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Local Government Finance

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how long the pilot schemes on participatory budgeting will last. (153502)

The current pilot schemes in Bradford, Newcastle, Sunderland, Salford, Manton and Lewisham will last until March 2008. Sunderland has committed to continue prioritising a proportion of the new deal for Communities budget under a participatory budgeting process until 2011, when the NDC programme is due to finish.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria were used to select local authorities taking part in the participatory budgeting pilots. (153505)

The 10 participatory budgeting pilots are assisted by the Participatory Budgeting Unit, which this Department helps to support. Before helping to develop a pilot, the Participatory Budgeting Unit applies the following criteria: there must be political support for participatory budgeting as the process can only be undertaken with the approval of senior council officials or elected representatives; an appropriate source of funding must be identified; and there must be the capacity and resources to ensure good quality engagement with the community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government over what frontline services residents will be given a direct say in her plans for participatory budgeting. (153506)

In the participatory budgeting pilots, residents are having a say in the spending priorities for the following types of services:

Bradford: services for community and neighbourhood development in deprived areas, tackling safer communities, children and young people, environmental improvements, and health, housing issues, learning, sport and leisure and older people.

Newcastle: services for young people to help social cohesion and sporting activities; and safer, cleaner greener issues, for example, to counteract minor crime, improvements to parks, community cohesion and engagement.

Salford: minor road works to help safety.

Sunderland: funds to strengthen the community and undertake capacity building which includes projects to support young and older people working together, to support and develop young people and help ethnic minorities. Re-profiling of services under a number of themes including community safety, housing, environment, capacity building, job creation and education.

Manton: services funded include play areas, facilities for teenagers, sports and leisure, local police services, abating litter and rubbish.

Lewisham: The spending priorities have not yet been decided. Priorities will be selected under the following headings: encouraging volunteering, supporting young people, addressing community concerns, improving the health of local people, and bringing together diverse communities.

The services over which residents might have a say for the other four pilots have yet to be confirmed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what form consultation with councils taking part in the participatory budget pilots took. (153686)

In the cases of Bradford, Newcastle, Sunderland, Salford, Manton and Lewisham (where the participatory budgeting funds have been confirmed), the participatory budgeting unit held discussions with senior officials and/or elected representatives of the local council before assisting the lead organisation in the development of a pilot. A similar approach is being taken in the other pilot areas of St. Helens, Merseyside, Erdington in Birmingham and Thornhill in Southampton.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities listed increased revenue from (a) parking fines and (b) fly-tipping fines as an efficiency gain in their annual efficiency returns to her Department. (153689)

Our guidance (available at makes clear that the monetary sum of fines collected should not be counted as efficiency gains in annual efficiency statements.