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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what arrangements the Government have put in place to ensure that the special needs of disabled people are provided for within its affordable housing policy. 
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Yvette Cooper: All new build affordable housing schemes funded by the Government through the Housing Corporation must meet the requirements of 'Part M' of the building regulations, which the Government revised in 1999 to improve the accessibility and convenience of new housing. The revised regulations include requirements to ensure that entrances, lifts, corridors, doorways and WCs are accessible, including to wheelchair users. In addition, all newly built affordable housing schemes funded through the Housing Corporation must comply with the Corporation's scheme development standards, which adopt criteria for accessibility and internal environments that help to make homes even more adaptable to long-term needs.
The Government also provides resources for adaptations to existing homes to meet the needs of people with physical disabilities. Local housing authorities have a statutory duty to offer means tested Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) to eligible applicants in both the private and social rented sectors who require adaptations to help them live independently in their own homes. The Government meets 60 per cent. of local authority expenditure incurred on DFGs, with the remaining 40 per cent. being met from the authority's own resources. We have increased funding for this grant to £99 million in 200304, compared with £88 million in 200203 and £56 million in 199798.
Keith Hill: No formal assessment has been made as to how the proposals in the Housing Bill will impact on the safety of students. However, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister believes proposals will bring real benefits to students.
The Bill includes measures to license Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), including shared student houses. Local authorities are required to licence HMOs of three or more storeys which are occupied by five or more persons. In addition they will have discretionary powers to license other categories HMOs where there are problems for which licensing is appropriate. The exercise of those powers will be subject to effective local consultation and to approval by the appropriate minister.
Keith Hill: The Government are proposing to introduce mandatory licensing for highest risk Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects this to cover properties
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of three storeys or more and five people or more. It is estimated that about 120,000 houses in multiple occupation are expected to be licensed under this proposal. This estimate, however, does not include properties that could be required to be licensed where a local authority seeks to use in its area the discretionary power that the Bill provides to extend the scope of HMO licensing to HMOs not subject to the national mandatory licensing.
Mr. Raynsford: Since the start of consultation on 19 November, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received two representations from Leicester city council, on the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 200405. Consultation closed on 9 January. I have recently written to the Leader of Leicester city council to express concern about media reports of potentially large council tax increase in Leicester.
(25) Budgeted figures. Includes Revenue Support Grant, Redistributed Non-Domestic Rates, Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (from 200102 onwards).
RS forms 199798 to 200203, RG forms 200102 to 200203, RA 200304 form and RA(SG) 200304 form.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the proportion of rough sleepers who had previously been in local authority care in each of the last five years. 
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|Year||Under 12||Over 12|
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many social houses for rent have been built by (a) housing associations and (b) Plymouth city council in Plymouth in each of the last three financial years. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has given to Malawi in 200304 to deal with food shortages; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of its use. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID has committed £13 million to assist Malawi with food security in financial year 200304. This aid will pay for improved seeds and fertilizers for over 2 million poor households, pay-for-work schemes for rural poor, feeding programmes for the most vulnerable groups and strengthening management in Malawi's safety net
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programmes and food crisis early warning systems. DFID also works closely in this area with the World Bank and the European Commission which plans to spend £14 million on food security this year.
Thorough evaluations of the largest schemes are made on a regular basis. DFID's seed and fertilizer scheme shows very high returns. The pay-for-work scheme needs some changes to improve targeting and sustainability. The food crisis early warning system is steadily improving and should meet the information needs identified in the 200102 food crisis.
The Ministerial Declaration, circulated by the Mexican Foreign Minister, Derbez, was produced following extensive consultations with WTO Members and the European Commission. The UK and other EU member states made their views known to the Commission formally, through meetings of the Article 133 Committee and the European Council, and informally.
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