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22 Oct 2002 : Column 272Wcontinued
22 Oct 2002 : Column 273W
resources to Somerset in the event of industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: In the event of an industrial action by the Fire Brigades' Union, 5 Green Goddesses, 3 Breathing Apparatus Rescue Teams and 1 Regional Equipment Support Team will be based in Somerset. However resources are not tied to a particular authority and will be used flexibly to respond to incidents where the need is greatest.
Mr. Leslie: In the event of a strike by the Fire Service basic fire cover will be provided by the armed services. Firefighting cover will be provided by military personnel operating 827 Green Goddesses. They will be supported by 331 Breathing Apparatus Rescue Teams reinforced by 59 Regional Equipment Support Teams. In all about 19,000 military personnel will be engaged in this exercise.
Mr. Leslie: Statutory responsibility for the provision of fire services rests locally with the fire authority. However, a fire authority may not reduce its establishment without the approval of the Secretary of State under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947. Consent is only given when he is satisfied that the national standards of fire cover will be maintained. Fire authorities are inspected regularly by HM Fire Services Inspectorate as to the manner in which they are performing their functions.
Under Spending Review 2002 the fire service share of Total Standard Spending in England will be increased by #61.6 million (4 per cent.) for 200304 and by increases of #70 million (4.4 per cent.) and #50 million (2. per cent.) in the following two years.
There have also been substantial increases in fire service capital provision for England and Wales, with an increase of 67 per cent. in 200102. A further increase of 3.4 per cent. is planned for 200304 and this level of credits will be maintained for 200405 and 200506. An additional #200 million in PFI credit approvals has already been earmarked for the fire service, and a further #50 million in PFI credits will be made available to the service in both 200405 and 200506.
#43 million will be provided under the Capital Modernisation Fund for mass decontamination equipment, supported by an additional #13 million in revenue funding. We have said that we shall fully fund the new fire service radio replacement strategy. Among other funding initiatives, we are providing #15 million additional funding over three years from 20034 for community fire safety and arson reduction initiatives, targeting socially deprived areas.
Under the Central Local Partnership, we will continue to work closely with fire service stakeholders in England and Wales in the Fire Service Expenditure Forecasting Group to assess future funding pressures.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 274W
Mr. Wray: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he plans to bring the firefighters working in the Retained and Volunteer Duty System up to the same standard of training and pay as their whole time counterparts; 
Mr. Raynsford: As announced on 5 September, an independent review of the Fire Service is being conducted by Professor Sir George Bain. The review will look at the future organisation and management of the fire service in the United Kingdom, including retained and voluntary firefighters. In that context it will look at pay and conditions of service. It would not be appropriate, therefore, for me to pre-empt the outcome of the review.
Mr. Leslie: Following discussions with the Fire Brigades Union and other interested parties, on the 5 September my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and the Regions announced an independent review of the Fire Service. The review will be conducted by Professor Sir George Bain, who has an outstanding record in industrial relations and academia, including key roles at the London Business School, ACAS and the Low Pay Commission. He will be assisted by Sir Anthony Young, a past President of the TUC, and Sir Michael Lyons, who until recently was the Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council.
(3) what progress has been made by the Affordable Housing Unit towards its remit to work with partners and stakeholders to increase significantly the supply of affordable housing in high demand areas. 
Mr. McNulty: In his statement of 18 July, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister set out the need for a step change in housing supply in order to provide decent, affordable homes for people wherever they live, and to do that by promoting sustainable communities, including a series of policy measures which will help increase the supply of housing including affordable housing. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has said that he will return to the House at the turn of the year with a major statement on how this programme will be taken forward.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 275W
wider remit and the unit has been renamed the Planning, Housing and Growth Unit to reflect this. Research, which the Unit has commissioned, on topics such as airspace development and financial incentives for affordable housing is published as part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's research programme and Ministers meet with officials regularly as part of the process of policy development.
Mr. McNulty: No such estimates are made. Annual rates of housebuilding for each region are set out in regional planning guidance. At the local level, we expect local authorities to plan to meet housing requirements in the most sustainable way. The policy is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 3, Housing, which provides for better use of land by encouraging sustainable densities and consideration of previously-developed sites before greenfield land.
Mr. McNulty: The Government Office for London and the Housing Corporation published the 2002 edition of the London Housing Statement in August 2002. The Government Office will be working with partners on the production of a London Housing Strategy by September 2003.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average length of time was between an application for rehousing under the Seaside and Country Homes Scheme and nomination to a property in the last 12 months. 
|Total Lettings||as a % of stock|
Lettings include mutual exchanges and transfers of existing tenants, and lettings made to new tenants on either secure or non-secure tenancies.
