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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2458W—continued

Key Worker Living Initiative

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions his Department has had with local councils on how many homes should be built in a borough under the Key Worker Living Initiative. [12755]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not had any detailed discussions with individual local authorities on how many homes should be built under the Key Worker Living Initiative.

Decisions on funding are taken in light of evidence from regional housing boards and the quality and value for money of the bids submitted by registered social landlords. Local authorities are involved in the process of drawing up regional housing strategies which underpin the advice from regional housing boards.
 
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Lyons Review

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list documents (a) the Department and (b) the Valuation Office Agency has provided to the Lyons Review. [11398]

Mr. Woolas: As my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) explained in his answer to the hon. Member on 14 March 2005, Official Report, column 1499W, Sir Michael Lyons intends to make available the evidence that underpins his conclusions and recommendations once the report is published.

Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people in Milton Keynes are classified as homeless. [14246]

Yvette Cooper: Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly and is in respect of households rather than persons. The number of households accepted by Milton Keynes Unitary Authority as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need during 2004–05, and the number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by the authority under homelessness legislation as at 31 March 2005 is in the following table.

The duty owed to a person accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. As an alternative to the provision of temporary accommodation some authorities arrange for households to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home) until a settled solution becomes available.

Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep rough—that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night—and these are also presented in the following table.
Milton Keynes UANumber
Households accepted(104)as owed a main duty during 2004–05705
Households in temporary accommodation(105)on 31 March
2005
849
Rough sleepers 2004(106)(number of persons)0


(104)Households eligible under homelessness legislation, found to be unintentionally homeless and in a priority need category, and consequently owed a main homelessness duty between April 2004 and March 2005.
(105)Households in accommodation either pending a decision on their homelessness application or awaiting re-allocation of a settled home following acceptance. Excludes those households designated as homeless at home" that have remained in their existing accommodation and have the same rights to suitable alternative accommodation as those in accommodation arranged by the authority.
(106)June 2004 estimates.
Source:
ODPM P1E Homelessness returns (quarterly) and Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (annual) (for Rough Sleepers data)





 
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Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much funding Milton Keynes Unitary Authority has received from all Government sources over the past 10 years in (a) nominal and (b) real terms. [14258]

Mr. Woolas: The funding Milton Keynes Unitary Authority has received from all Government sources since the authority was created in 1997–98 in both nominal and real terms, is shown in the following table.
£000

NominalReal terms
1997–98119,781140,629
1998–99126,392144,638
1999–2000137,519154,335
2000–01145,020160,650
2001–02162,228175,382
2002–03164,663172,530
2003–04191,871195,879
2004–05239,018239,018
2005–06229,852224,244

The data are as reported by the local authority and are taken from the Revenue Outturn (RO) and the Capital Outturn forms for 1997–98 to 2003–04, the Revenue Account (RA) budget form for 2004–05 and 2005–06, Capital Provisional Outturn (CPR4) form for 2004–05 and the Capital Estimates Return (CER) form for 2005–06.

The revenue grants included are special and specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance, revenue support grant and redistributed non-domestic rates.

The data for capital funding show resources used during that particular year funded by capital grants from central Government Departments; the revenue grants are shown in the year in which they are paid.

Comparisons across years may not be valid due to changing local authority responsibilities.

The real terms figures have been revalued for previous years at 2004–05 prices using the GDP deflator.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) consultation and (b) advisory documents were sent to parish councils in the North East Milton Keynes constituency by his Department in each of the last five years. [14259]

Mr. Woolas: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski) on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 2093W.

OFTEC Scheme

Janet Anderson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will make an assessment of the (a) effectiveness and (b) coverage of the OFTEC scheme; [14562]

(2) what his latest estimate is of the proportion of oil-fired heating installers which are covered by the OFTEC scheme. [14564]

Yvette Cooper: The effectiveness of the competent person scheme operated by the Oil Firing Technical Association for the Petroleum Industry Ltd. (OFTEC) in England and Wales was considered in a formal review
 
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in 2003. This concluded that it had achieved a higher level of building regulations compliance than would otherwise have been the case and had helped to raise installation standards. Since that time the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has kept OFTEC under informal review and believes that these conclusions remain valid.

