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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 22 March 2000

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Tenant Subsidies

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the average annual subsidy per tenant, taking into account housing benefits and capital grants paid by the Exchequer, to (a) council tenants and (b) tenants of registered social landlords, in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [114719]

Mr. Mullin: Table 1 shows the information that is available on the level of Exchequer support for tenants of local authorities and of registered social landlords (RSLs), but the information does not allow a direct comparison between the two sectors. The table shows the Exchequer subsidy which is paid to local authorities in respect of their tenants as Housing Revenue Account subsidy, and the Housing Benefit paid to tenants of RSLs.

Capital support for local authorities is in the form of permissions to borrow (known as Basic Credit Approvals) rather than capital grants; the interest on this borrowing is subsidised as part of the Housing Revenue Account subsidy.

Table 2 shows the Exchequer capital grants paid as Social Housing Grant (SHG) to RSLs by the Housing Corporation through the Approved Development Programme (ADP). SHG enables RSLs to provide affordable housing for rent and sale. Because the benefit of the SHG is realised over the lifetime of the property there is no direct correlation between the grant paid in any one year and the number of tenants.

Table 1
£ per dwelling per annum

Average per dwelling of Housing Element and Rent Rebate subsidy paid to local authoritiesAverage gross expenditure on rent allowances for tenants of registered social landlords
1990-91922--
1991-92964--
1992-931,044--
1993-941,1001,222
1994-951,1451,430
1995-961,1461,640
1996-971,1731,825
1997-981,1401,892
1998-991,0781,977

Notes:

1. The figures are averages per dwelling.

2. Local authority information is derived from subsidy claim forms, and shows the sum of Housing Element and Rent Rebate subsidy.

3. For registered social landlords, estimates derived from quarterly and annual statistical returns, and annual subsidy claim forms, from local authorities.

4. Information on average gross expenditure for registered social landlords is not available before 1993-94.

5. England only


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Table 2: Housing corporation gross approved development programme expenditure
£ million

Year
1992-932,351
1993-941,810
1994-951,484
1995-961,142
1996-971,044
1998-99684
1998-99607

Notes:

1. Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme is the main component of the Social Housing Grant. RSLs bid for capital grants from the ADP to develop new social housing, with rents at sub-market levels.

2. Figures taken from Housing Corporation Stewardship Reports. Reliable information is only available from 1992-93.

3. England only


Rail Safety

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many of the directors of the safety company subsidiary of Railtrack will have a background in an industry other than railways; what will be the composition of the board; what arrangements have been made for funding the company; and to what extent he has been consulted on the appointments of directors; [114833]

Mr. Hill: Work to establish the company is being overseen by a committee chaired by a senior DETR official on which Railtrack are represented at board level.

The composition and arrangements for the appointment of the board of the safety subsidiary and its funding arrangements are matters for the Rail Regulator and the Health and Safety Commission to consider when taking forward changes to Regulations and to Railtrack's network licence, which are subject to public consultation procedures.

Empty Properties

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if there is a centrally held list of empty properties owned by housing associations; and if so how many (a) have been empty for under six months, (b) have been empty for under one year and (c) have been empty over a year; [114801]

Mr. Mullin: A centrally held list of properties owned by housing associations does not exist.

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The Housing Corporation is the regulatory body for housing associations (also referred to as registered social landlords--RSLs). The Corporation keeps various details about stock owned/managed by RSLs (from the annual Regulatory and Statistical Return and other returns), but this does not include a list of property addresses.

The RSLs themselves maintain records of all their properties in order that they can manage their properties to the standards set down by the Corporation--and to provide information for audit purposes.

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The performance standards laid down by the Corporation include some that cover the control of empty properties. For instance, no more than two per cent. of properties under management should be empty at any time.

The overall RSL vacancy rate is not monitored continuously, so the current situation is not known. However, as a guide, the table shows the vacancy rates as at 31 March in 1998 and 1999--and how many vacant units had been empty for less than six months, for between six months and a year and for more than a year.

