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27 Jun 2005 : Column 1308W—continued


Mr. Pope: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many officials currently in the Department received honours in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List; and at what rank of honour. [5121]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer my hon. friend to the answer given by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 22 June 2005, Official Report, column 1059W.

House Prices

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the (a) Government and (b) Valuation Office Agency has made of the yearly change to average (i) house prices and (ii) capital values of residential property from material improvements to residential properties in each of the last five years. [5574]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's monthly house price index shows that house prices for the United Kingdom as a whole rose by 6.9 per cent. in the year to April 2005. This information is published on our website on a monthly basis. The latest monthly index was published 13 June at:

The ODPM does not make estimates of the yearly change to average capital values of residential property from material improvements.

The Valuation Office Agency publishes a Property Market Report. Their latest report is available on their website at: http://www. uk/publications/property_market_report/pmr-jan-2005/index.htm.

The Valuation Office Agency has not made an estimate of the yearly change to average capital values of residential property from material improvements.

House Sales Chains

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will bring forward a framework for legal redress to purchasers in house sales chains who suffer losses due to individuals who withdraw their pledge to sell at a late stage. [5891]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

Although an agreement to sell a house in England and Wales is usually made subject to contract" and is unenforceable until contracts are exchanged, the parties may, at the outset, enter into an enforceable contract for the payment of compensation if one of them pulls out.

In its review of the home buying and selling process in 1998, the Government concluded that it would not be appropriate to make such compensation agreements compulsory, given the wide variety of circumstances that could cause a sale to fail and the difficulty of apportioning blame.

The Government have, instead, enacted legislation that is expected, when fully implemented, to help reduce the incidence of failed transactions and to make the process more transparent.

The provision, by sellers, of home information packs should ensure that offers are made on an informed basis and buyers are not taken unawares by problems with the
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property at a late stage in the transaction. This should reduce the length of the period between agreeing terms and exchange of contracts, when most of the problems occur. The Government intend to introduce compulsory Home Information Packs from 2007.

The introduction of electronic conveyancing, also from 2007, will include a chain matrix" revealing the stage reached by each transaction to all the other participants in the chain. This information should enable those involved in the chain to make realistic assessments of the situation and to resolve delays more quickly.


Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the house-building required on Canvey Island to meet his longer term building targets. [6891]

Yvette Cooper: There is no such estimate for Canvey Island, which is within Castle Point district. The draft East of England Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), which was produced by the East of England regional assembly rather than the Government, proposes 4,000 extra homes in this district as a whole between 2001 and 2021. The soundness of the assembly's proposals will be tested at an Examination in Public" starting this autumn. The final version of the strategy, including housing figures, will take account of the recommendations of the independent panel which will hold the examination.

Jeremy Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of brownfield development in Kenilworth is development of land previously used for dwellings or their gardens. [6927]

Yvette Cooper: The information available is for the area of Warwick district council. From land use change statistics, over the period 1997 to 2003 an average of two hectares a year have been developed on land previously used for dwellings or gardens, representing 10 per cent. of all development on previously-developed land.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many first-time buyers in Oxfordshire he expects to benefit from the First Time Buyers Initiative. [5802]

Yvette Cooper: It is too early to say how many first time buyers in Oxfordshire will be helped through the First Time Buyers Initiative. Our target for the initiative is to provide 15,000 affordable homes across England over the next five years to 2010. This target can be found in our Five Year Strategy, Sustainable Communities: Homes for All", published by us in January 2005 (a copy of which is available in the Library of the House). English Partnerships is now developing a delivery plan for the First Time Buyers Initiative.

Our consultation document HomeBuy; Expanding the opportunity to own" launched in April 2005 set out various proposals for simplifying, making fairer and expanding our low cost home ownership programme. The consultation process closes on 24 June, and the
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results will be fed into English Partnerships' delivery plan. English Partnerships will be working closely with stakeholders such as the Regional Housing Boards, local planning authorities and others to assess local demands and accommodate them where possible taking account of regional strategies and development plans. Regional Housing Boards will advise on groups to be given priority, reflecting the needs of the region.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many key workers in Oxfordshire he expects to benefit from (a) Social Home Buy, (b) New Build Home Buy and (c) Open Market Home Buy. [5803]

Yvette Cooper: It is not currently possible to estimate how many key workers in Oxfordshire will benefit from the Government's proposals for low cost home ownership. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently consulting on proposals and will then need to take decisions based both on the representations we receive and in the light of Regional Housing Board recommendations as to how and where of the South East Region allocation of £805.161 million funding for housing for the two year 2006–08 should be invested.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much public sector land the Government has released for housing in Oxfordshire in the last five years; and how much further such land he plans to release. [5804]

Yvette Cooper: It is the responsibility of local planning authorities to identify and release land for housing as part of the planning process.

The Government have implemented a number of initiatives to assist with land supply in support of the Sustainable Communities Plan.

A register of surplus public sector land held by central Government bodies has been established. English Partnerships is currently reviewing the sites on the register to identify those which could have the potential for housing development. As at March 2005 there were 713 sites on the register. Sites are continually being added as they are identified as surplus by landowners and removed once expressions of interests are received after a site has been marketed. A list of the sites on the register, as at March 2005, can be found on the English Partnerships website at:

English Partnerships will publish a quarterly update of sites on the register.

