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5 Jan 2004 : Column 140W—continued

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to include a statutory tenancy deposit scheme in the Bill on tenancy reform. [145274]

Keith Hill: Making provisions in a Bill on tenancy reform for the safeguarding of tenancy deposits is an option to which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are giving very serious consideration.

Decent Homes Standard

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the impact will be on the resources available to Amber Valley Housing Ltd. to spend on housing stock, if the Inland Revenue's ruling of 24 October is upheld. [145466]

Diana Organ: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the Inland Revenue's ruling of 24 October upon the welfare of tenants occupying housing stock owned by Forest of Dean Housing; [145610]

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Mr. Singh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what effect the Inland Revenue's ruling of 24 October will have on Bradford's ability to achieve the 2010 Decent Homes Standard; [145338]

Keith Hill: I refer my hon. Friends to the answer given on 15 December Official Report, columns 745W and 746W.

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how he estimates the Inland Revenue's ruling of 24 October, if upheld, will affect tenants occupying premises of (a) Herefordshire Housing Ltd, (b) Haverbury Housing Partnership and (c) Hertfordshire Homes Ltd.; [144815]

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what effect he estimates the Inland Revenue's ruling of 24 October will have on Crewe's ability to achieve the 2010 Decent Homes Standard; [144801]

Keith Hill: I refer my hon. Friends to the answer given on 15 December 2003, Official Report, columns 745–46W.

Council Housing

Jon Trickett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what Wakefield Metropolitan District Council's capital receipts from the sale of council housing stock were in each year since 1997; and how much of these receipts was spent on council housing stock in each year. [146023]

Keith Hill: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 16 December 2003, Official Report, column 745W.

5 Jan 2004 : Column 142W

Departmental Policies(Regent's Park and Kensington, North)

Ms Buck: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the impact of his policies on the constituency of Regent's Park and Kensington, North since 1997. [145420]

Mr. Raynsford: The information requested is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost, as such statistics are normally collected on the basis of administrative units (such as local authorities) rather than Parliamentary constituencies. The matter is further complicated as the constituency in question covers parts of two Local Authorities.

However, many of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's policies will have impacted significantly on the Regent's Park and Kensington, North constituency, including increased funding for local government, housing, neighbourhood renewal, and specific programmes to reduce rough sleeping and tackle social exclusion.

Disabled Facilities Grant

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to amend regulations to allow the regular outgoings of a family with a disabled child to be taken into consideration by local authorities when they are determining the level of the family's contribution towards a disabled facilities grant to adapt the family home. [145523]

Keith Hill: The legislative provisions governing the Disabled Facilities Grant means test are set out in the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations 1996. These are reviewed annually to reflect changes in the cost of living and other allowances taken into account in the test. The latest such review took effect last October through the Housing Renewal Grants (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also reviewing the DFG programme, including the operation of the means test, in the context of the Spending Review 2004 and will announce its conclusions later this year.

Fenestration Self-assessment Scheme

Mr. Todd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he has taken to ensure that work completed by a Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme registered company meets the same standards as work inspected by a local authority. [145976]

Phil Hope: All Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA) members are required to carry out all work in such a way that it complies with all relevant requirements of the Building Regulations, and FENSA monitors a sample of the work to ensure that this is so. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister recently commissioned a report which looked at how far FENSA achieved compliance with the Regulations and concluded that on the whole it was successful in doing this.

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Homelessness

Simon Hughes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many families have claimed to be homeless in (a) London and (b) England in each year since 1997; and how many people were homeless in (i) London and (ii) England in each year since 1997. [140852]

Yvette Cooper: Information collected about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is in respect of households, rather than families or persons. Estimates of total decisions made on applications, and the number of these where a main homelessness duty was owed, in London and England are tabled as follows:

Homelessness decisionsHomelessness acceptances
LondonEnglandLondonEngland
199754,540242,34024,370102,000
199857,490245,35026,310104,630
199959,700243,29028,380105,370
200060,790247,19028,230111,340
200163,420256,39031,370118,610
200260,540270,28030,320125,070

Notes:

1. Figures include estimates for missing data, and have been rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Acceptances refers to households found to be eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need.