Since it was established in April 2002, coverage of the OFTEC scheme has grown steadily: the number of oil installers and servicers now stands at 7,500 registered technicians in the UK, of whom 5,600 are in England, an increase of 400 since January, compared with fewer than 3,000 registered technicians in April 2003 when the scheme was reviewed.

Precise figures for the number of oil installers and services are not available but OFTEC estimate that there are approximately 10,000 in the UK, of whom 6–7,000 are in England and Wales.

Planning

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the timetable is for the revision of the departmental circular on planning obligations. [5588]

Yvette Cooper: The Government published a new circular on planning obligations on 18 July 2005, Official Report, column 44WS. To complement the circular a standard section 106 agreement and a good practice guide will also be published later in 2005.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance he offers to local authorities on the procedures for dealing with retrospective planning applications; how many retrospective applications were received by each local authority in the last year for which figures are available; how many of these were subsequently (a) successful and (b) withdrawn; and in how many cases enforcement action was taken. [14782]

Yvette Cooper: Guidance to local authorities on dealing with retrospective planning applications is given in Planning Policy Guidance Note 18 [PPG18] Enforcing Planning Control" and Enforcing Planning Control: Good Practice Guide for Local Planning Authorities", which are available from the Stationery Office [ISBN 0–11–752554–5/ISBN 0–11–753405–6 respectively]. PPG18 is also available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at www.odpm.gov.uk

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not record statistics on the number of retrospective planning applications received by each local authority in the last year. However, a one-off survey carried out in 1999 showed that just over 3 per cent. of all applications to district planning authorities and county councils for planning permission were applied for retrospectively. The success rate for retrospective applications was 85 per cent. as against 88 per cent. overall. Subsequent enforcement action was taken in around half of all retrospective refusals.

Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the organisations and individuals who have requested that Application COL/05/0964 to construct a visual arts building at Colchester be called in to be determined by a public inquiry. [12997]


 
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Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 July 2005]: The release of this information, without the prior agreements of the organisations and individuals, is likely to breach the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.

Roger Berry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made in (a) establishing mechanisms for funding for access groups in England and Wales and (b) identifying suitable disability organisations to administer this funding in relation to implementation of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. [10942]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 July 2005]: Section 115 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 provides the legal mechanism for funding access groups in England and Wales. In accepting an amendment with this effect in March 2004, the Noble Lord Rooker made it clear that the Government had not set aside funds for assisting such groups. There has been no change to this position.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average time taken to arrange a site visit by a representative of the Planning Inspectorate in cases of appeal against a planning decision by the local authority was in 2004–05; how long he estimates the time taken to arrange a site visit to 7 and 8 Fore Street, Salcombe, Devon will be; and if he will make a statement. [14376]

Yvette Cooper: The average time taken to arrange a site visit by a representative of the Planning Inspectorate in appeal against a planning decision by the local authority for this financial year is 12 weeks. This compares to 23 weeks for the last financial year. It is estimated that a site visit to 7 and 8 Fore Street, Salcombe, Devon will be conducted in the week commencing 25 July 2005.

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether it is his policy to call in all planning appeals with respect to applications by Travellers to settle on land they have bought; and if he will make a statement. [11200]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 July 2005]: The First Secretary of State's policy on calling in planning applications is set out in the parliamentary reply given by the then Planning Minister my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Heeley on 16 June 1999, Official Report, column 138).

Most planning appeals are transferred to the Planning Inspectorate for Inspectors to decide on behalf of the Secretary of State. However, some planning appeals are recovered for decision by the Secretary of State. My right hon. Friend's policy and guidelines for recovering cases is set out in a parliamentary reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon by the then Planning Minister my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich on 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 594W).

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether dormant companies may make applications for planning permission. [13105]


 
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Yvette Cooper: Any individual or organisation can apply for planning permission. Applications are decided in the light of policies in the local development plan, and other material considerations. An applicant's identity will generally not be relevant.


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