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12 Jan 2004 : Column 567Wcontinued
Norman Lamb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what reason the budget of the Arson Control Forum is projected to rise from £1.36 million in 200203 to £4.02 million in 200304 and to £4.80 million in 200506. 
Mr. Raynsford: Since 2001 the Arson Control Forum has funded 50 local pilot projects designed to reduce arson. The increased budget recognises their success and will enable the forum to fund additional projects, due to be announced shortly, which build on the lessons learned from the original pilots.
Local arson reduction projects are essential to achieve the Government's target to reduce by 10 per cent. the number of deliberate fires by March 2010 from the 200102 baseline, as published in the Fire White Paper 'Our Fire and Rescue Service'. This target is a key objective in the Government's plans to reform the fire and rescue service which include increased emphasis on fire prevention work. This objective was reiterated in the draft Fire and Rescue National Framework, published on 11 December 2003.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research he has commissioned on the growth of holiday homes in areas where there is a perceived shortage of affordable housing, with particular reference to pressure on local services. 
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not commissioned any research on this topic. However, the annual Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Survey of English Housing (SEH) estimates the number of households in England with a second home including the number of those categorised as Holiday Home/Retirement Home/Weekend Cottage. The report on the 2001/02 SEH is available in the Library of the House.
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Jon Trickett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of cost of improving the Wakefield council housing stock to the Government's prescribed standards. 
Keith Hill: The Deputy Prime Minister has not made any estimate of the cost of improving the Wakefield council housing stock to the Government's prescribed standards. This is for the council to determine as part of its business planning process. Based on the findings of an independent stock condition survey, commissioned by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council in 2002, it has been estimated that it will cost £236 million (at today's prices) to bring all public sector stock up to the Government's decent homes standard by year 2010.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which local authorities have still to ballot local authorities tenants on transfer of their housing stock. 
Keith Hill: There are a total of 10 local authorities on the 2003 LSVT Programme who have yet to ballot their tenants. They are as follows:
London Borough Islington (two partial transfers)
London Borough Lambeth (three partial transfers)
Manchester City Council (three partial transfers)
North East Lincolnshire
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council
Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time firefighters were employed by the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Raynsford: The information requested is tabled as follows:
|31 March 1999||1,007||402|
|31 March 2000||1,008||398|
|31 March 2001||1,010||371|
|31 March 2002||1,002||357|
|31 March 2003||1,015||369|
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service Annual Returns to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Sue Doughty: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on progress made to implement the provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which will allow leaseholders of houses to select their own insurer. 
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Keith Hill: It is anticipated an Order will be made 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, 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 the provisions relating to insurance should be effective by September 2004.
Mr. Goodman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new (a) statutory and (b) regulatory requirements were placed on local authorities in (i) 2001, (ii) 2002 and (iii) 2003. 
Mr. Raynsford: This information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, our arrangements for the funding of local authority revenue spending in any year take into account the cost pressures and new burdens on local government including those identified with the Local Government Association in the context of the relevant Spending Review.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent action the Government has taken to promote sheltered housing; and if he will make a statement on the provision of sheltered housing in York and North Yorkshire. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government is committed to ensuring that all vulnerable people receive the housing-related support they need including, where appropriate, sheltered housing and associated support services such as provision for wardens, to help them improve their quality of life by providing a stable environment, enabling greater independence. The Supporting People programme, introduced in April 2003, provides an integrated framework for planning and funding housing-related support services.
In February 2003, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister , the Department of Health and the Housing Corporation jointly published Preparing Older People's Strategieslinking housing to health, social care and other local strategies. Local authorities are encouraged to use it as part of drawing up local delivery and capacity plans for older people's services, which includes working in partnership with housing authorities. It stresses that older people's strategies on housing need to engage with and consult older people.
In York and North Yorkshire the following housing schemes for older people included in Housing Corporation programmes for 200203 and 200304 are being funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister through the Housing Corporation:
Stokesley, Hambleton: 40 units of extra-care accommodation.
Hospital of James Knowles, Craven: Improvements to seven units of almshouse accommodation.
St. Georges, Harrogate: 12 units of warden supported housing.
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Swan Hill, Scarborough: Approximately 18 units of warden supported housing.
In York there are currently 595 tenancies in council sheltered housing schemes and a further 887 tenancies in the independent sector. Over the next year York council will be improving facilities in two of its sheltered schemes to provide the potential to deliver 78 extra-care tenancies.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the proportion of completed tenancies requiring independent adjudication under the pilot voluntary tenancy deposit scheme was; and if he will estimate the proportion of completed tenancies that would require independent adjudication under a statutory tenancy deposit scheme. 
Keith Hill: The Independent Housing Ombudsman, who managed the pilot voluntary tenancy deposit scheme, has no information on the proportion of completed tenancies requiring independent adjudication under those schemes. That is because the terms of reference of the pilot scheme did not require that the number of completed tenancies should be recorded.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no reliable estimate of the number of disputes that would require adjudication under a statutory tenancy deposit scheme. The Survey of English Housing 200102 noted that some 20 per cent. of households with a tenancy ending in the previous three years claimed to have had their deposit unreasonably withheld in full or in part. The number of disputes, for which independent adjudication might be required under any statutory arrangements for tenancy deposit protection, might well be lower than this figure.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the number of private tenants who have had their tenancy deposit unreasonably withheld in each of the last five years, broken down by Government office region. 
Keith Hill: The information is not currently available. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as the information is available.
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