Source:

ODPM P1(E) quarterly housing activity returns.


A range of national and regional homelessness information—which includes estimates for non-responding local authorities—appears in a quarterly Statistical Release, available in the Libraries of the House and via the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. An accompanying Supplementary Table presents key data at regional and local authority level. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website link is: http://www. odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm housing/documents/page/odpm house 604177.hcsp

Housing

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much the Government has invested in (a) council housing and (b) social housing schemes in (i) St. Helens, (ii) Merseyside and (iii) the north-west in each year since 1992. [144075]

Keith Hill: The information is not available in the form requested. The following table gives details of the Housing Investment Programme and the Approved Development Programme, from 1999 to date. The information from 1992–99 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

£ million

HIPADPTotal
1999–2000
St. Helens5.416.4
Merseyside45.130.976
North West216.770286.7
2000–01
St. Helens8.011.29.21
Merseyside69.728.998.6
North West296.159.3355.4
2001–02
St. Helens10.81.111.9
Merseyside85.215.7100.9
North West347.30.05347.35
2002–03
St. Helens10.50.5611.1
Merseyside8926.7115.7
North West36368.3431.3
2003–04
St. Helens2.73.36
Merseyside6575.6140.6
North West323.568.3391.8

5 Jan 2004 : Column 144W

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what arrangements he has put in place to ensure that local authorities in the process of developing empty property strategies to increase housing resources and aid regeneration take empty commercial buildings into account. [145298]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister considers that local authorities should take account of opportunities to convert redundant commercial property for housing use alongside their more traditional role of encouraging the re-use of vacant residential property. This is reflected in guidance we published earlier this year—Empty Property, Unlocking the Potential—which provides guidance to local authorities on establishing empty property strategies and covers a wide spectrum of property from empty homes to commercial property.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what arrangements he has put in place to ensure that local authorities are devoting adequate human resources to empty home strategies, with particular reference to the appointment of dedicated empty properties officers. [145299]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are ensuring that local authorities have adequate financial resources to provide decent local services without making excessive demands on local tax payers. For 2004–05 the Government will be providing total support to local authorities of £54.5 billion, an increase of 30 per cent. since 1997.

It is for local authorities to determine the level of resources, both human and financial, they devote to particular activities such as empty homes reduction strategies in line with local priorities.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to provide incentives for landlords to ensure that their properties remain occupied. [145300]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister plans to give local authorities discretionary powers to end the present council tax discount on long-term vacant dwellings, which will provide an incentive for owners to ensure their properties do not remain vacant for long periods of time.

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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has also introduced a range of fiscal incentives to encourage the reuse of vacant dwellings, in particular by reducing to 5 per cent. the rate at which VAT is charged on the renovation of dwellings vacant for 3 or more years.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what training the Government (a) has given and (b) is giving to local authorities to ensure that they are aware of the extent of their power to act as a financial institution in the housing market as provided by the Regulatory Reform Act 2002. [145296]

Keith Hill: Circular 05/2003, entitled 'Housing Renewal' and issued in June 2003 by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister sets out the extent of local authorities new powers under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance)(England and Wales) Order 2002 to provide financial assistance for the repair, improvement and adaptation of housing accommodation.

In relation to the provision of loan finance, the circular explains that local authorities and housing associations will be exempt from the Financial Services Authority regulatory regime on mortgage lending which will take effect from October 2004. However, local authorities and housing associations must still adhere to the underlying key principles of such mortgage regulation and The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, in consultation with the Housing Corporation and Local Government Association, is considering what further advice, guidance and training should be provided to them.

5 Jan 2004 : Column 146W


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