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Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the funding available for new-rental housing association houses in 1996-97; and if he will estimate what funding would have been available if funding plans in the 1993 autumn statement had been maintained for each local authority in the east midlands. [19883]

Mr. Clappison [holding answer 12 March 1996]: The 1996-97 funding allocations made by the Housing Corporation in the east midlands for the provision of rented housing by housing associations through new build and rehabilitation are listed in the table. The Housing Corporation's estimate of what the allocations may have been for 1996-97 if funding plans in the 1993 autumn statement had been maintained are also listed. These estimates can only be hypothetical since the actual allocations depend on a series of factors including the nature of the schemes submitted by housing associations, local housing needs, local authority involvement and value for money. In any one year, activity by housing associations in a particular authority area can vary according to the schemes proposed and approved.

£ million

Local authority 1996-97 allocations Estimate of allocations based on 1993 autumn statement
Amber Valley 0.710.77
Ashfield 0.890.97
Bassetlaw 0.660.72
Blaby 0.280.30
Bolsover 0.430.47
Boston 0.180.20
Broxtowe 0.600.65
Charnwood 0.600.65
Chesterfield 0.660.72
Corby 0.210.23
Daventry 0.190.21
Derby 2.853.10
Derbyshire Dales 0.490.53
East Lindsey 0.941.02
East Northamptonshire 0.320.35
Erewash 0.730.79
Gedling 0.530.58
Harborough 0.270.29
High Peak 0.620.67
Hinckley and Bosworth 0.370.40
Kettering 0.510.55
Leicester 3.443.74
Lincoln 0.680.74
Mansfield 0.640.70
Melton 0.230.25
N/E Derbyshire 0.480.52
N/W Leicestershire 0.550.60
Newark and Sherwold 0.360.39
North Kesteven 0.400.43
Northampton 1.131.23
Nottingham 3.393.68
Oadby and Wigston 0.230.25
Rushcliffe 0.590.64
Rutland 0.100.11
South Derbyshire 0.390.42
South Holland 0.370.40
South Kesteven 0.800.87
South Northamptonshire 0.290.32
Wellingborough 0.260.28
West Lindsey 0.680.74
Total 28.0530.48

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 134

In addition, the Housing Corporation also makes funding allocations for social lettings provided through: the corporation's programme of new build and rehabilitation for shared ownership; and the corporation's other home ownership initiatives which release existing social lettings for reletting to others in housing need. Local authorities may also support housing association developments with local authority housing association grant.

Local Authority Voids

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the percentage and number of void local authority housing properties in each of the 10 local authorities with the highest figures. [20734]

Mr. Clappison: The 10 local authorities in England reporting the highest percentages of management vacants, dwellings available for letting immediately or after minor repairs, on 1 April 1995 are listed in the table.

Number of management vacantsManagement vacants as a percentage of total stock
Newcastle upon Tyne1,0672.72


1995 housing investment programme (HIP1) returns.

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 135

Methyl Bromide

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received regarding the effects of methyl bromide on the ozone layer. [20583]

Mr. Clappison: My Department has received 21 representations, covering a range of views, on methyl bromide over the last year.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he plans to introduce measures to reduce emissions of methyl bromide. [20584]

Mr. Clappison: The UK has already introduced controls on methyl bromide through EC regulation 3093/94, which is directly applicable to UK law. The regulation obliges all precautionary measures practicable to be taken to prevent leakages of methyl bromide during fumigations. It also includes a freeze on methyl bromide production and consumption at 1991 levels from January 1995 and a further 25 per cent. cut from 1998.

The meeting in December of the parties to the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer agreed to phase out methyl bromide in developed countries by 2010. The EC regulation will need to be amended in line with this decision, and the Council of Ministers has requested the Commission to come forward with appropriate proposals as soon as possible.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to establish monitoring facilities for methyl bromide levels in the atmosphere. [20585]

Mr. Clappison: Regular measurements of atmospheric concentrations of methyl bromide are carried out by the university of East Anglia on behalf of the Department of Environment at Macehead in the Republic of Ireland and Cape Grim in Australia in collaboration with international measurement programmes. Additional measurements have been made from time to time in urban areas, over the oceans and in the free atmosphere to investigate the sources and removal mechanisms for methyl bromide.

Local Authority Rent Arrears

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 10 local authorities with the largest rent arrears together with amounts outstanding; what percentage this figure represents of the annual rent collectable; and what is the largest single sum owed by a tenant in each authority. [20733]

Mr. Clappison: The 10 local authorities in England with the highest cumulative rent arrears as a proportion of rent roll on 31 March 1995, the latest date for which figures are available, are as follows:

Cumulative arrears as a percentage of 1994-95 rent rollTotal cumulative rent arrears £000
Hammersmith and Fulham15.16,553


Housing subsidy claim forms.

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 136

Information about amounts owed by individual tenants is not held centrally.

Housing Associations (Wirral and Liverpool)

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the moneys available in (a) the Wirral and (b) Liverpool-based housing associations for expenditure in the Wirral. [20786]

Mr. Clappison: In 1996-97, the Housing Corporation's funding allocation to the Wirral is £4.5 million. These funds are distributed to all housing associations whose proposed housing schemes in the Wirral were successful in this year's competition for funding irrespective of where those associations are based. Details of allocations to individual housing associations will be published in the Housing Corporation's regional allocations statements in early May.

Rural Housing

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from organisations on the extent of rural homelessness; and of the responses to this Department's White Paper on housing, what percentage expressed concern over the extent of rural homelessness. [20983]

Mr. Clappison: The representations we have received recently about rural housing issues, including those in response to the housing White Paper, have primarily been concerned with the proposed purchase grant proposals. My Department has commissioned research into the nature of housing need and the demand for housing in different types of rural areas. The results are expected later this year.

Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what safeguards he will introduce to ensure that future provision of rural social housing meets demand. [20981]

Mr. Clappison: Guidance is provided by the Department to local authorities on the preparation of their housing strategies and the need to identify and prioritise rural housing needs alongside other housing needs in their areas. Their priorities guide the allocation of Housing Corporation funding for new social housing to meet housing need in each area.

Public funding continues to support the Housing Corporation's rural housing programme which provides new social housing in small rural villages of 3,000 and fewer population. Between 1996-97 and 1998-99 this programme is expected to approve around 1,500 new rural homes a year which is over 300 more than the number being provided in 1995-96.

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 137

To safeguard the supply of affordable rented housing and ensure the continued provision of sites, the Government are proposing to exempt small rural villages of 3,000 and fewer population from the purchase grant scheme. This exemption will also apply to the voluntary scheme that is being launched in April 1996.

A new rural housing enhancement factor will be introduced on 1 April 1996 to address the additional costs associated with developing schemes in rural areas. The effect of this multiplier will be to increase by up to a quarter the proportion of grant which schemes would otherwise receive.

We have also recently issued for consultation a draft circular on planning and affordable housing that provides practical advice to local planning authorities and developers on the implementation of affordable housing policies and clarification of how to assess need.

Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the level of rural homelessness (a) in total and (b) as a percentage of the national total of homeless households in each year since 1989. [20980]

Mr. Clappison: The information is not available centrally. The data collected from local authorities on homeless households accepted for re-housing do not differentiate between households from rural and non-rural areas.

I have today placed in the Library a summary print showing the reported acceptances in each local authority area in England for the years 1980 to 1995.

Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of rural housing is unfit for human habitation. [20982]

Mr. Clappison: The 1991 English house condition survey found 7.6 per cent. of rural housing to be unfit under section 604 of the Housing Act 1985, as amended by schedule 9 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

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