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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1691W—continued

Disabled Facilities Grant

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to put forward proposals for reform of the Disabled Facilities Grant. [28892]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the written statement given to the House on 27 October 2005, Official Report, column 13WS.

Fire Service

Steve McCabe: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 7 November 2005, Official Report, column 180W what the average response time was in England in each year. [29686]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The available information covers attendance at primary fires. The following table shows the average response time to primary fires attended by all Fire and Rescue Services in England each month during 2004–05. (Monthly data was requested and provided for the previous question on West Midlands). This is measured in minutes from time of first call to the fire and rescue service to time of arrival at the scene.
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1692W

Primary fires attended in England: Average response times 2004–05

MonthResponse time (minutes)

1. Figures for 2004–05 are provisional.
2. Data excludes late calls, heat and smoke damage only incidents.
Fire & Rescue Service FDR1 returns to ODPM.

Ed Balls: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many firefighters serviced (a) West Yorkshire and (b) Normanton constituency (i) in 1997 and (ii) at the latest date for which figures are available. [29176]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of firefighters at West Yorkshire fire and rescue service in 1997 and 2004 is set out as follows:
Whole-time firefighters1,7391,658
Retained duty system firefighters180165
Total number of firefighters1,9191,823

(69) Information provided refer to work force at 31 March.
ODPM annual returns

Data on the number of firefighters at the constituency level are not available.

Ed Balls: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what provision for fire safety risk assessment there is in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) Normanton constituency. [29177]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has been maintaining records of attacks on firefighters since 2004. Since 1 April 2004 there have been reports of 75 attacks on firefighters of the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service but no reports of attacks on firefighters in the Normanton area.

In common with other Fire and Rescue Authorities, it is the policy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service that the attending Incident Commander should conduct a dynamic risk assessment. That assessment includes the threat of attack.

All West Yorkshires fire appliances are equipped with silent witness cameras fitted in the crew cab. This helps to deter acts against crews and provides video evidence to the police in the event of an incident.

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the likely impact on fire and rescue service average response times in Blackpool, North and Fleetwood of establishing a regional fire control room for the north west region. [29332]

21 Nov 2005 : Column 1693W

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects that the establishment of the new national network of control centres will result in response times, under normal operating conditions, which are as good as or better than now. We expect particular improvement however during surges in demand or very large incidents. Currently, it is not possible to assess the impact on response times in Blackpool, North and Fleetwood.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) homeless children and (b) homeless households with children were in temporary accommodation in each (i) year and (ii) quarter since 1997. [26911]

Yvette Cooper: Information reported quarterly by local authorities includes the number of households in temporary accommodation on the last day of the quarter, as arranged by the local authority under homelessness legislation. The number of these households which include dependent children or a pregnant woman has been reported since March 2002, and the number of children or expected children in these households has been reported since June 2004. Available information is summarised in the following table.

In January 2005 the Government announced in Homes for All" their commitment to halve the number of all households in temporary accommodation by 2010.
Households with dependent(70) children in temporary accommodation(71)as arranged by local authorities under homelessness legislation, and the number of children(70), on the last day of each quarter: England

Households with children or a pregnant woman
Number of children/expected children
31 March54,660n/a
30 June58,870n/a
30 September61,740n/a
31 December60,310n/a
31 March61,510n/a
30 June65,040n/a
30 September67,260n/a
31 December67,540n/a
31 March70,580n/a
30 June(72)71,640121,590
30 September(72)72,510122,530
31 December(72)72,800124,630
31 March(72)72,670125,860
30 June(72)72,810124,900

n/a = Denotes data not collected.
(70) Includes households where an expectant mother is present.
(71) Households in temporary accommodation arranged by local authorities pending enquiries or after being accepted as homeless under the 1996 Act.
(72) Provisional data.
1. Data on households containing dependent children has been collected from March 2002.
2. Data on children in temporary accommodation has been collected from June 2004.
ODPM P1E Homelessness returns (quarterly).

21 Nov 2005 : Column 1694W

Hostels Improvement Programme

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the progress of the Hostels Improvement Programme. [28891]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is investing £90 million over the next three years through the Hostels Capital Improvement Programme. Underlying the programme is the need to change the very nature of hostels so that they provide better opportunities for people who have experienced homelessness. Hostels will cease to be a place of last resort, but instead will be centres of excellence and choice which positively change lives. The programme is a large undertaking with around 80 projects in 34 local authorities being developed in a partnership between government, councils and the voluntary sector.

The three year £90 million Hostels Capital Improvement Programme is in its early stages and most projects are at the planning and pre-works stage.

Household Overcrowding

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will publish the consultation paper on the revision of standards for determining levels of household overcrowding; and if he will make a statement. [28822]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister remains committed to publishing a consultation paper on the future of the statutory overcrowding standards, and will do so as soon as possible.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what changes the Government have made to planning (a) guidance and (b) regulations relating to (i) section 106 agreements and (ii) affordable housing quotas since 1997. [26910]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) published in July this year Circular 5/05, which provides guidance to local planning authorities in England on the use of section 106 agreements as part of proposed development. This replaced previous guidance set out in DoE Circular 1/97. The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Amendment) (England) Order 2002 (S.I. 2002 No.828), requires local planning authorities to put details of section 106 and other agreements that relate to planning applications on their planning registers for public inspection.