DOE/DTLR/ODPM Housing Investment Programme returns (annual)
22 Oct 2002 : Column 276W
|Yorkshire and The Humber||+49.6%|
ODPM Survey of Mortgage Lenders
Increase in the regional house price indices between Q2 1997 and Q2 2002.
Regional Planning Guidance requires planning bodies to strategically examine housing need, including the need for affordable housing, across their areas. We also expect local authorities to plan to meet their housing needs.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 277W
(ADP) for next year will be #1.2 billion, almost double the figure for 20002001. This should deliver 22,700 homes next year.
My right hon. Friend, the Deputy Prime Minister will return to the House at the turn of the year with a comprehensive long-term programme of action to tackle supply and demand issues, as promised in his statement of 18 July 2002, Official Report, Hansard, (col. 438).
Mr. Wray: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent action has been taken to ensure that (a) the right to buy is not abused and (b) people are able to have the option of buying their homes. 
Mr. McNulty: We are concerned about abuses of the Right to Buy scheme and we have commissioned research into their scope and extent. The results will be available by the end of this year. We are considering what can be done about such abuses, but we have no plans to end the Right to Buy scheme.
To help ensure delivery against this target we have set up a Delivery Unit to work with Government Offices and the Housing Corporation to ensure local authorities and housing associations quantify the level of non-decent housing in their stock and put in place a strategy for dealing with the problem, backed up by a very significant increase in resources since 1997.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 278W
Mr. McNulty: The number of London Lettings released by the operation of the scheme in recent years are listed in the table below. This represents a useful contribution to easing pressure on social housing in London.
The number of households rehoused under the Seaside and Country Homes Scheme by property size are as follows. Figures prior to 199697 are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. For 199900 (when the management of the Scheme was moved from North British Housing Association to HOMES) figures are not available by property size.
|Barking and Dagenham||2 2 bed||3 2 bed||4 2 bed||4||1 bedsit||1 1 bed|
|3 3 bed||1 3 bed||1 1 bed||1 3 bed|
|1 3 bed|
|Barnet||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||0||2 bedsit||2 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||1 2 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 3 bed||2 2 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Bexley||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||0|
|Brent||1 3 bed||1 1 bed||0||1 3 bed||1 2 bed|
|Bromley||2 1 bed||1 1 bed||2 1 bed||0||1 1 bed||3 1 bed|
|1 3 bed||1 2 bed||1 2 bed|
|1 5+ bed|
|Camden||2 bedsit||1 1 bed||6 1 bed||7||3 bedsit||1 1 bed|
|4 1 bed||3 2 bed||3 2 bed||6 1 bed||2 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||1 3 bed||3 3 bed||2 2 bed||1 3 bed|
|1 4 bed||1 4 bed|
|City of London||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 bedsit||1||1 bedsit|
|1 2 bed||1 2 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 3 bed||1 2 bed|
|1 3 bed|
|Croydon||1 1 bed||1 bedsit||4 1 bed||7||6 1 bed||3 1 bed|
|2 1 bed||3 3 bed||3 2 bed||3 2 bed|
|2 3 bed||1 3 bed||2 3 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Ealing||2 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||4||1 2 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 3 bed||1 2 bed||2 3 bed||1 4 bed|
|Enfield||5 1 bed||1 bedsit||1 1 bed||5||1 2 bed||1 1 bed|
|2 2 bed||1 1 bed||1 2 bed||1 3 bed||3 2 bed|
|2 3 bed||4 2 bed||2 3 bed||1 3 bed|
|1 3 bed|
|Greenwich||1 3 bed||5 1 bed||9 2 bed||6||5 1 bed||3 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||9 2 bed||2 3 bed||4 2 bed||3 2 bed|
|2 3 bed||3 3 bed||3 3 bed|
|3 4 bed|
|Hackney||1 bedsit||8 1 bed||3 bedsit||13||1 bedsit||1 1 bed|
|6 2 bed||5 2 bed||3 1 bed||2 1 bed||2 2 bed|
|6 3 bed||10 3 bed||9 2 bed||1 2 bed||2 3 bed|
|1 5+ bed||6 3 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Hammersmith & Fulham||2 1 bed||3 1 bed||4 2 bed||1||2 2 bed||1 bedsit|
