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16 Nov 2004 : Column 1348W—continued

East of England Assembly

Mr. Amess: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost has been of (a) setting up and (b) running the East of England assembly since its inception. [197872]

Mr. Raynsford: Between April 2001 and March 2004 the East of England regional assembly was awarded a Government grant of £2,974,000.

Fire Authorities

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate his Department has made of projected cost savings in each fire authority resulting from integrated risk management plans. [197690]

Mr. Raynsford: Under Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) it is up to each Fire and Rescue
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Authority (FRA) to assess the risks faced by its communities and to consider how best to use resources to meet its area's needs. Savings in some areas may allow increased provision in others where there is greater scope for saving lives. Fire and rescue authorities are also expected to pursue best value for local council taxpayers.

Fire Service

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to remove rescue tenders from the fire and rescue stations in (a) Retford and (b) Newark. [197422]

Mr. Raynsford: None. The deployment of rescue tenders in Retford and Newark is a matter for the local fire authority.

Each fire and rescue authority (FRA) is requested to develop its own Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) and action plan.

IRMPs provide the strategic overview that is used by fire authorities to determine immediate and future policy decisions.

Any proposals to change its IRMP should form part of the consultation on their action plan which all fire and rescue authorities are required to undertake.

Home Ownership

Mr. Cash: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on large scale voluntary transfer of housing in Staffordshire. [198467]

Keith Hill: Stafford borough council were given a place on the 2004 transfer programme. They are proposing a whole stock transfer, a total of 6,091 properties, to a new Registered Social Landlords (RSL), Stafford and Rural Homes. The council are currently drafting their offer document. The stage one notice informing tenants of the transfer proposal and likely consequences is set to go out in January 2005, with the stage 2 letter following in February or March. A ballot is scheduled to start in March 2005, although no date has been set. If the council receives a yes vote they will have until March 2006 to complete the transfer.

Mr. Cash: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authorities are planning to ballot their tenants on possible large scale voluntary housing transfer. [198468]

Keith Hill: Seventeen local authorities on the 2003 and 2004 transfer programme are currently planning to ballot their tenants.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the level of priority homelessness was in (a) England and (b) Greater London in each year since 1993. [190615]

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Phil Hope: Estimates of the number of homeless households accepted by local authorities in England and London as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need under homelessness legislation in each year since 1993, is in the table.

ODPM P1E homelessness returns (quarterly)

After being accepted as homeless, a household will be placed in some form of accommodation. They may be placed in temporary accommodation, until a settled solution becomes available, or they may be given a settled solution straight away depending on the accommodation available to the local authority. Alternatively, if possible, the household may remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home). In addition to estimates of statutory homeless households, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister publishes annual estimates of the number of people sleeping rough.

The priority need groups include households with dependent children or a pregnant woman and people who are vulnerable in some way, e.g. because of mental illness or physical disability. An Order made under the 1996 Act, brought into force in July 2002, extended the priority need categories to include, additionally: applicants aged 16 or 17; applicants aged 18 to 20 who were previously in care; applicants vulnerable as a result of time spent in care, in custody, or in HM Forces, and applicants vulnerable as a result of having to flee their home because of violence. This widening of priority need has contributed to recent increases but means more vulnerable people are receiving help when they need it.

Low-cost Housing (Islington)

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many shared ownership properties were sold in Islington in each year since 1997; and how many of those properties were purchased by a person (a) already in social housing in that area, (b) on the single housing register in that area and (c) a key worker. [198618]

Keith Hill: Estimates of annual shared ownership sales in Islington from 1997–98 to 2003–04 are in the table.
Total shared ownership sales in IslingtonShared ownership sales to people who were previously social tenants in IslingtonShared ownership sales to purchasers who were registered on a local authority waiting list/common housing register

The occupation of purchasers was not collected as part of CORE Sales during the period 1997–98 to 2003–04. Consequently it is not possible to provide figures on the number of key workers that bought shared ownership properties in Islington during this period.
Housing Corporation: CORE Sales

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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will break down the low cost homeownership units planned for Islington in the Housing Corporation's 2004–06 Approved Development Programme by (a) conventional shared ownership, (b) Do-It-Yourself shared ownership and (c) Homebuy; [198619]

(2) if he will break down the low cost homeownership units planned for Islington in the Housing Corporation's 2004–06 Approved Development Programme by (a) one-bed, (b) two-bed, (c) three-bed and (d) four-bed or more units. [198620]

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Keith Hill: The Housing Corporation have so far allocated resources to fund a total of 299 shared ownership dwellings and 342 Homebuy dwellings in Islington over the years 2004–06. In 1999, Homebuy was introduced into the Housing Corporation Approved Development Programme to replace the Do-It-Yourself shared ownership scheme.

The following table shows the split of low cost homeownership schemes by one, two, three and four or more bedrooms. The figure for Homebuy Market Purchase cannot be broken down until the individual properties are purchased.
Low cost homeownership in Islington

DwellingsOne bedTwo bedThree bedFour bed
Homebuy Market Purchase (for North London, including Islington)342(29)(29)(29)(29)
Conventional shared ownership—keyworker26013811480
Conventional shared ownership—other3973200

Mobile Phone Masts

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his planning policy for mobile phone masts. [198644]

Keith Hill: Current planning guidance on telecommunications is set out in the revised Planning Policy Guidance Note 8: Telecommunications. The general policy is to facilitate the growth of telecommunications systems while protecting the environment.

I refer the hon. Member to the debate given by my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Phil Hope) on 18 October 2004, Official Report, column 739.

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