To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answers of 15 March 2004, Official Report, columns 59–60W, on Coverage Care, what the current arrangements with Coverage Care (Gloucestershire) Ltd. are to which the answer refers; what the various circumstances referred to in the answer were in this case, regarding the provision of financial assistance from local authorities; what discussions have taken place between his Department and Gloucestershire county council over this matter; what rent arrears Gloucestershire county council has accrued in relation to Coverage Care (Gloucestershire) Ltd.; and whether the Government has asked the District Auditor to investigate the matter.
The circumstances are set out in detail in the general consents. Of particular relevance are "The General Consent under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 1988 for Small Amounts of Assistance 1999" and "The General Consent under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 1988 for Disposal of Residential Care Homes 1999".
In preparing for the possibility of a specific consent being sought from the First Secretary of State, the county council has explained the nature of possible proposals to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. However, information about the current arrangements with Coverage Care (Gloucestershire) Ltd.; details of proposals; and rent arrears accrued by Gloucestershire county council has resolved that information relating to the business affairs of the company should remain confidential. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not asked the District Auditor to investigate the matter.