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New build completions data is only available at local authority level therefore it is not possible to say how many dwellings have been built in rural settlements, only in local authorities that are classified as rural. This will therefore include dwellings built in towns that are inside a local authority classified as rural.
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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice he has given to housing associations on (a) their obligation to provide social housing and (b) the sale of their property with vacant possession. 
Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation's registration guidance makes clear that to obtain registered social landlords (RSL) status, the majority of a housing association's business activity (51 per cent. or more) should be in the provision of social housing. This expectation is reiterated in the corporation's good practice note on diversification activity. RSLs have a duty to co-operate with local authorities to enable the latter to fulfil their duties to the homeless, people in priority housing need, the vulnerable and those covered by the Government's Supporting People policy. RSLs provide a proportion of their stock to local authority nominations and temporary accommodation to the homeless. These requirements are set out in the corporation's Regulatory Code and guidance.
When in receipt of funding from the Housing Corporation, RSLs must meet agreed funding conditions. All funding is subject to the provisions of the Housing Act 1996 and the corporation's published criteria, procedures and audit arrangements. Non-compliance with these requirements may result in the
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withdrawal of allocations and recovery of grant. Grant funding is also conditional upon the RSL meeting the Housing Corporation's Regulatory Code.
The voluntary disposal of properties by housing associations requires the consent of the Housing Corporation under section 9 of the Housing Act 1996. The corporation's regulatory circular (number 03/03) advises registered and unregistered housing associations on the requirements of Section 9.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will commission research on the impact of tenants and tenant representation on the running of social housing by (a) registered social landlords and (b) local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation requires all registered social landlords to actively facilitate resident involvement and to report annually on outcomes. The corporation intends to commission a project to measure the delivery of these policy objectives with the housing association sector, and to prepare guidance to enable associations to measure the targets and impact of their annual involvement statements. The corporation has also commissioned a survey of residents seeking their views on, among other things, their involvement in the management of their homes.
In 2002 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister commissioned an interim evaluation of tenant participation compacts in local authority housing, to inform a review of the national framework guidance published in 1999. The evaluation reviewed progress on implementing tenant participation arrangements through compacts, including impact on tenants and tenant participation generally. The findings were fed into the revised national framework guidance published in March 2005.
Although the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Housing Corporation currently have no plans to commission research in addition to that already mentioned, they will continue to keep this under review.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if the Government will require mobile telecommunications companies to receive positive assent to a proposal to erect a telecommunications mast before proceeding with its construction. 
Yvette Cooper: All ground based masts are already subject to planning control so that if the local authority considers that the development will pose a serious threat to amenity, it is able to refuse approval. For masts over 15 metres in height a planning application is required. For masts under 15 metres in height a prior approval application is required.
Local planning authorities have the opportunity to deal with prior approval applications in the same way as a normal planning application so long as they act within eight weeks. Eight weeks is also the performance target for dealing with most planning applications for telecommunications developments.
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|UDC, local regeneration partnerships and|
|Land purchase and remediation||199|
Yvette Cooper: The Government have established a Gypsy and Traveller Unit within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and one of its aims is to help local authorities to improve their enforcement powers. As part of its work, the Unit is also looking at the operation of these powers to see if further action or guidance is required.
|Number of vacant dwellings in Lancashire|
The data used for 2000 and 2001 uses a combination of tenure figures available from local authorities' Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) returns to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Registered Social Landlords' Regulatory Statistical Return (RSR) to the Housing Corporation. The data is as 1 April each year.
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The data for years 2002 onwards is as reported on CTB1 & CTB1S forms submitted by billing authorities to ODPM each year. The figures include both long and short-term empty properties. The data is as reported at a set date in November each year. It is expected that for the two sets of figures, the difference between two snap-shot dates would be insignificant.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the 20 local authorities with the greatest number of empty private sector properties at the latest date for which figures are available; how many such properties each has; and what percentage of the total private sector housing stock that figure represents in each case. 
|Local authority||Number of private sector vacant dwellings||Private sector vacant dwellings as a percentage of private sector stock|
|Kingston upon Hull||5,533||7.1|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||4,806||5.9|
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