Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Nov 2004 : Column 561W—continued


Overseas Voters Electoral Register

Mr. Evans: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what action the Electoral Commission is taking to ensure that all British citizens who are living abroad are able to vote in any forthcoming general election. [196735]

Mr. Viggers: The Electoral Commission provides information and advice to British citizens living abroad and has produced a registration form for use by eligible British citizens. The Commission has also provided information to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office both for dissemination to its staff and for use when dealing with inquiries from British citizens resident abroad about their electoral rights in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Evans: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the number of people (a) living in the US for 15 years or less and (b) living abroad who will be eligible to vote in a UK general election. [196734]

Mr. Viggers: The Electoral Commission has made no estimate of either the number of people living abroad, or of the number who have lived in the United States for 15 years or less, who will be able to vote in a United Kingdom parliamentary election.


Departmental Properties

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the properties occupied by (a) his Department and its predecessors and (b) its agencies in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2004, stating (A) for each and (B) in aggregate, the area; and what the aggregate rental value was in each year. [195129]

9 Nov 2004 : Column 562W

Phil Hope: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was established in May 2002, and thus figures do not exist for 1997. The list of properties occupied on 1 April 2004 is as follows:

Net internal area m(5)Annual rent paid (£000)
26 Whitehall London(4)5,045n/a
Eland House London22,65012,350
Ashdown House London6,7272,633
Portland House London2,1632,880
Temple Quay Bristol27854
Ashdown House Hastings72275
Hempstead House Hemel Hempstead1,198153
Exchange Tower London710145
1 High street Glossop10710
Building 3 Garston29737
Fire Experimental Unit Moreton-in-Marsh(4)1,354n/a
Hangar 97 Little Rissington(4)4,401n/a
Marchington Primary site Staffordshire39,0181,029
Marchington Secondary site Staffordshire4,645143
Government Offices
Riverwalk House London GOL6,2061,940
Citygate Newcastle GONE6,0951,181
Sunley Tower Manchester GONW13,4761,202
Cunard Building Liverpool GONW3,507277
Eastbrook Cambridge GOE5,195707
2 Rivergate Bristol GOSW3,537171
Mast House Plymouth GOSW1,656722
77 Paradise Circus Birmingham GOWM3,285560
Chamberlain House Birmingham GOWM1,591280
The Belgrave Centre Nottingham GOEM4,096519
City House Leeds GOYH4,480545
25 Queen street Leeds GOYH1,137329
Silkstone House Rotherham GOYH71284
Bridge House Guildford GOSE3,7311,025
Fire Service College Moreton-in-Marsh(4)30,779n/a
QEIICC London7,570n/a
Planning Inspectorate Temple Quay Bristol6,8411,326

(4) Denotes freehold property. Figures for the rental value of these can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Except where indicated the above properties are occupied either wholly or partly on a leasehold basis. Where the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister shares the leasehold occupation with other Government Departments the figures represent only the space occupied by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Although the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has overall responsibility for the buildings occupied by Government Offices, they carry out functions on behalf of 10 Government Departments.

Green Spaces

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Government's strategy is for improving inner-city green spaces. [195963]

Phil Hope: The Government have already established a programme to improve urban parks and green spaces. This is set out in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's reports "Living Places—Cleaner, Safer, Greener" (ODPM 2002), and "Sustainable communities: building for the future" (ODPM 2003). The initiatives they contain are currently being implemented through the cross-government "Cleaner, Safer, Greener Communities" programme.
9 Nov 2004 : Column 563W

The 8 per cent. increase to 71 per cent. satisfaction with parks and open spaces over the last three years shows that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's programme is working.

HMO National Licensing Scheme

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what cross-departmental co-operation his Department is encouraging with (a) police, (b) the fire service, (c) local government, (d) the Benefits Agency and (e) the Inland Revenue in implementing the National Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation. [196206]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has close working relations with other Government Departments and relevant bodies that have an interest in the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing scheme. In particular we have worked very closely with the Local Government Association, the Home Office and the Department of Works and Pensions in the development of the licensing scheme and we shall continue to do so as we work towards in its implementation. Local authorities will be responsible for the implementation of the national scheme in their areas and we expect that other relevant bodies, such as the police and fire service, will work with them in achieving this, in so far as they are able to do so.

Affordable Housing

Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2004, Official Report, columns 450–51W, on affordable housing, what the affordability criteria for the new shared ownership properties are in each London borough; [196823]

(2) whether his Department monitors the number of shared ownership properties built in each London borough that are more expensive than the stated affordability criteria for that area. [196824]

Keith Hill: London boroughs' Unitary Development Plans contain policies on the provision of affordable housing generally, in accordance with national planning policy. These policies should define what the authority considers to be affordable in the local plan area in terms of the relationship between local income levels and house prices or rents for different types of households. Affordable housing policies in local plans should not be expressed in favour of any particular form of tenure.

Registered social landlords operating shared ownership schemes are expected to have regard to the affordability of schemes to first time buyers. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not monitor the affordability criteria for shared ownership properties by local authority area. However, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister keeps the general operation of the scheme funded by the Housing Corporation under review to ensure that it continues to meet our policy objectives and the needs of the intended client group.

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 26 September that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is developing an initiative to help more first time buyers onto the first rung of the housing ladder. The aim is to achieve better value for money and more housing options by making smarter
9 Nov 2004 : Column 564W
use of public sector-owned land and by driving down construction costs. Details are still being worked up and more information will be set out in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's strategic plan.

Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects the Housing Corporation to begin publication of the new Shared Ownership Performance Indicators; and if he will make a statement. [196825]

Keith Hill: The Housing Corporation has published the new Shared Ownership Performance Indicators on the 8 November 2004, on its Performance Indicator Profiles website

Next Section Index Home Page