Previous Section Index Home Page

20 Jun 2005 : Column 827W—continued

Green Belt

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many hectares of designated green belt land there were in each local authority area, in (a) 1997 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. [4284]

Yvette Cooper: Data on the extent of designated green belt in each local authority area in England in 1997 and 2003 were published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 16 September 2004. Copies of the
 
20 Jun 2005 : Column 828W
 
publication are available in the Library of the House. The publication is also available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at

The area of green belt has increased by 19,300 hectares in the period 1997 to 2003.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment the Government have made of the number of park and ride sites proposed for development on green belt land since the revision of planning policy guidance 13 in 2001. [4355]

Yvette Cooper: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

High Hedges

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)what estimate the Government have made of the cost to local authorities of implementing the new regulations on high hedges; and if he will make a statement; [4290]

(2) what the (a) set-up and (b) ongoing costs are to local authorities of the implementation and enforcement of the high hedges provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. [4308]


 
20 Jun 2005 : Column 829W
 

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published the 'Regulatory Impact Assessment: High Hedges—Implementing Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003' on 23 March 2005. It contains estimates of the costs to local authorities of implementing and enforcing the new legislation on high hedges, including set-up and ongoing costs.

Copies of the Regulatory Impact Assessment are available in the House Library.

Home Condition Reports

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has made in ensuring an adequate supply of trained inspectors to meet the requirement of the Housing Act 2004 for home condition reports. [3705]

Yvette Cooper: National Occupational Standards for home inspectors have been approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. An awarding body has been approved for the new qualification in home inspection, and four assessment centres have been approved so far to assess courses offered by educational institutions and other organisations. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is assisting recruitment of home inspectors with awareness initiatives aimed at publicising this new career opportunity. A highly successful national conference and trade fair held on 25 November 2004 was attended by between 800 and 1,000 potential home inspectors. Four regional conferences have been well attended, and further regional events are planned. We expect to see the number of trained inspectors rise quickly in the second half of 2005 and during 2006, ready for introducing home information packs in early 2007 and we will work with the industry to this end.

Homebuy

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the (a) minimum and (b) maximum average earnings are for eligibility for social homebuy. [2924]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's proposals for social homebuy are set out in the consultation document 'HomeBuy—Expanding the Opportunity to Own' (a copy of which is available from the Library of the House). Under our proposals, participating social tenants would buy as large a share of their home as they can afford, and would have to be able to afford at least 50 per cent. of the home's discounted value. There would be rigorous and transparent affordability checks to ensure that they can afford to sustain the ongoing obligations the home ownership brings. We have published an assessment of the income that would be required to purchase a 50 per cent. share of a typical starter home under social homebuy in 'HomeBuy—Expanding the Opportunity to Own: Supporting Document' (a copy of which is available in the Library of the House, or at the following address on the internet:

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the proportion of housing associations expected to offer social homebuy to their social tenants. [4271]


 
20 Jun 2005 : Column 830W
 

Yvette Cooper: Social homebuy will be voluntary, with housing associations and local authorities able to choose whether or not to offer the opportunity to their tenants. We are currently consulting on the details of our proposals for social homebuy, as set out in the consultation document 'HomeBuy—Expanding the Opportunity to Own' (a copy of which is available from the Library of the House). It is therefore not possible to provide an estimate of the proportion of housing associations expected to offer social homebuy at the present time.

As part of the consultation document a number of housing associations have approached us, expressing interest in piloting the scheme. Discussions on these pilots are currently ongoing.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the social homebuy scheme will allow social tenants to purchase 100 per cent. of their equity; and if he will make a statement. [4272]

Yvette Cooper: Our proposals for social homebuy are set out in the consultation document 'HomeBuy—Expanding the Opportunity to Own' (a copy of which is available from the Library of the House). Under them, in most cases, buyers will have the option to purchase further equity shares in 10 per cent. tranches to 100 per cent. ownership.

In some exceptional cases, for example in particularly high-value areas or small rural settlements where replacing affordable housing would be difficult, buyers may be restricted to purchasing less than 100 per cent. of the property. Buyers would be informed of this restriction at the initial point of purchase.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the sites designated for social homebuy. [2925]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's proposals for social homebuy are set out in the consultation document 'HomeBuy—Expanding the Opportunity to Own' (a copy of which is available from the Library of the House). The scheme will be voluntary, with housing associations and local authorities able to choose whether to offer the opportunity to their tenants. The consultation has not yet concluded and therefore it is not possible at the present time to identify which housing associations and local authorities will do so.

Housing

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his most recent estimate is of the number of (a) households and (b) children living in overcrowded housing. [4366]

Yvette Cooper: Using data from the Survey of English Housing it is estimated that in 2003–04 in England there were (a) 473,000 households, and (b) 767,000 children under 16 living in households which do not pass the bedroom standard". This represented 2 per cent. of all households and 8 per cent. of all children.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his most recent estimate is of the number of households in overcrowded accommodation, broken down by (a) region and (b) property tenure; and what the figures were in 1991. [4368]


 
20 Jun 2005 : Column 831W
 

Yvette Cooper: The most recent estimates of the number of households in overcrowded accommodation which fails the bedroom standard", broken down by (a) region and (b) property tenure, are shown in the following tables, alongside equivalent figures for 1991. These figures suggest a significant overall decline in overcrowding between 1991 and 2003–04 of 43 per cent.
Households in England in overcrowded accommodation, by region: 1991 and 2003–04
Thousand

Standard Statistical Region19912003–04
North3722
Yorkshire and the Humber7731
North West12044
East Midlands5324
West Midlands9251
East Anglia2312
London208187
South East15476
South West7026
All regions834473




Sources:
1991 DOE Labour Force Survey Housing Trailer
2003–04 ODPM Survey of English Housing




Households in England in overcrowded accommodation, by tenure: 1991 and 2003–04
Thousand

Tenure19912003–04
Owner occupiers381198
Social renters312180
Private renters14295
All tenures834473




Sources:
1991 DOE Labour Force Survey Housing Trailer
2003–04 ODPM Survey of English Housing



Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance he (a) has published and (b) plans to publish to assist local authorities in the discharge of their new licensing functions under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004. [3706]

Yvette Cooper: Advice to local authorities and landlords is available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website www.odpm.gov.uk and a number of statutory instruments will be laid before Parliament shortly which will help define the framework within which licensing will operate.

Discussions are also under way with local government, landlords and other stakeholder organisations on the training required by key staff and on how best to disseminate information about the new arrangements and examples of good practice.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many houses his Department has planned should be built in (a) Essex and (b) London borough of Havering. [2222]

Yvette Cooper: Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9) makes provision for 5,240 new
 
20 Jun 2005 : Column 832W
 
homes in Essex per annum. The final Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England will be published by the First Secretary of State around the end of 2006.

In London, housing targets are set by the Mayor of London and the London boroughs. The Mayor's London Plan states that housing provision up to 2006 will be monitored against a minimum target of 23,000 additional homes per year. The target for Havering for the period 1997–2016 is 6,900 additional homes (350 per year.)


Next Section Index Home Page