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Barker Report

Mr. Amess: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement on implementation of the Barker report; [3749]

(2) what recommendations of the Barker review the Government have (a) already implemented and (b) intends to implement. [4316]

Yvette Cooper: The Government's initial response to Kate Barker's report was provided by my right hon. Friends the Chancellor and the Deputy Prime Minister alongside the Budget on 17 March 2004. We said then that we intend to bring forward a package of measures to address the recommendations of the Barker review by the end of 2005.

Kate Barker's proposals build on the approach adopted in the communities plan, launched by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister in February 2003. Her analysis have reinforced our case and strategy for more homes to address rising demand. In particular, the Government have accepted Kate Barker's central recommendation that there should be a step change in housing supply.

In advance of the wider package, and in response to one of Kate Barker's recommendations, the Government consulted last year on proposals to strengthen regional integration by bringing together regional planning bodies and regional housing boards and to provide the merged bodies with independent advice. In the pamphlet Extending Home Ownership", launched by my right hon. Friends the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor on 25 May, we confirmed that the merger of regional planning bodies and regional housing boards would go ahead. We also said that we would shortly announce further details about how independent evidence and analysis to support regional planning bodies would be strengthened.

In the 2004 spending review, we made a start on infrastructure investment in creating a community infrastructure fund, as recommended by Kate Barker. An extra £50 million in 2006–07 and £150 million in 2007–08 will be available to finance transport projects needed to sustain housing growth. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor also allocated funds which, with additional PFI funding and efficiency gains, aim to provide an extra 10,000 new homes for social let annually by 2007–08.

The Government plan to consult in summer 2005 on changes to planning policy guidance on housing (PPG3).

Business Rate

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the business rates set by each local authority area in England for 2004–05. [5531]

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Mr. Woolas: The rate used to calculate business rate bills is set nationally. For 2004–05, the rate was 0.456. Bills for that year were calculated by multiplying this rate by the rateable value of the particular business hereditament and applying any reliefs.

Buy to Let

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect of buy-to-let on the cost and availability of private rented accommodation in London; and if he will make a statement. [4370]

Yvette Cooper: The Government have not carried out any studies into the impact of 'buy-to-let'. It is not easily assessed, although the mortgage lenders have produced some detailed statistics. 'Buy to let' mortgages as a proportion of all mortgages has risen nationally from 2 per cent. in 1999 to 9 per cent. in the second half of 2004. However, their impact on the London housing market has been generally declining (from almost 7 per cent. early 2001 when data was first collected), and in 2004–05 accounted for 3.9 per cent. of mortgages.

So far 'buy to let' has not led to a significant growth in the size of the private rented sector. However, inasmuch as it has led to more and better quality property coming onto the market it will have had a favourable impact on the cost and availability of private rented accommodation.

Children's Accommodation

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of (a) the number of families with children and (b) the number of children in (i) temporary accommodation, (ii) non-decent accommodation and (iii) overcrowded accommodation. [2433]

Yvette Cooper: Information reported each quarter by local authorities about their activities under homelessness legislation includes the number of households in temporary accommodation on the last day of the quarter, distinguishing those that include dependent children or a pregnant woman, and the numbers of children. On 31 December 2004 it is estimated that there were 72,800 such households in England, containing some 125,000 children or expected children.

Based on information collected through the English House Condition Survey, in 2001 there were an estimated 1,736,000 households containing some 3,123,000 children under 16 years of age living in non-decent homes. Since then there has been further progress towards the Government's decent homes target. Already the number of non-decent homes in the social sector has dropped by 1 million since 1997.

From information derived from the Survey of English Housing for 2003–04 it is estimated there were 360,000 households containing 845,000 dependent children living in conditions regarded as overcrowded in relation to the bedroom standard.

Contingency Plans

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which regions have conducted training exercises to assess contingency plans, as proposed by the Civil Resilience Directorate; and if he will make a statement. [2443]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: All regions have conducted training exercises to test emergency plans and procedures.

Council Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)how much was raised from fines for non-payment of council tax in each year since 1997; [4215]

(2) how many fines were levied for non-payment of council tax in each year since 1997. [4240]

Mr. Woolas: There are no powers under which it is possible to impose a fine for the non-payment of council tax.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how transitional relief for the 2007 council tax revaluation in England will be funded. [4246]

Mr. Woolas: The Government's intention is that the transitional relief scheme will be self-financing.