English Partnerships has also recently taken ownership of the first 67 sites from a portfolio of 96 surplus NHS sites. The sites are currently being assessed for their development potential and will then be taken forward in consultation with the relevant local planning authorities. English Partnerships and the Defence Estates have also signed a joint working agreement on surplus land. This sets out how the agencies will work together with the objective of maximising the potential of surplus defence sites to help deliver the Sustainable Communities Plan".
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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and English Partnerships also maintain the National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land (NLUD-PDL). This covers vacant and derelict land and also land in use with potential for development. It covers land in both public and private ownership. Information on the sites is available from the NLUD website

In addition English Partnerships is developing the National Brownfield Strategy which will provide a coherent vision for the future development of brownfield land to underpin national, regional and local development aspirations. The strategy will help our targets for building new homes on brownfield land.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many key workers in Oxfordshire have benefited from the Starter Home Initiative, broken down by district council area. [5805]

Yvette Cooper: 327 key workers in Oxfordshire were helped to purchase homes under the Starter Home Initiative. The following table breaks down the figure by district council and by key worker group.
Number of key workers assisted
Local authorityNurses/health workersTeachersPoliceOthers
South Oxfordshire1546144
Vale of White Horse11050
West Oxfordshire4730

Other key workers helped under the Starter Home Initiative included social workers, fire fighters, occupational therapists, prison and probation service staff.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)how much of the Housing Corporation's affordable housing programme he expects to be committed to help provide affordable housing in the Cherwell district over the next three years; [5806]

(2) how much the Government intends to commit to the provision of affordable housing in Oxfordshire in each of the next three years. [5810]

Yvette Cooper: The allocations made for provision of affordable housing in Oxfordshire in 2004–05 and 2005–06 total £49.1 million; £6.3 million of this is for housing in Cherwell.

Decisions on the overall level of funding for affordable housing in the South East region in 2006–07 and 2007–08 will be taken over the summer in the light of advice from the South East Regional Housing Board. The allocation of these funds across the region, which will be announced early next year, will reflect advice from the Board and the quality and the value for money of bids to the Housing Corporation.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)how much the Housing Corporation committed towards the provision of affordable housing for each district area in Oxfordshire in each of the last five years; [5807]
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(2) how much Social Housing Grant has been committed in Oxfordshire in each of the last five years; and what proportion of that money was in support of section 106 schemes in each year. [5808]

Yvette Cooper: Expenditure on affordable housing in Oxfordshire provided through the Housing Corporation broken down by district, in the last five years, is detailed in the following table. The programmes
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included in the table are the Approved Development Programme (ADP), the Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LASHG) and Transitional LASHG, the Safer Communities Supported Housing Fund (SCSHF), and the Starter Home Initiative (SHI).

The amount supporting s106 is only available for 2004–05. The total proportion for Oxfordshire is 19.6 per cent.
£ million

South Oxfordshire0.7115.4940.0000.0006.205
Vale of the White Horse0.0804.8080.0000.0004.888
West Oxfordshire0.4020.9250.0000.0001.327
Oxfordshire Total4.86313.0530.0000.00017.916
South Oxfordshire1.2414.3920.0000.0005.633
Vale of the White Horse0.4149.7340.0000.00010.148
West Oxfordshire1.6873.3770.0000.0005.064
Oxfordshire Total6.61619.9120.2160.27027.014
South Oxfordshire1.3414.7140.0000.5806.635
Vale of the White Horse0.8105.8780.0000.1736.861
West Oxfordshire0.7486.4360.2240.0677.475
Oxfordshire Total6.27018.2840.3172.41527.286
South Oxfordshire1.3321.2440.0001.4284.004
Vale of the White Horse2.1244.3460.0000.3586.828
West Oxfordshire2.9344.1600.0130.3627.469
Oxfordshire Total27.04510.3430.4605.59743.446
South Oxfordshire3.6550.2880.0000.1524.095
Vale of the White Horse2.3420.9990.0000.0003.341
West Oxfordshire5.1440.3660.0000.0675.577
Oxfordshire Total32.4791.9120.2010.37934.971

All data analysed by sponsoring local authority
Housing Corporation

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice he has received from the Regional Housing Board on the amount of affordable housing needed in Oxfordshire (a) in 2005 and (b) over the next 10 years. [5809]

Yvette Cooper: The South East Regional Housing Board has not given any advice to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on the amount of affordable housing needed in Oxfordshire.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people in Oxfordshire he expects to benefit from the Key Worker Living Scheme. [5811]

Yvette Cooper: Allocations are not made by individual counties. The Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area has been allocated over £37 million in 2004–05 and 2005–06 to invest in the provision of key worker living homebuy equity loans to help an estimated 900 households into home ownership by March 2006. In addition funding has been allocated
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to develop over 1,600 new homes to rent or buy through shared ownership in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area by March 2007.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who the zone agent is for Oxfordshire in the Key Worker Living Scheme. [5812]

Yvette Cooper: Keystart Housing Association is the zone agent for the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire area supported by Sovereign Housing Association in Oxfordshire.

Mr. Denham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact of the key worker housing scheme in Hampshire. [5172]

Yvette Cooper: The Starter Home Initiative helped 870 key workers to buy their first home in Hampshire. Key Worker Living has so far helped a further 433 key workers from Hampshire. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has commissioned evaluations of both the Starter Home Initiative and the Key Worker Living programme to assess their impact. The final report on the Starter Home Initiative and the initial findings of the Key Worker Living evaluation will be published in due course.

Mr. Denham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to allow public service employers greater local discretion in determining who should benefit from the key worker housing scheme. [5173]

Yvette Cooper: Under the Key Worker Living programme, the responsible Government Department for the education, health, prison and probation sectors decide the eligibility criteria based on recruitment and retention evidence gathered at a local level. For the
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Police and Fire Services, it is the contributing force, not the Home Office or the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), which determines eligibility.

As part of the consultation on low cost home ownership HomeBuy: Expanding the Opportunity to Own" we are proposing to allow Regional Housing Boards to define eligibility for our new First Time Buyer programme, which could include key workers not currently included in the definition of Key Worker Living to reflect local priorities. ODPM will shortly be reviewing those recommendations and will make a statement on future eligibility in due course.

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