local authority may devote expenditure. It recommends that local authorities should not solely rely on websites as a means of disseminating information, and it sets out that local authority publications, including those published on local authority websites, should treat issues in an objective and informative way. The code does not stipulate which sites may or may not be linked to by a local authority website.

Bob Spink

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will apply the 2001 Census data for the next round of calculating the local government finance settlement; [187598]

(2) whether it is his policy to use the most up-to-date data available for calculating grant distribution to local authorities; and if he will make a statement. [187599]

Mr. Raynsford

On 21 July 2004, I announced to the House that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not intend to use 2001 Census data for the 2005–06 Local Government Finance Settlement, 21 July 2004.Official Report, column 3OWS.

This announcement followed work carried out by officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and local government experts during the last year to remodel Formula Spending Shares (FSSs) using the 2001 Census data. Incorporating the new Census data in the funding formula is not a simple task. It is technically incorrect to update the Census data in the police formula; and in other areas the changes needed to incorporate the 2001 Census data would break the current formula freeze, and could cause large changes to the distribution of FSSs. I should also add that, for the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services and the Highways Maintenance formulae, we still do not have all the 2001 Census data we need.

In the Government's December 2001 White Paper 'Strong Local Leadership–Quality Public Services' (CM5237), it was announced that there would be a freeze on formula changes for 2004–05 and 2005–06 in order to ensure a period of stability for councils. In deciding not to use 2001 Census data in the 2005–06 FSS calculations, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister balanced this aim of providing stability in local authority funding against our desire to use the most up-to-date data in the funding formulae calculations.

Mr. Jenkin

To ask the Deputy#Prime Minister what the cost was of the Boundary Committee Review of local government in(a) the North East, (b) the North West and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber. [187254]

Mr. Raynsford

The costs of the local government reviews undertaken by the Boundary Committee were:

£ million
North East Region 1,272,168
North West Region 1,973,416
Yorkshire and Humber Region 662,983