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Number of vacant self-contained RSL units

At March 31 each yearAvailable for lettingPercentageNot available for lettingPercentageTotal vacanciesPercentage
Vacancies in 1998
Less than 6 months13,547886,0494719,59669
6 months to 1 year1,04372,908233,95114
More than a year78253,874304,65617
Total15,37210012,83110028,203100
Vacancies in 1999
Less than 6 months15,143887,8525322,99572
6 months to 1 year1,15672,504173,66011
More than a year86354,514305,37717
Total17,16210014,87010032,032100

Sources:

Profile of the RSL Sector, 1998 (Table 3.9), published by the Housing Corporation

Profile of the RSL Sector, 1999 (provisional draft of table 3.9)--unpublished but due to be published during 2000 by the Housing Corporation


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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will list the number of empty council-owned properties in each local authority; [114799]

Mr. Mullin: Local authorities in England provide information on the number of vacant dwellings in their ownership as part of their annual Housing Investment Programme submission to the Department. The latest available information, as reported by local authorities on their 1999 HIP returns, is on a computerised dataset available in the Library.

A level of vacancy is a usual feature of housing management, reflecting turnover and movement within the stock. There is likely to be some variation in the proportion of dwellings that are vacant in a local authority from one date to another during the year.

Homelessness

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people are registered on each local authority list as homeless. [114769]

Mr. Mullin: Homeless households accepted by local authorities are those which, after investigation, were found to be eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need under part VII of the Housing Act 1996. The latest available information is given in the table.

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Number of households accepted by local authorities as being unintentionally homeless and in priority need under the provisions of the 1996 Housing Act: October-December 1999

