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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he expects to relax the limitations on local authorities' borrowing against their assets for housing improvements or construction. 
Ms Keeble: A change is to be made allow authorities to borrow without Government consent where they can afford to service the debt from available revenue resources. This change requires primary legislation and will be made as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment the Government have made of the likely number of new dwellings that would be required in (a) London and (b) the south-east in order to satisfy predicted housing demand in the next 10 years. 
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Ms Keeble: Regional Planning Guidance for London and the south-east (RPG9) provides that 23,000 additional dwellings should be provided in London and 39,000 in the rest of the south-east (including, for these purposes, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex) each year on average until such time as the figures are reviewed.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what recent assessment he has made of the costs of building (a) pre- fabricated houses and flats and (b) non-pre-fabricated permanent houses and flats; 
The Government do not hold benchmark costings on the difference between modular and traditional build. The Peabody Trust have said that their pioneering modular development at Murray Grove was slightly more expensive than a similar sized traditional build development. Costs could be expected to fall with greater volume in further developments.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many parish councils in England have a population of (a) under 3,000, (b) 3,000 to 10,000, (c) 10,001 to 20,000, (d) 20,001 to 30,000 and (e) over 30,000. 
Dr. Whitehead: My Department does not hold current statistics on the populations of all parish councils in England. A survey 1 was carried out in 1997 by the Aston Business School, from which the following data have been drawn:
|Population size band||Councils in England||Percentage|
|Less than 500||3,252||40|
|20,000 and above||64||1|
(6) DETR 1998 "Local Councils' Use of Section 137: A financial review of parish and town councils in England and their discretion to spend under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972"; ISBN 1 85112 118 8.
However, when selling properties under the right to buy scheme, landlords may impose restrictions on their resale if they are located in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, or certain rural areas designated for this
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purpose. An owner may be required to offer the property back to the landlord (if they wish to resell within ten years) or to people who have lived or worked locally for three years. The intention is to try to ensure that more of the existing housing in rural areas is available to local people. There are currently 24 designated rural areas, and our November 2000 Rural White Paper "Our Countryside: The Future" encouraged other local authorities to consider seeking designation.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many parishes are able to claim business rates relief on village shops as a consequence of their population. 
To be eligible for rate relief under the village shop scheme, the business must be located in a qualifying rural settlement. Qualifying rural settlements must have a population of no more than 3,000, and be wholly or partly in a rural area that has been designated by the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. However, it is the responsibility of the local authority to determine which settlements in its area meet the criteria for the scheme, to identify their boundaries and to place them on its local rural settlement list. Information on their number is not held centrally.
Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how he will ensure that the new finance system for local authorities will provide an effective framework within which councils can initiate innovative ways of delivering customer-focused services. 
Dr. Whitehead: Our comprehensive agenda for reform of the local government finance system was set out in last December's White Paper "Strong Local leadershipQuality Public Services". Our finance reforms will give councils more space to innovate and respond in ways that are appropriate to local circumstances by providing local authorities with greater freedom to borrow, invest, trade, charge and set spending priorities. Our White Paper implementation plan is available on the DTLR website at http://www.dtlr.gov.uk/local-regions/sll/implement/plan/ index.htm.
Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on his plans to allow local authorities to sell electoral registers to third parties. 
Mr. Raynsford: We have today published a policy paper and draft regulations setting out the Government's intentions for regulations making provision about access to and sale and supply of electoral registers.
The approach we are adopting strikes a balance between the individual elector's right to privacy and the needs of others to receive the data to carry out their functions. There will be two versions of the register, the
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data in which will have been compulsorily obtaineda full one, and an edited one containing particulars about only those electors who have not requested that their details be removed from the edited register.
The full register will be available for electoral purposes, for law enforcement and crime prevention and for other purposes where there is a strong public interest in preserving availability. These include checking identity for credit purposes. The edited register will be available for sale to anyone for any purpose.
Both the policy statement and the draft regulations have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and on the internet for public comment on the regulations. Our aim, subject to parliamentary approval, is to make the regulations to have effect from the 2002 canvass.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the names and responsibilities of (a) his special advisers and (b) special advisers of his Ministers. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on how many occasions his Department has issued letters of comfort to a private sector contractor. 
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place in the Library copies of each version of the internal guidance which have been drawn up by his Department since 1 January 1999 to assist staff in his Department to answer subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998. 
Dr. Whitehead: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Stephen McCabe) on Thursday 25 April 2002, Official Report, column 446W.
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