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11 Nov 2005 : Column 836W—continued


0870 Numbers

Dr. Cable: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the occasions in the last five years on which 0870 telephone numbers have been used by his Department as contact numbers for members of the public; and how much revenue was received from the use of 0870 contact numbers in each of the last five years for which records are available. [24462]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Over the last five years, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not used any 0870 telephone numbers as contact numbers for members of the public.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of current building stock in England meets the thermal insulation standards established by part J of the building regulations; what steps are being taken to
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increase this proportion; and when he estimates the building stock will meet fully the new building standards. [23087]

Yvette Cooper: Part L applies whenever buildings are constructed, altered, extended or subjected to a material change of use. A further improvement in standards will come into effect next April. We estimate that around 2 to 4 per cent. of existing dwellings meet current (2002) part L insulation standards.

Separately, the Warm Front and Decent Homes programmes and the Energy Efficiency Commitment are increasing standards for existing homes. We are also undertaking a further review to consider how best to improve the sustainability of existing dwellings.

For buildings other than dwellings, around 4 per cent. of the total floor area meets current insulation standards, with up to a further 4 per cent. being upgraded each year. It is not economic or practical to improve all buildings to new building standards.

Fire Precautions Regulations

John McDonnell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment has been made of the financial effects on the Transport industry of the revocation of the Fire Precautions (Sub-Surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989. [26554]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The potential costs and benefits to businesses of operating under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 were published in the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) when the Order was laid before Parliament in May 2004. The analysis within the RIA analysis did not discuss the impact on particular business sectors. Copies of this document have been made available in the Library of the House.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of whether larger or older homes are likely to incur higher costs in producing a home information pack than small or recently built houses; and if he will make a statement. [24674]

Yvette Cooper: Most of the documents required in the pack will not cost any more for a larger or older property than they would for a smaller or recently built house. For example, evidence of title and copies of warranties will be unaffected by the age or size of the property.

Searches are charged at a rate set by the local authority, irrespective of the size or location of the house. Consumers will, however, be able to have searches undertaken by a private search company which will charge at a market rate.

The cost of the Home Condition Report (HCR) will be determined by the market and will vary depending on the size and possibly the location and type of property.


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average weekly rent was for a new two-bed letting in a registered social landlord property in 2005. [24268]

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Yvette Cooper: The average weekly rent, excluding service charges, for RSL lettings for two bedroom registered social landlord properties in the first six months of 2005 was £64.48. Information on rents charged by registered social landlords on new lettings is available from the Continuous REcording (CORE) of new lettings of the housing corporation.

Information on the average weekly rent, excluding service charges, for RSL lettings for two bedrooms at 31 March 2005 is for those dwellings for which a size breakdown is available was £61.13. This information is based on data collected by the housing corporation via the annual regulatory and statistical return.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) short-term and (b) long-term empty properties there were in (i) England, (ii) each region and (iii) each London borough in each year since 1997. [24374]

Yvette Cooper: The available information has been placed in the Library of the House. Long TermVacant (LTV) dwellings are those that have been vacant for over six months.

The figures are based on two sources. The first is the council tax band 1 (CTB1) return data for the years from 2002 onwards. Council tax data collected before this year are considered unreliable. So from 2001 back to 1997, the combined data from the following two sources are used: local authorities' housing strategy statistical appendix (HSSA) returns for empty council and private sector dwellings; and housing corporation's regulatory statistical return (RSR) for empty registered social landlords (RSLs) properties. Since RSLs did not collect LTV data until 2005, only total vacant dwelling figures are available from this combined source. Therefore separate answers for (a) and (b) are not possible for 1997 to 2001.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to provide affordable housing in (a) Huddersfield, (b) Yorkshire and (c) England. [24426]

Yvette Cooper: 'Sustainable Communities: Homes for All' sets out the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's plans to deliver more affordable housing over the next five years. Measures include assisting around 100,000 first time buyers and key workers nationally to achieve their home ownership aspirations and, through investment and efficiency savings, to deliver 75,000 social rented homes by 2008. Future delivery of social housing after 2007–08 will be dependent on the outcome of the Spending Review 2007.

The 2003–05 Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Housing Strategy identified the provision of affordable housing in high demand areas as one of its priorities. Through the Regional Housing Board's 2004–06 investment programme over £57 million is being invested in affordable housing in West Yorkshire and £6.7 million in Kirklees. Of this, around £3.9 million has been invested in affordable housing schemes in Huddersfield and 104 affordable homes are being provided.

The provision of affordable housing in high demand areas remains a priority in the 2005 Regional Housing Strategy. The Housing Corporation are currently
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working with sub-regional partnerships and local authorities to put together an affordable housing programme for 2006–08, which will lead to between £41 million and £45 million being invested in new affordable homes in West Yorkshire.

