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Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice he has received from the Regional Housing Board on the amount of affordable housing needed in Devon (a) at the latest date for which figures are available and (b) over the next 10 years. 
[holding answer 27 June 2005]: The provision of affordable housing is a local authority responsibility and should be made on the basis of robust local assessments of needs. Policy ST18 in the adopted Structure Plan for Devon 200116 highlights the strategic importance of the need to provide for
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affordable housing and establishes a consistent basis for the development of local plan policies throughout Devon.
The South West Housing Body has however made the provision of additional affordable housing in Devon and across the region its number one priority, and its forthcoming advice to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on the allocation of capital funding for affordable housing for 200607 and 200708 will reflect this situation. Further work will be undertaken by the Regional Housing Body to improve the evidence base for affordable housing need and provision on a consistent basis through the promotion of sub-regional housing assessments.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how much social housing grant has been allocated in Devon in each of the last five years; and what proportion was in support of section 106 schemes in each year; 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 27 June 2005]: Expenditure on affordable housing in Devon provided through the Housing Corporation broken down by local authority, in the last five years, is detailed in the following tables. The programmes 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).
David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures he plans to introduce to ensure full compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations; and whether they will include random pressure testing of new homes. 
[holding answer 20 June 2005]: The Government are pursuing the commitments made in theEnergy White Paper to raise the energy performance standards in the Building Regulations and to work withbuilding control bodies to see how enforcement can
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be improved. After extensive consultations with stakeholders, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have developed proposals for improving technical standards, including sample pressure testing of new homes, and for simplifying the compliance processes. There will also be a programme of dissemination, training and supporting help desks to give every opportunity to become acquainted with the new provisions and so improve compliance.
David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what robust standard details he requires under Part L of the Building Regulations for thermal bridging in new homes; and what changes he plans to make to those standards. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 20 June 2005]: Builders are not required to use particular details but the guidance in Approved Document L offers the use of robust details as a way of showing compliance. These were developed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister with expert assistance and published by The Stationery Office. A new edition is planned to accompany the next amendment to Part L later this year. The new edition will include additional robust details, and the aim is to revise all the details to include more information and to facilitate their electronic transfer into builders' drawings. The accompanying design and construction guidance will also be improved and checklists added to assist compliance.
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