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2 Dec 2003 : Column 44W—continued


Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to make changes to legislation relating to allotments. [141106]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no current plans to make any changes to legislation regarding allotments.

Beacon Towns

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister in assessing applications to the Special Grants Programme, what consultation there was with those responsible for DEFRA's Beacon Towns scheme. [140722]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister did not consult any other Department about applications to Stage 1 of the Special Grants Programme.

Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to make an Order to bring into force the remaining provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, with particular reference to section 164; and if he will make a statement. [141409]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister anticipates making an Order by May 2004 to bring into force the remaining provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. These provisions include those relating to property insurance (section 164), to the new Right to Enfranchise companies, and to accounting and forfeiture. Commencement dates will vary depending on the lead-in period needed by landlords to prepare for the changes, but section 164 should be effective by September 2004.


Mr. Redwood: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many pages of (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation his Department put through Parliament in 2002–03. [141122]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister sponsored three Bills during the 2002–03 session which made a total of 162 pages once enacted.

In the case of secondary legislation the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was responsible for the making of 71 General Statutory Instruments which would have been considered by either the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments or the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments. These instruments made a total of 438 pages.

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Local Government Finance

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the standard spending assessment per capita is for each of the English regions in 2003–04. [140896]

Mr. Raynsford: Standard Spending Assessments ceased in 2002–03, and were replaced in 2003–04 by Formula Spending Shares (FSS). The following table gives the 2003–04 FSS per head for each of the English regions.

Government Office Region2003–04FSS(£ million)Mid-2001 population estimate2003–04FSS per head(£ per head)
South West5,160.3414,934,1621,045.84
South East8,455.9748,006,8961,056.09
East Midlands4,523.4004,175,0811,083.43
West Midlands6,221.5995,267,0981,181.22
Yorkshire and Humber5,831.6584,967,1651,174.04
North East3,087.8692,516,5311,227.03
North West8,250.9826,731,5401,225.72

Please note that the mid-2001 population estimate used was that published by the Office for National Statistics on 10 October 2002, since these were the population estimates used in the calculation of the 2003–04 Formula Spending Shares. Following the approval by Parliament of the 2003–04 Local Government Finance Settlement, the mid-2001 population estimates were revised. An Amending Report for 2003–04 to reflect the revised mid-year estimates will be submitted to the House for approval in due course.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many equity release loans local authorities have granted (a) in each of the last 10 years and (b) since 18 July 2002. [141013]

Keith Hill: The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 gave local authorities wide discretionary powers to provide assistance to homeowners and tenants to repair, improve and adapt their homes—including, for example, equity release loans—from 18 July 2002. This is subject to the authority having a policy in place setting out how it intends to use the powers. Prior to that date, local authorities had no powers to make such loans.

Figures on the number of equity release loans and other forms of assistance given by local authorities for renewal of private sector homes in the financial year 2002–03 will be available early in 2004.

Starter Homes Initiative

Tim Loughton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what grade of teachers will be eligible for equity loans under the recently announced scheme for housing; what terms will apply to the equity loans scheme for teachers; what estimate he has made of the number of teachers who will benefit from the equity loans scheme; and what implications this has for teacher participation in the Starter Homes Initiative. [141054]

Keith Hill: Full details of the operation of the housing scheme for key workers will be announced by the beginning of March. These will include; the criteria used to determine eligibility for teachers; and the terms and

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conditions to be applied to equity loans. The number of teachers and other key worker groups helped and the level of assistance will depend, in part, on the level of employer contributions and the personal circumstances of individuals. Funding continues to be available for teachers through the Starter Home Initiative, which will fund purchases, which can be exchanged up to 31 March 2004, the planned end date.

Sustainable Buildings Task Group

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will establish the Sustainable Buildings Task group; what its terms of reference will be; what its membership will be; and if he will make a statement. [140650]

Keith Hill: The Sustainable Buildings Task Group has been agreed. The Group will be co-chaired by Sir John Harman, Chairman of the Environment Agency and Victor Benjamin, Deputy Chairman of English Partnerships. The first meeting is planned for mid-December.

The Group has been tasked with identifying specific, cost-effective, improvements in the quality and environmental performance of buildings which industry can deliver in both the short and long term, together with further actions that Government could take to facilitate faster progress. The Group will consider scope for delivering higher standards of environmental performance of new and refurbished buildings in respect of water, energy, timber and other construction materials, and waste reduction.

The full membership of the Group comprises:


Child Maintenance

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to how many lone parents his Department has issued letters in the last 12 months informing them of their potential entitlement to child maintenance

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bonus in the event of them taking work; and what the average amount of those potential entitlements would be. [141542]

Mr. Browne: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive, David Anderson. I have asked him to reply to the hon. Member.

Letter from David Anderson to Mr. Steve Webb, dated 2 December 2003:

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