|3 2 bed||1 2 bed||1 3 bed||1 2 bed|
|1 3 bed||1 3 bed||1 4 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Haringey||1 1 bed||2 1 bed||7 2 bed||13||2 bedsit||2 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||3 2 bed||1 2 bed||4 3 bed|
|1 3 bed||5 3 bed||2 3 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Harrow||1 2 bed||2 1 bed||1 1 bed||0||1 1 bed|
|1 3 bed|
|Havering||4 1 bed||3 1 bed||1 1 bed||4||3 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||1 2 bed||4 2 bed||3 3 bed|
|2 3 bed|
|Hillingdon||1 3 bed||1 2 bed||0||1 1 bed||1 3 bed|
|1 3 bed||1 2 bed|
|2 3 bed|
|Hounslow||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 bedsit||6||1 2 bed||4 1 bed|
|2 2 bed||1 2 bed||1 1 bed||4 3 bed||3 2 bed|
|1 2 bed||1 3 bed|
|2 3 bed|
|Islington||4 1 bed||1 bedsit||2 1 bed||12||5 1 bed||3 1 bed|
|5 2 bed||2 1 bed||4 2 bed||3 2 bed||4 2 bed|
|1 3 bed||5 2 bed||1 3 bed||1 3 bed||5 3 bed|
|4 3 bed||1 4 bed||2 4 bed||2 4 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Kensington and Chelsea||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 bedsit||2||1 bedsit||1 bedsit|
|2 2 bed||1 1 bed||1 3 bed|
|1 2 bed|
|Kingston upon Thames||1 1 bed||1 bedsit||1||1 3 bed||1 2 bed|
|1 1 bed|
|Lambeth||3 1 bed||1 1 bed||4 bedsit||11||2 1 bed||1 1 bed|
|9 2 bed||5 2 bed||2 1 bed||4 2 bed||1 2 bed|
|3 3 bed||6 3 bed||1 2 bed||3 3 bed||3 3 bed|
|1 4 bed||2 4 bed||4 3 bed||1 4 bed||3 4 bed|
|Lewisham||2 1 bed||3 1 bed||2 1 bed||6||2 1 bed||2 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||9 2 bed||4 2 bed||1 2 bed||6 2 bed|
|2 3 bed||6 3 bed||3 3 bed||5 3 bed||3 3 bed|
|1 4 bed||1 4 bed|
|Merton||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 2 bed||2||2 2 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 2 bed||2 3 bed||1 3 bed||1 3 bed|
|1 3 bed|
|Newham||1 bedsit||2 1 bed||2 1 bed||13||16 1 bed||2 1 bed|
|6 1 bed||10 2 bed||10 2 bed||7 2 bed||10 2 bed|
|12 2 bed||3 3 bed||5 3 bed||7 3 bed||10 3 bed|
|4 3 bed||2 4 bed||3 4 bed||1 4 bed|
|4 4 bed|
|Redbridge||2 1 bed||2 2 bed||1 1 bed||0||2 1 bed|
|1 2 bed||1 2 bed|
|Richmond upon Thames||1 2 bed||1 bedsit||0||1 1 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 3 bed|
|Southwark||4 1 bed||1 bedsit||7 1 bed||14||4 1 bed||2 1 bed|
|11 2 bed||6 1 bed||7 2 bed||5 2 bed||8 2 bed|
|10 3 bed||8 2 bed||8 3 bed||12 3 bed||6 3 bed|
|3 4 bed||5 3 bed||1 4 bed||1 4 bed|
|1 5+ bed|
|Sutton||1 3 bed||1 2 bed||1 1 bed||3||1 2 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 5+ bed||1 2 bed||1 3 bed||1 3 bed|
|2 3 bed|
|Tower Hamlets||2 1 bed||1 bedsit||1 bedsit||10||10 1 bed||4 1 bed|
|4 2 bed||6 1 bed||1 1 bed||4 2 bed||2 2 bed|
|4 3 bed||7 2 bed||3 2 bed||2 3 bed||3 3 bed|
|3 3 bed||1 3 bed||1 4 bed||1 4 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Waltham Forest||2 1 bed||1 1 bed||1 1 bed||8||2 1 bed||1 1 bed|
|5 2 bed||1 2 bed||3 2 bed||2 2 bed||1 2 bed|
|1 3 bed||1 3 bed||1 3 bed||1 3 bed|
|Wandsworth||1 1 bed||2 1 bed||4 1 bed||3||2 2 bed||2 1 bed|
|3 2 bed||2 2 bed||4 2 bed||2 3 bed||2 2 bed|
|1 3 bed||2 3 bed||2 3 bed|
|Westminster||1 bedsit||1 bedsit||1 4 bed||2||1 1 bed||1 bedsit|
|3 1 bed||3 1 bed||1 1 bed|
|1 4 bed|
|Total||5 bedsit||8 bedsit||11 bedsit||10 bedsit||4 bedsit|
|58 1 bed||63 1 bed||46 1 bed||69 1 bed||47 1 bed|
|85 2 bed||86 2 bed||85 2 bed||51 2 bed||54 2 bed|
|47 3 bed||53 3 bed||43 3 bed||65 3 bed||51 3 bed|
|12 4 bed||10 4 bed||5 4 bed||10 4 bed||10 4 bed|
|4 5+ bed|
|Moves from RSLs (location and property size not recorded)||||||9||8||9||25|
22 Oct 2002 : Column 281W
|Year||Appeals against valuations by local authorities||Appeals against valuations by Registered Social Landlords|
Information on the number of appeals that resulted in a lower valuation is not held centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
A review of the system for valuing properties for Right to Buy purposes is in progress. The results will be made publicly available when the project is completed.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 282W
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to require boroughs in London which have received above expected Approved Development Programme funding from the Housing Corporation to make a proportion of new lettings available to applicants from boroughs with lower than expected ADP funding. 
