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22 Jun 2005 : Column 1036W—continued


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance the Government issues to local authorities relating to (a) crematoria and (b) the display of religious symbols in crematoria. [5577]

Ms Harman: I have been asked to reply

Regulations relating to the cremation of bodies are made under the Cremation Act 1902. Guidance on these regulations is issued from time to time as the need arises. No guidance has been issued on the display of religious symbols in crematoria and there are no plans to do so.

Environmental Services (London)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was spent by each London borough per 1,000 population on environmental services in the last year for which figures are available. [2467]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Table 1 lists the net current expenditure for environmental services as reported to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in Revenue Outturn (RO) returns for 2003–04-RO5 data (line 290).
Table 1: Net current expenditure on environmental services in 2003–04 for each London borough

Total environmental services (£000)
Barking and Dagenham8,295
City of London15,862
Greater London Authority611
Hammersmith and Fulham2,322
Kensington and Chelsea13,637
Kingston upon Thames9,077
Richmond upon Thames8,113
Tower Hamlets20,961
Waltham Forest14,299

22 Jun 2005 : Column 1037W

House Demolition

Mr. Walker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many houses in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) Merseyside are scheduled to be demolished in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007, (iv) 2008 and (v) 2009; and if he will make a statement. [3220]

Yvette Cooper: Demolition is a matter for individual local authorities in the light of local circumstances.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated typical (a) number of rooms and (b) floor space is for a property provided by his Department's £60,000 home scheme. [5423]

Yvette Cooper: The £60,000 target specified in the Design for Manufacture competition relates to the construction of a two bedroom home with a minimum gross internal floor area of 76.5m 2 .

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the properties provided by the £60,000 home scheme will be sold as (a) leasehold, (b) commonhold and (c) freehold properties. [5587]

Yvette Cooper: It is expected that a range of homes with a variety of tenures will be built under the Design for Manufacture competition, and that about 30 per cent. of all of the homes will be made available under the terms of the First Time Buyers initiative. The precise mix of housing types and tenures on each site will depend on local circumstances.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will publish the consultation document on a revised means of determining overcrowding. [4363]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is considering the future of the statutory overcrowding standards and plans to publish a consultation paper in the near future.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the 15 local councils and 100 wards with the highest proportion of overcrowded housing, indicating in each case (a) the proportion living in each category of property and (b) the proportion of all households living in overcrowded accommodation. [4364]

22 Jun 2005 : Column 1038W

Yvette Cooper: The 15 local councils with the highest proportion of accommodation which fails the bedroom standard and the wards within these councils are listed in a table to be placed in the Library of the House. Against each council and each ward is the estimated proportion of households within that council/ward that are affected.

The 100 wards with the highest levels of overcrowding across the country have not been determined.

A breakdown of the proportion of overcrowded households by property type is not available.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his Department's policy is regarding whether living rooms should be used as sleeping accommodation for permanent members of a household; and if he will make a statement. [4365]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister recognises that the statutory overcrowding standards in Part 10 of the Housing Act 1985 can be construed as permitting the use of living rooms as sleeping accommodation, although most local authorities apply higher standards. The Part 10 standards are widely recognised as out of line with modern expectations, and we intend to publish a consultation paper on the future of these standards in the near future.

Local Tax Take

John Hemming: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the target increase in local tax take from Government was in each year since the creation of the council tax; and what the actual increase in local tax take as implemented by local authorities was. [4952]

Mr. Woolas: The Government do not set a target increase in the amount which local authorities can raise from council tax, which is dependent on councils' spending decisions.

Tabled are figures for the amounts of council tax received by local authorities in each financial year for which figures are available since the introduction of the council tax on 1 April 1993.

The table also expresses these amounts as cash and percentage increases over the corresponding figures for the previous year.
Increase over previous year
Council tax received during the year(1)
(£ million)
£ millionPercentage

(1) Regardless of the financial year to which the amounts relate; excludes amounts paid through council tax benefit.
QRC4 returns to ODPM

22 Jun 2005 : Column 1039W

New Build Homebuy

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated sale price will be of a typical property provided by New Build Homebuy. [5581]

Yvette Cooper: Proposals for New Build Homebuy are set out in our consultation paper—"Homebuy—expanding the opportunity to own" (April 2005). The consultation period closes on 24 June.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have made no estimates of the sale price of a New Build Homebuy properties. This will vary depending on a number of factors including the prevailing market prices in the relevant location and the proportion being purchased.

Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

Keith Vaz: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many and what percentage of staff in his Office have received training on the general and specific duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, broken down by (a) ethnicity and (b) grade. [3527]

Jim Fitzpatrick: To date, 107 people (5.1 per cent. of ODPM staff) have had training on the specific duties relating to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. In addition, induction training ensures that all new staff are made aware of the Office's responsibilities under the Act. Although the Office is able to produce staff breakdowns by grade and ethnicity, this data is currently unavailable in respect of specific training courses.

The Office's Race Equality Scheme, which sets out how it will meet its general and specific duties under the Act over the period 2005 to 2008, was published in draft on 31 May 2005, and is currently out to consultation.

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