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14 Mar 2005 : Column 144W—continued


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2005, Official Report, column 1083W, on Gypsies/Travellers, what the outturn expenditure by central Government on (a) authorised Traveller sites and (b) illegal Traveller encampments by the (i) Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions and (ii) Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions was in each year. [220186]

Yvette Cooper: The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 repealed the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's power to pay grant to local authorities to establish gypsy caravan sites, together with their duty to provide such sites. The then government committed to pay Grant funding for all valid applications received by November 1994. Under this regime the following payments were made:
Financial yearGrant paid (£ million)

Since the creation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in May 2002 it has provided the following funding to local authorities to enable them to renew and refurbish the existing network of local authority Gypsy and Traveller sites through its Gypsy Sites Refurbishment Grant:
Financial yearGrant paid (£)


£8 million is available for the 2005–06 financial year.

There was no outturn expenditure on illegal traveller encampments for this period. The costs associated with unauthorised camping are borne by individual local authorities or private landowners, rather than by central Government.

A lack of sites Gypsies and Travellers has contributed to the problem of unauthorised developments and encampments. The Government are committed to increasing site provision in appropriate locations.

High Hedges

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the reasons are for the change in time scale
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for implementing the provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 on high hedges; and if he will make a statement. [220773]

Phil Hope: Last summer's public consultation on implementing the high hedges provisions in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 identified a number of issues which have necessitated further work. These issues were the whole question of fees which a complainant must pay to the local authority for investigating their case anda streamlined appeals process which will place less of a burden on local authorities and the Planning Inspectorate. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently revising the Regulations and guidance for local authorities in the light of the consultation responses, with a view to laying Regulations before Parliament shortly.
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Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many families have claimed to be homeless in (a) London and (b) England in each year since 1997; [212372]

(2) how many people were homeless in (a) London and (b) England in each year since 1997. [212373]

Yvette Cooper: Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly and is in respect of households, rather than people. The number of decisions on applications for housing from households eligible under homelessness legislation for authorities in England and London, since 1997, is in the following tabled. Also shown is the number of these households who were accepted as unintentionally homeless and in priority need and how many of these households contained children/pregnant women.
Decisions(39) by local authorities on applications for housing under homelessness legislation and the number of acceptances(40), England and London, 1997–98 to 2003–04

Of which acceptances(40)
Of which acceptances(40)
Decisions(39)TotalWith children/ pregnant womenDecisions(39)TotalWith children/ pregnant women

(39)Eligible for assistance.
(40)Households eligible under homelessness legislation and found to be unintentionally homeless and in a priority need category.
ODPM PIE homelessness returns (quarterly)


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 21 February 2005, Official Report, column 336W, if he will list each location of the surplus public sector land that has been identified for affordable housing, broken down by (a) brownfield and (b) greenfield sites. [219905]

Keith Hill: Following the publication of the Sustainable Communities Plan (February 2003) effective arrangements have been established to identify land that becomes surplus to the public sector and to consider whether it has a continuing use within the public sector.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister through English Partnerships has set up the Register of surplus public sector land. The Register lists landholdings held by central Government and its agencies that are surplus to requirements. Any Department wishing to dispose of surplus land is required to place that land on the Register for a period of 40 working days before the land is marketed. The Register currently consists of over 800 parcels of land totalling almost 4000 hectares. The majority of the sites are brownfield and include previously developed land and buildings that are vacant or derelict and have the potential for redevelopment. The Register is currently being developed to allow on-line access by early April 2005 to central Government users. Brownfield and greenfield land will be easily identifiable. English Partnerships will publish a quarterly return of surplus sites on the Register.

English Partnerships has also established an agreement with Defence Estates to work closely together on the future use of surplus defence land. This will allow Defence Estates to deliver its disposal programme and for English Partnerships to help deliver the objectives set out in the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan. English Partnerships acquired the former RAF staff college site from Defence Estates in February 2004. Housing proposals for this site are currently being taken forward.

In April 2004 my right hon. the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health announced that a portfolio of about 100 surplus NHS sites would be transferred to help deliver the objectives of the communities plan. We expect the first sites in this portfolio to be transferred to English Partnerships shortly. English Partnerships has also acquired a portfolio of surplus brownfield sites across London to provide 2000 affordable homes for sale out of a total development of about 4000 units. Development will start in 2005–06 and the homes will be delivered over the next five years.
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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and English Partnerships have now also published information on individual sites reported by local authorities for the National Land Use Database(NLUD) of Previously-Developed Land. The information is on the NLUD website

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister anticipates that a significant number of vacant surplus sites will be used for housing development to tackle the problem of housing shortages and the demand for affordable homes. This will be determined through local planning policies and strategies in the normal way.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will estimate the cost to public funds of restoring Right-to-Buy (a) discounts and (b) eligibility requirements to 1997 levels. [219875]

Keith Hill: I regret that it is not possible to provide such an estimate, which would depend on assumptions about the number of tenants who would have exercised their Right to Buy if the changes to maximum Right to Buy discounts in February 1999 and March 2003 had not been made. This means that the overall effect of the changes on tenants' perceptions and behaviour, and hence on the overall level of sales, the amount of discount for which they would have qualified, and the amount of capital receipts that would have generated cannot be assessed with any accuracy.

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