Mr. McNulty: The Housing Corporation will be working closely with London boroughs to agree a framework across London for the pooling of nominations for new lettings on a sub-regional basis, similar to those in existence under the London Housing Partnership programme, to widen choice and promote cohesive communities.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact that the Rent Rebate Subsidy Limitation regulations have on a local authority's capacity to finance the revenue costs of concierge security schemes. 
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to establish separate funding provision for (a) new social and affordable housing, (b) repair and regeneration of social sector stock, and (c) funding of housing market renewal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The 2002 spending review settlement has provided an extra #1.4 billion for housing over three years. This will help to provide well-designed, affordable homes where they are needed, improve stock
22 Oct 2002 : Column 283W
conditions in both the social and the private sectors, and tackle low demand through significant funding for the pathfinder projects.
My right hon. Friend The Deputy Prime Minister announced on 18 July 2002, Official Report, Hansard, (col. 438) that he plans to bring housing investment into a single regional pot, to ensure that housing investment decisions are brought together with planning for housing, and linked with regional economic and transport strategies. He is carefully considering the best way forward and will announce the details in due course.
Mr. McNulty: There are currently no plans to expand the Seaside and Country Homes Scheme. However, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is working with HOMES, North British Housing Association and the London Borough of Bromley (on behalf of the London Boroughs) to review the workings of the scheme in order to improve the efficiency of its operation.
Survey of English Housing, ODPM
(44) Bedroom standard is an indicator of occupation density. A notional number of bedrooms are allocated to each household in accordance with its age/sex/marital status composition and the relationship of the members to each other. This is then compared with the actual number of bedrooms (including bed-sitters) available for the sole use of the household.
(45) Information for 200102 is provisional.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research he has commissioned into the Housing Health and Safety Rating System since July 2001; what the terms of reference are for that research; who is undertaking it; and when he expects it to be published. 
Mr. McNulty: We are currently running three research projects relating to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The first, which began in January 2001, is to develop the statistics to support the system, and is being carried out by Warwick University with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The second, which began in August
22 Oct 2002 : Column 284W
2001, is an evaluation project, by DTZ Pieda, to identify the practical lessons to be learned from the publication of Version 1 of HHSRS in July 2000. The third, which began in September 2001, is to produce the guidance needed to assist local authorities in the application of HHSRS specifically to houses in multiple occupation, and is being carried out by the Building Research Establishment. Reports on these projects are expected to be published by the end of this year. This work will inform the production of Version 2 of HHSRS, which we expect to commission in time for publication next autumn as part of a comprehensive package of guidance.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment he has made of the size and type of accommodation suitable as an alternative to LA and RSL tenants underoccupying their current accommodation; and what measures he has taken to encourge LAs and RSLs in areas of high demand to ensure that this type of accommodation is included in new developments. 
Mr. McNulty: No such assessment has been carried out by the Government. However, local authorities in their role as strategic housing authorities are required to assess the type of accommodation required in their areas. Local authorities may also require a proportion of affordable housing as part of new developments, often built by Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and funded by the Housing Corporation. RSLs must ensure that bids for capital investment in social housing fit with local authority and regional priorities and the Housing Corporation's National Investment Strategy.
Over the next 10 years, the Government will encourage councils and housing associations to set their rents to within 5 per cent. of the levels given by a national formula that reflects a property's size, location and condition. This will give tenants the choice over paying more for a larger property in a high cost area, or saving money by renting a smaller property.
Mr. McNulty: The Government have no immediate plans to replace the overcrowding standard. But they are considering the extent to which overcrowding can be tackled through a new health and safety enforcement regime for housing, based on the new health and safety rating system.
22 Oct 2002 : Column 285W
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