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Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many changes to the requirements have been notified to bidders for the London Underground PPP since the original invitation to bid. 
Mr. Spellar: London Underground is responsible for managing the competition for the contracts to modernise the Tube infrastructure. I understand that London Underground has made a number of changes to the contractual requirements as it has developed is plans.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many (a) full-time drivers, (b) full-time guards and (c) full-time station staff were employed by London Underground in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Spellar: London Underground has provided the information in the following table:
|Number of full-time train operators||Number of full-time guards||Number of full-time station staff|
For years 199394 to 199798 inclusive, the figures represent the average number of staff over the whole year. Figures for other years represent staff numbers at the end of the financial year.
The large drop in the number of guards in 19992000 was due to the introduction of new Northern Line trains, which do not require guards.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many affordable housing units have been built in each year since 1997 (a) with social housing grant, (b) with local authority social housing grant and (c) with no public funding (i) in England and (ii) in rural districts. 
Ms Keeble: Information on points (a) and (b) is given in the following table. Provisional data on point (c) were collected for the first time covering last year, but returns were incomplete. We have made changes to this year's return to encourage more complete reporting.
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1165W
|Units funded through Social Housing Grant:|
|(a) Housing Corporation||(b) Local Authority|
|All rural authorities||5,300||3,321|
|All rural authorities||5,004||2,482|
|All rural authorities||3,931||2,380|
|All rural authorities||3,992||2,010|
1. Completions in respect of any schemes originally approved prior to 199697. Involving both Housing Corporation and Local Authority Social Housing Grant Support will be counted under both headings, but cannot be distinguished.
2. Affordable housing schemes comprise those for rent (including tariff and mixed funded schemes); temporary social housing schemes (including MiniHag, and short-life housing); and shared or outright ownership schemes (including leasehold for the elderly).
Housing Corporation returns
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps he is taking to increase the availability of affordable housing. 
Ms Keeble: The Government recognise the pressures on affordable housing in many parts of the country. We are taking a number of steps to address this.
We are significantly increasing the resources available for the provision of additional affordable housing. By 200304, funding for the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme will be almost double last year's level, at £1.2 billion.
We are also providing £250 million through the Starter Home Initiative to help some 10,000 key workers in high demand areas to purchase a home.
In addition, we are consulting on proposals to replace the present system of negotiated planning obligations with a tariff-based approach. We expect this to increase the provision of affordable housing through the planning process.
We have also established the Affordable Housing Unit to work closely with partners and stakeholders to improve delivery of affordable housing over the next three years. This work will concentrate on expanding development opportunity, speeding up negotiation and approval of schemes, increased funding, and making better use of the existing housing stock.
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1166W
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has for the (a) provision and (b) development of affordable housing in the Greater London area. 
Ms Keeble: Over the next two years we are making available an additional £300 million above current levels for the provision of affordable housing in London. In 200102 the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme will invest £338 million in London, rising to £411 million in 200203 and £545 million in 200304.
We are also providing £146 million through the Starter Home Initiative to help key workers in London to purchase a home. We expect about 2,300 nurses and other health workers, 1,600 teachers, 550 police and 200 other key workers to benefit, mainly through shared ownership or equity loans. In addition, 4,000 units of affordable rental accommodation for health staff are being provided by the NHS's Housing Co-ordinator, mainly in London and the South East.
We have also established the Affordable Housing Unit to work closely with partners and stakeholders to improve delivery of affordable housing over the next three years, particularly in areas of acute pressure on housing such as London. This work will concentrate on expanding development opportunity, speeding up negotiation and approval of schemes, increased funding, and making better use of the existing housing stock.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the accuracy of his Department's figures for annual provision of new affordable housing units; and what representations he has received on them from interested organisations. 
Ms Keeble: The Housing Corporation monitors Approved Development Programme and Local Authority Social Housing Grant scheme approvals and completions. We are satisfied with the accuracy of these figures.
Local authorities are now asked to provide summary information on all affordable housing activity as part of their annual Housing Investment Programme returns and we are dependent on the accuracy of the figures they supply. On the basis of their first responses on last year's return, we believe that there may have been under- reporting of Registered Social Landlord provision, and there are changes to this year's return with the aim of improving the accuracy.
Over the past three months, Ministers have replied to 26 letters and five parliamentary questions on the provision of affordable housing units. Over the same period, Lord Falconer, Minister for Housing, has discussed rural affordable housing in several meetings with the Countryside Agency. He has also discussed affordable housing with the National Housing Forum, and visited the Priory Heights Community Housing Project in London. In addition, I attended a debate on affordable housing in South Gloucestershire.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what advice he has
26 Feb 2002 : Column 1167W
received from Arthur Andersen on establishing special purpose vehicles. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 8 February 2002]: None.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who will make the final decision on which owner takes over Railtrack; and what criteria will be used. 
Mr. Jamieson: Section 59 and Schedule 7 of the Railways Act 1993 provide for the Special Railway Administrator to submit a transfer scheme to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for approval. My right hon. Friend set out the principal issues upon which he will need to be satisfied before approving a scheme in his reply of 31 October 2001, Official Report, columns 66971W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker).
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has had with Treasury Ministers on the definition of his proposed company limited by guarantee as a replacement for Railtrack and the PSBR. 
Mr. Byers: DTLR Ministers and officials have discussions with colleagues in other Departments on a range of subjects on a regular basis.
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