Departmental Press Office

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many full-time equivalent staff have been employed by his Department's Press Office in each year since its creation; and if he will list the responsibilities of each current staff member. [4244]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) press officers employed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister were as follows:
As at April:Number

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All current press officers provide media handling services for all ODPM Ministers and officials across the full range of the Office's responsibilities.

Derelict Land

Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) area of sites designated as derelict land in 2004, broken down by region. [4435]

Yvette Cooper: The National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land provides estimates are tabled as follows:
Derelict land and buildings in England, 2004

Number of sites reported by local authoritiesEstimated total area (hectares)
North East1321,430
North West1,1935,690
Yorkshire and the Humber4952,960
East Midlands3922,040
West Midlands4641,840
East of England1822,310
South East2071,410
South West3251,900

The estimates of total areas include an allowance for incomplete reporting.

Education Finance (London)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was spent by each London borough on education per 1,000 population in each of the last five years. [2485]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Table A provides combined LEA and school based expenditure per pupil for each London borough from 1999–2000 to 2003–04. This does not take into account non school-based education e.g. adult/community education.
Table A: Combined LEA and school based expenditure(47)(5507890048) per pupil(49) (1999–2000 to 2003–04)(50)(5507890051)
Cash terms

301Barking and Dagenham3,1103,2603,7503,9504,470
201City of London9,7207,7807,5809,0909,790
205Hammersmith and Fulham3,9204,0204,5304,4605,290
207Kensington and Chelsea4,5404,5104,8505,0105,650
211Tower Hamlets3,9904,4504,9905,6305,750
320Waltham Forest3,2103,6303,8703,8904,380

(47)The combined LEA and school based expenditure includes all expenditure on the education of children in LEA maintained establishments and pupils educated by the LEA other than in maintained establishments. This includes both school based expenditure and all elements of central LEA expenditure except youth and community and capital expenditure from revenue (CERA). A sector breakdown for combined LEA and school based expenditure is not available in 2002–03 and consequently this table shows the total LEA recurrent expenditure (except youth and community) per pupil by LEA since 1994–95.
(48)1999–2000 saw a change in data source when the data collection moved from the RO1 form collected by the ODPM to the Section 52 form from the DfES. 2002–03 saw a further break in the time series following the introduction of Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) and the associated restructuring of the outturn tables. The change in sources is shown in italic. In 2002–03 the combined LEA and school based expenditure is calculated by Section 52 Outturn Table A line 51 net current expenditure (NCE) plus line 60 NCE (with adjustments to income to take account of School Standards Grant and Standards Fund scored here) plus lines 61 to 74 NCE. For 2001–02 and earlier years the expenditure is calculated as line 27 NCE after recharges for columns (b) to (f) and (h) plus line 15 from the remaining continuing education column (g, i and j). This is taken from Section 52 Outturn Table 3 for 1999–00 to 2001–02 and from the RO1 form previously.
(49)Pupil figures include all pre-primary pupils, including those under 5s funded by the LEA and being educated in private settings, pupils educated in maintained mainstream schools and other LEA maintained pupils. The pupil data for pupils attending maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools are taken from the DfES Annual Schools Census. Private voluntary and independent (PVI) under 5 pupil numbers are taken from the Early Years census but are only include for 1999–2000 onwards. For 1995–96 onwards other LEA maintained pupils are included in the pupil count. This includes all pupils attending schools not maintained by the Authority for whom the Authority is paying full tuition fees, or educated otherwise than in schools and pupil referral units under arrangements made by the Authority drawn from the Form 8b submitted to the DfES. Also included as other LEA maintained pupils are all pupils attending pupil referral units who are not registered at a maintained mainstream school drawn from the DfES Annual Schools Census. All pupil numbers are adjusted to be on a financial year basis.
(50)Spending in 1997–98 reflects the transfer of monies from local government to central Government for the nursery vouchers scheme. These were returned to local government from 1998–99. The 1999–2000 figures reflect the return of GM schools to local authority maintenance.
(51)In 2002–03 the combined LEA and school based unit cost for England showed a cash terms increase of 5 per cent. compared with a 10 per cent. increase in 2001–02. This is in part due to known misreporting of funding by some LEAs which had the estimated effect of reducing the 2002–03 England unit cost by around £50 per pupil (in cash terms).
(52)2003–04 remains provisional at this time and is subject to change by LEAs.

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