The Regional Housing Strategy also sets out other options for local authorities and their partners to consider in order to provide affordable homes, such as alternative sources of funding and capacity through the planning system. We have approved a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) scheme in Kirklees which is intended to provide 550 affordable housing units up to 2010. There will be 400 units for small households and 150 units for people requiring extra care housing. Kirklees council are also delivering around 100 affordable units a year through the planning system and section 106 agreements.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what process the Government plan to adopt in relation to the procedure for an owner reclaiming property seized by a local authority under an empty dwelling management order. [24588]

Yvette Cooper: Provisions in the Housing Act 2004 provide that an Empty Dwelling Management Order may be revoked before the order is due to cease either on the initiative of a local authority, or on application to the authority by a relevant person, provided the authority:

If the dwelling is occupied at the time the revocation is proposed, the order may only be revoked with the consent of the relevant proprietor. A local authority may make revocation subject to payment of any expenditure properly incurred that has not already been recouped from rental income. A relevant person may appeal to a residential property tribunal against a decision of a local authority to revoke or refuse to revoke an Empty Dwelling Management Order.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many vacant homes there are in West Lancashire; and for what average period houses were vacant in each of the last three years. [27699]

Yvette Cooper: There were 1,386 empty homes in West Lancashire as at November 2004, the latest date for which figures are available. The data are as reported on CTB1 and CTB1S forms submitted by billing authorities to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister each year. The figure includes both long and short-term empty properties.

Details of the average period for which houses were vacant are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many affordable housing units expected to be built or procured through the Housing Corporation Approved Development Programme were (a) mixed funded social rented housing, (b) temporary social rented housing, (c) homebuy general market purchase, (d) homebuy general new build, (e) mixed funded low cost home ownership for sale, (f) miscellaneous works to registered social landlord (RSL) stock, (g) reimprovements to rented RSL stock, (h) works-only rehabilitation of rented RSL stock, (i) works-only rehabilitation of RSL stock for sale, (j) intermediate rent for key workers, (k) homebuy market purchase for key workers, (l) homebuy new build for key workers, (m) mixed funded sale for key workers, (n) right to acquire, (o) voluntary purchase grant, (p) starter home initiative, (q) do-it-yourself shared ownership and (r) temporary intermediate and market rent housing in the South West Region in (i) 2005–06, (ii) 2006–07 and (iii) 2007–08; and how much was spent on each category in each year. [25548]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 7 November 2005]: The tables show the latest estimated completions and expenditure in the South West region for 2005–06 through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme for categories from (a) to (r). Funding and completions are not directly comparable, as funding will relate to projects running, not necessarily units completed, in any one year.
Estimated completions for South West Region in 2005–06

(a)Mixed Funded Social Rent2,163
(b)Temporary Social Rent20
(c)Homebuy Market Purchase248
(d)Homebuy New Build17
(e)Mixed Funded for Sale737
(f)Misc works to RSL stock408
(g)Reimprovements to RSL rented stock21
(h)Works only rehabilitation of RSL rented stock35
(i)Works only rehabilitation of RSL stock for Sale0
(j)Intermediate rent for Key Workers0
(k)Homebuy Market Purchase for Key Workers0
(1)Homebuy New Build for Key Workers0
(m)Mixed Funded for Sale for Key Workers0
(n)Right to Acquire7
(o)Voluntary Purchase Grant14
(p)Starter Home Initiative0
(q)Do-it-yourself-shared Ownership0
(r)Temporary intermediate and Market rent

Estimated expenditure in South West Region for 2005–06

£ million
(a)Mixed Funded Social Rent68.106
(b)Temporary Social Rent0.463
(c)Homebuy Market Purchase8.615
(d)Homebuy New Build0.261
(e)Mixed Funded for Sale10.785
(f)Misc works to RSL stock1.957
(g)Reimprovements to RSL rented stock0.995
(h)Works only rehabilitation of RSL rented stock0.300
(i)Works only rehabilitation of RSL stock for Sale0.205
(j)Intermediate rent for Key Workers0.000
(k)Homebuy Market Purchase for Key Workers0.000
(1)Homebuy New Build for Key Workers0.000
(m)Mixed Funded for Sale for Key Workers0.000
(n)Right to Acquire0.082
(o)Voluntary Purchase Grant0.151
(p)Starter Home Initiative0.000
(q)Do-it-yourself-shared Ownership0.000
(r)Temporary intermediate and Market rent

Categories (f), (g), (h), and (i) are not counted as completions and figures are only provided for illustrative purposes. The Key Worker Living Scheme does not include the South West region.
Housing Corporation Information Management System as at 12 October 2005.

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For 2006–07 and 2007–08 Regional Housing Boards have made recommendations to Ministers for the allocation of Regional Housing Pots funds. The South West Regional Housing Board has recommended that from their allocation of £361 million for the two years a total of £281 million should be allocated to the provision of affordable housing. However, the exact distribution of funding between programmes for 2006–08 will not be known until the completion of the Housing Corporation's bidding process.

In August 2005 the Housing Corporation launched the bidding round for the 2006–08 Affordable Housing Programme (AHP). This invited both registered social landlords and non-registered bodies to apply for funds to develop affordable housing based on priorities set by the Regional Housing Boards. The outcome of this bidding round will not be known until early in 2006.

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