Number
North East
Alnwick7
Berwick-upon-Tweed5
Blyth Valley9
Castle Morpeth0
Chester-le-Street4
Darlington48
Derwentside29
Durham10
Easington15
Gateshead89
Hartlepool65
Middlesbrough94
Newcastle upon Tyne74
North Tyneside246
Redcar and Cleveland63
Sedgefield34
South Tyneside40
Stockton-on-Tees46
Sunderland138
Teesdale2
Tynedalen/a
Wansbeck13
Wear Valley8
Yorkshire and The Humber
Barnsley47
Bradford282
Calderdale66
Cravenn/a
Doncastern/a
East Riding of Yorkshire60
Hambleton2
Harrogate26
Kingston upon Hull56
Kirklees273
Leeds530
North East Lincolnshire16
North Lincolnshire63
Richmondshire2
Rotherham59
Ryedale4
Scarborough41
Selby14
Sheffieldn/a
Wakefield49
York67
East Midlands
Amber Valley55
Ashfield10
Bassetlaw52
Blaby3
Bolsover14
Boston12
Broxtowe27
Charnwood23
Chesterfield53
Corby10
Daventry27
Derby242
Derbyshire Dales6
East Lindsey62
East Northamptonshire12
Erewash33
Gedling35
Harborough12
High Peak34
Hinckley and Bosworth20
Kettering25
Leicester162
Lincoln13
Mansfield42
Melton13
Newark and Sherwood61
North East Derbyshire19
North Kesteven11
North West Leicestershire55
Northampton73
Nottinghamn/a
Oadby and Wigston6
Rushcliffe11
Rutland0
South Derbyshire51
South Holland5
South Kesteven55
South Northamptonshire26
Wellingborough1
West Lindsey9
East of England
Babergh15
Basildon82
Bedford91
Braintreen/a
Breckland59
Brentwood9
Broadland42
Broxbourne61
Cambridge60
Castle Point14
Chelmsford74
Colchester101
Dacorumn/a
East Cambridgeshire45
East Hertfordshiren/a
Epping Forest26
Fenland24
Forest Heath8
Great Yarmouth44
Harlow68
Hertsmere10
Huntingdonshire30
Ipswich46
Kings Lynn and West Norfolk46
Luton55
Maldon26
Mid Bedfordshire11
Mid Suffolk19
North Hertfordshire49
North Norfolk24
Norwich137
Peterborough54
Rochford9
South Bedfordshire50
South Cambridgeshire23
South Norfolk29
Southend-on-Sea18
St. Albans26
St. Edmundsbury36
Stevenage28
Suffolk Coastal26
Tendring73
Three Rivers22
Thurrockn/a
Uttlesford17
Watford36
Waveney22
Welwyn Hatfield49
Greater London
Barking and Dagenham66
Barnet239
Bexley66
Brent252
Bromley189
Camden331
City of London22
Croydon291
Ealing278
Enfield201
Greenwich294
Hackneyn/a
Hammersmith and Fulham165
Haringey428
Harrow 158
Havering125
Hillingdon229
Hounslow192
Islington295
Kensington and Chelsea112
Kingston upon Thames48
Lambeth242
Lewisham259
Merton59
Newham383
Redbridge159
Richmond upon Thames94
Southwark303
Sutton176
Tower Hamlets264
Waltham Forestn/a
Wandsworthn/a
Westminster288
South East
Adur58
Arun46
Ashford20
Aylesbury Vale26
Basingstoke and Deane44
Bracknell Forest16
Brighton and Hove201
Canterbury60
Cherwell25
Chichester32
Chiltern34
Crawley52
Dartford33
Dover19
East Hampshire29
Eastbourne73
Eastleigh10
Elmbridge38
Epsom and Ewell16
Fareham44
Gosport45
Graveshamn/a
Guildford25
Hart32
Hastings47
Havant62
Horsham55
Isle of Wight49
Lewes44
Maidstone29
Mid Sussex28
Milton Keynesn/a
Mole Valley21
New Forest57
Oxford83
Portsmouth150
Reading88
Reigate and Banstead34
Rother36
Runnymede20
Rushmoorn/a
Sevenoaks32
Shepway47
Sloughn/a
South Bucks8
South Oxfordshire46
Southampton165
Spelthorne12
Surrey Heath30
Swale28
Tandridge21
Test Valley41
Thanetn/a
The Medway Townsn/a
Tonbridge and Malling23
Tunbridge Wells85
Vale of White Horse47
Waverley20
Wealden58
West Berkshire53
West Oxfordshire7
Winchster12
Windsor and Maidenhead23
Woking33
Wokingham24
Worthing54
Wycombe75
South West
Bath and North East Somerset58
Bournemouthn/a
Bristol278
Caradon21
Carrick50
Cheltenham41
Christchurch21
Cotswold29
East Devon36
East Dorset18
Exeter41
Forest of Dean19
Gloucester37
Isles of Scilly0
Kennet47
Kerrier34
Mendip26
Mid Devon36
North Cornwall42
North Devon20
North Dorset31
North Somerset40
North Wiltshire59
Penwith27
Plymouth260
Poolen/a
Purbeck16
Restormel40
Salisbury68
Sedgemoor28
South Gloucestershiren/a
South Hams54
South Somerset83
Stroud3
Swindonn/a
Taunton Deane70
Teignbridge56
Tewkesbury20
Torbay55
Torridge10
West Devon31
West Dorset34
West Somerset19
West Wiltshire72
Weymouth and Portland58
West Midlands
Birmingham1,247
Bridgnorth7
Bromsgrove39
Cannock Chase35
Coventry90
Dudley53
East Staffordshire6
Herefordshire51
Lichfield13
Malvern Hills20
Newcastle-under-Lyme40
North Shropshire20
North Warwickshire6
Nuneaton and Bedworth16
Oswestry17
Redditch60
Rugbyn/a
Sandwell235
Shrewsbury and Atcham29
Solihull136
South Shropshiren/a
South Staffordshire46
Stafford18
Staffordshire Moorlands13
Stoke-on-Trent32
Stratford-on-Avon20
Tamworth20
Telford and Wrekin50
Walsall295
Warwick56
Wolverhampton106
Worcestern/a
Wychavon29
Wyre Forest89
North West
Allerdale13
Barrow-in-Furness2
Blackburn with Darwen36
Blackpool36
Bolton178
Burnley57
Bury31
Carlisle6
Chester25
Chorley31
Congletonn/a
Copeland10
Crewe and Nantwich53
Eden12
Ellesmere Port and Neston18
Fylde7
Haltonn/a
Hyndburn20
Knowsley40
Lancaster29
Liverpool196
Macclesfieldn/a
Manchester632
Oldham269
Pendle16
Preston35
Ribble Valley15
Rochdale124
Rossendale49
Salford101
Sefton22
South Lakeland8
South Ribble35
St. Helens25
Stockport56
Tameside123
Trafford109
Vale Royaln/a
Warrington62
West Lancashire4
Wigan116
Wirral156
Wyre23

Notes:

1. n/a indicates the authority did not provide a return.

2. Figures reported may include a small number of residual cases eligible under 1985 Housing Act.

Source:

DETR quarterly P1(E) returns


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