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Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will estimate the number of new dwellings to be completed by (a) local authorities and (b) registered social landlords using the funds provided for this purpose in each of the years of the current Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Ms Keeble: My Department estimates that under the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme, Registered Social Landlords will produce a total of around 65,000 new or rehabilitated homes for low cost renting or home ownership over the period of the current spending review, 2001 to 2004. The precise number depends critically on the costs of land and construction. This does not include Starter Home Initiative funded new dwellings.
In addition, my Department estimates that local authorities, through local authority social housing grant, will fund around 20,000 affordable homes. This does not include the release of local authority dwellings through the cash incentive scheme. These are estimates based on current investment patterns. How local authorities decide to allocate resources in the future is a matter for local discretion.
Estimates of the number of homes to be provided in each of the three years are not available.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to amend the rules on parish polls to require any voter adding his or her name to the request for a poll on a particular issue to declare any interest that they may have in the subject of the poll; and if he will make a statement. 
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Dr. Whitehead: As part of our initiatives, following the Rural White Paper (Cm 4909), to strengthen local democracy at parish level we will be reviewing the operation of parish polls including the proposal that any voter adding his or her name to the request for a poll on a particular issue should declare any interest that they may have in the subject of the poll. Any change to the current requirements will require primary legislation.
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the local authorities in (a) England, by region, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales that own housing stock indicating in each case (i) how many properties they manage, (ii) how much debt they have in their housing revenue account and (iii) what plans they have to deal with their investment and repair backlogs. 
Ms Keeble: The information requested on the numbers of dwellings owned by each local authority in England and the associated Housing Revenue Account debt, has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Details of the information provided on plans to tackle renovation and improvement backlog is in the Housing Revenue Account Business Plans that authorities were required to produce for the first time last summer and is available in the Library of the House (see Section E of the Statistical Appendix to the Business Plan).
The quality of these initial plans varies considerably and not all authorities have been able to provide backlog figures in line with the definitions set. Government Offices however, are working closely with authorities to improve the robustness of the assessment of investment needs and expenditure plans.
Responsibility for housing matters in Scotland and Wales rests with the Scottish and Welsh Offices.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what countries ban white asbestos. 
Dr. Whitehead: This information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Under the European Commission Directive 1999/77/EC white asbestos is due to be banned throughout the European Union by 1 January 2005. Many member states, including the UK, have introduced the ban in advance of that date.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the relative risks of (a) white and (b) blue asbestos. 
Dr. Whitehead: In line with most scientific opinion, the Government have always taken the view that white asbestos presented a lower risk per unit of exposure than blue asbestos. However white asbestos still represents a risk and is classified as a Category 1 carcinogen by the European Union.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment his Department has made of the cost of implementing the register of asbestos conditions from 2002 to (a) British businesses and (b) public buildings. 
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Dr. Whitehead: The total compliance costs for the proposed new duty to manage the risk from asbestos are estimated to be £350 million for public buildings and £2.9 billion for British businesses from 2000 over the next 50 years.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many prosecutions there have been in the UK in each of the last 10 years by the Health and Safety Executive, involving use of white asbestos. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)'s prosecution statistics are based on the information laid by health and safety inspectors before the courts in England and Wales and on the charges preferred in Scottish courts. Each information laid or charge preferred relates to a breach of an individual legal requirement and a duty holder may be prosecuted for more than one of these breaches.
The table sets out proceedings taken over the last five years by HSE under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987, the main regulations applying to asbestos activities. Access to older data is not readily available and would require restoration of archived databases. HSE's system for recording prosecutions does not differentiate between the different types of asbestos. In this table, figures for informations laid include charges preferred in Scotland.
Data is from HSE's Field Operations Directorate (FOD), Hazardous Installations Directorate (HID) Land Divisions (excluding Mines, Pipelines and Explosives) and Nuclear Safety Division (NSD) (conventional safety only)
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what records his Department has of asbestos-related illness linked to encapsulated asbestos cement in the last 50 years. 
Dr. Whitehead: The available records of asbestos- related disease are not sufficiently detailed to identify the separate effect of asbestos released from different kinds of asbestos products such as encapsulated asbestos cement.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what proposals he has for increasing restrictions on white asbestos use. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Government have no plans to increase the current restrictions on the use of white asbestos and of products containing it, apart from the derogations contained in the Asbestos (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 that will cease to have effect after 1 January 2005.
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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the scientific advice to the Health and Safety Executive on which it has based its risk assessment of white asbestos. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Health and Safety Executive has over the years taken account of a range of scientific evidence in reaching its view on the proper control of health risks from white asbestos exposure. Important recent elements of this evidence have been the 1985 Doll and Peto paper on the effects on health of exposure to asbestos, the Institute of Environmental Health's 1997 report on fibrous materials in the environment, and the 2000 Hodgson and Darnton paper on the quantitative risks of mesothelioma and lung cancer in relation to asbestos exposure. All have been published and copies are available in the Libraries of the House.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what meetings his Department has had with representatives of building product companies or trade bodies to discuss the hazards of white asbestos. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) held a number of meetings with representatives of the Asbestos Information Centre, prior to formal consultation on the proposals to ban the marketing, supply and use of white asbestos in 1998. The HSE held further meetings with them following consultation. At none of the meetings were the hazards of white asbestos specifically discussed. HSE has also met a representative of the Asbestos Cement Product Producers Association in 2000 to discuss their concerns about the white asbestos ban.
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