Previous Section Index Home Page

23 Oct 2002 : Column 388W—continued

Homeless Families

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many families, not including couples and single persons without children, were in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [76481]

Ms Barbara Roche: Information distinguishing the number of households with dependent children being accommodated in bed and breakfast has been collected this year for the first time. Based on responses from local authorities it is estimated that some 6,700 families were in such accommodation at the end of June 2002, unchanged from the corresponding March estimate. This was reported in the most recent quarterly Statistical Release on statutory homelessness, issued on 11 September.

Mixed Communities

Martin Linton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the use of (a) vacant land and (b) unused buildings within council house estates in (i) Wandsworth and (ii) London by local planning authorities; and what further action he plans to encourage local authorities in London to develop a strategy for creating mixed communities using their planning powers. [76231]

Mr. McNulty: My right hon. Friend, the Deputy Prime Minister has made no specific assessment of the use of vacant land and unused buildings by local planning authorities within council house estates in Wandsworth or London. However, a national survey of brownfield land published in September 2002 showed that in 2001 some 4590 hectares of brownfield land were available for development in London. Planning Policy Guidance note 3 (Housing) states that all Local Planning Authorities should undertake urban housing capacity studies, coordinated by the Regional Planning Body. The studies should provide information about vacant land and properties in each authority's area. Detailed good practice guidance on capacity studies is provided in the PPG3 companion guide ''Tapping the Potential''. The last capacity assessment for all the

23 Oct 2002 : Column 389W

Boroughs in London was supervised by the London Planning Advisory Committee and published by the GLA in September 2000.

PPG3 also requires authorities to promote mixed and balanced communities both through their plans and in deciding individual planning applications. This includes securing an appropriate mix of dwelling size, type, and affordability.

Starter Homes

Mr. Breed: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many key workers have received financial support through the Starter Homes Initiative in rural settlements; and how much has been spent by region in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 to date. [76251]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However information can be provided on Starter Home Initiative purchases in local authority areas containing rural settlements. I will write to the hon. Member when the information has been collated.

Council Tax

Mr. Spring: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average Band D council tax was in (a) Suffolk, (b) Newcastle and (c) England for (i) 1996–97, (ii) 1997–98, (iii) 1998–99, (iv) 1999–00, (v) 2000–01, (vi) 2001–02 and (vii) 2002–03. [75038]

Mr. Leslie: The average Band D area council tax for (a) Suffolk, (b) Newcastle upon Tyne and (c) England for 1996–97 to 2002–03 is as follows:

All Figures are Rounded to the Nearest #

SuffolkNewcastle Upon TyneEngland


Budget Requirement returns provided by local authorities



Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which health authorities have patients waiting for over 20 weeks from the time of referral following surgery to the time that radiotherapy treatment begins; [75761]

Ms Blears: Waiting times for radiotherapy treatment are not collected centrally. In order to tackle radiotherapy waiting times, we are making

23 Oct 2002 : Column 390W

unprecedented investment in new radiotherapy facilities, streamlining care processes through the cancer services collaborative and working to best utilise the current workforce and to increase the number of staff in post and in training.

Cancer Research

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the Government make choices in prioritising the allocation of its cancer research funding to tumour specific areas; and how needs-based access to these funds is ensured. [75746]

Ms Blears: The total Government expenditure on research into individual diseases, including cancer and different types of cancer, is not normally specifically allocated in advance. Expenditure is related to many variables, such as the quality of research proposals received and the relevance to National Health Service priorities.

The Government supports health related research through three routes. The Medical Research Council (MRC), which is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, is the main agency through which the Government supports research into the causes and treatment of disease including cancer. Some of the other research councils, especially the biotechnology and biological sciences research council, also fund relevant research.

The Department and its equivalents in the devolved administrations meet the NHS support costs of the research councils' and charities' projects. The Department also funds research into policy development and the delivery of effective practice in health and social care. The higher education funding council for England and its equivalents in the devolved administrations fund the university academic base.

Access to all these different forms of funding is by various means, with the mechanism depending on the nature and purpose of the research funding stream involved. The Government set up the national cancer research institute (NCRI) in April 2001, in partnership with the charities and the pharmaceutical industry. The NCRI is providing strategic oversight of cancer research across the United Kingdom. This will help to ensure that the nation's total investment in cancer research is directed to best effect.

Children's Hospices

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the children's hospices broken down by region; and if he will make a statement. [75117]

Ms Blears: The association of children's hospices currently lists twenty eight children's hospices in England providing either hospice or hospice at home services. These are listed below by directorates of health and social care.

23 Oct 2002 : Column 391W

* Currently offering a hospice at home service.

There are in addition a number of children's hospice projects at various stages of development, and organisations, which while not providing hospice services as such, contribute to the invaluable work of supporting children with serious and life threatening illnesses.

Next Section Index Home Page