Current planning policies, in Planning Policy Guidance note 3: Housing and DETR Circular 6/98, incorporate guidance on the amount of, and the site-size thresholds above which, affordable housing should be sought on application sites. ODPM has not published any regulations relating to planning for affordable housing since 1997.
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1695W

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what total receipts were generated from right-to-buy sales in Tamworth in each year since 1980. [27492]

Yvette Cooper: The total capital receipts from right-to-buy sales of local authority dwellings in Tamworth in the years from 1996–97 onwards are in the following table. These figures are net of discounts and are as reported by local authorities.
Tamworth (£ million)

Quarterly PI(A/B) return received from local authorities.

The information for years prior to 1996–97 is not centrally available.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will break down the number of right-to-buy sales in Tamworth since 1980 by (a) bed-sit, (b) one-bed, (c) two-bed, (d) three-bed and (e) four or more bedrooms. [27493]

Yvette Cooper: Information is not held centrally on the numbers of bedrooms of local authority dwellings sold through right-to-buy, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was allocated to council house refits for disabled people in West Lancashire in the last year for which figures are available; and what this represents as a proportion of the total budget for council housing refits. [27698]

Yvette Cooper: According to West Lancashire's 2005 Business Plan Annual Monitoring (BPAM) return, over the period 2004–05 they spent £491,000 on disabled/elderly adaptations within their local authority-owned housing. This represents 9.6 per cent. of their total expenditure on capital works over the same period.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does riot hold expenditure data on disabled adaptations alone.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of social rented housing in each local authority in London in each year since 1990 has been (a) bedsit, (b) one-bedroom, (c) two-bedroom, (d) three-bedroom and (e) four-bedroom or more. [28896]

Yvette Cooper: The breakdown requested is not available for all years. The information requested has been made available in the Library of the House.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of social rented housing in each Government office region in each year since 1990 has been (a) bedsit, (b) one-bedroom, (c) two-bedroom, (d) three-bedroom and (e) four-bedroom or more. [28897]

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Yvette Cooper: The breakdown requested is not available for all years. The information requested is tabled as follows.
Distribution of social stock for Government office regions by size by year

Bedsits and one-bedroomTwo-
and over
North East23.436.939.7
North West28.330.141.6
Yorkshire and the Humber28.433.438.2
East Midlands27.331.041.8
West Midlands27.131.341.7
South East31.530.937.7
South West29.134.136.8
North East23.636.939.5
North West28.530.341.2
Yorkshire and the Humber28.533.537.9
East Midlands27.531.241.3
West Midlands27.631.341.1
South East31.531.137.4
South West29.234.436.5
North East23.837.039.3
North West28.530.541.1
Yorkshire and the Humber28.733.837.6
East Midlands27.631.640.8
West Midlands27.631.840.6
South East31.831.236.9
South West29.634.535.9
North East24.436.838.8
North West28.430.341.3
Yorkshire and the Humber28.933.937.2
East Midlands28.031.840.2
West Midlands27.932.040.1
South East32.031.436.6
South West29.734.835.4
North East24.137.438.5
North West28.630.441.0
Yorkshire and the Humber29.234.036.8
East Midlands28.332.239.5
West Midlands28.232.139.7
South East32.131.536.4
South West30.035.035.0
North East24.637.537.9
North West28.630.740.8
Yorkshire and the Humber29.734.236.2
East Midlands28.732.538.8
West Midlands28.532.339.2
South East32.231.736.1
South West30.135.234.7

21 Nov 2005 : Column 1697W

BedsitOne-bedroomTwo-bedroomThree-bedroomFour-bedroom and over
North East1.824.037.434.62.3
North West2.027.231.336.53.0
Yorkshire and the Humber1.928.234.632.92.4
East Midlands2.226.932.736.12.1
West Midlands1.827.032.636.12.5
South East4.528.131.833.32.3
South West2.128.335.132.51.9
North East1.622.238.435.52.3
North West1.523.632.439.23.2
Yorkshire and the Humber1.526.735.234.12.6
East Midlands1.925.
West Midlands1.624.135.336.12.9
South East3.424.733.535.92.5
South West1.822.937.136.02.1

Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding
The Regulatory Statistical Return of the Housing Corporation and the HAR/10
The unaudited Second Subsidy Claim form from local authorities
Not all local authorities filled in returns for all years.

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps the Government are taking to improve conditions for older people living in private rented sector housing. [29017]

Yvette Cooper: The Government have introduced a wide range of measures to ensure that elderly people who live in the privately rented sector can enjoy decent homes that are warm and free of hazards. The provisions in the Housing Act 2004 to enable local authorities to assess properties against a range of health and safety criteria will tackle the worst conditions—cold, damp, and the risk of falls. These will be reinforced by provisions which require many of the higher risk properties in the sector to be licensed in order to improve management standards.

In addition, a range of financial assistance and advice is available to improve living conditions in the sector. Local authorities have powers under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) Order 2002 to provide assistance either to landlords or tenants for this purpose. The types of assistance on offer are a matter for local discretion.

The Government policy has also taken steps to increase the number of warm homes that are energy efficient. Private tenants can seek advice from the Energy Saving Trust, and in his recent Budgets my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has provided through the landlords energy saving allowance important tax reliefs to private landlords who invest in energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing.

The 'Warm Front' scheme tackles fuel poverty among vulnerable households in both the private rented and owner occupied sectors. The scheme provides grants for packages of insulation and heating improvements,
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1698W
including central heating systems, for eligible households. It is available for landlords with tenants on benefits, provided the tenant stays with the landlord for at least two years.

Tim Farron: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people are on the housing list waiting to be re-housed in Westmorland and Lonsdale. [29966]

Yvette Cooper: Information on households (rather than people) is available at local authority and not parliamentary constituency level. Westmorland and Lonsdale is situated within South Lakeland.

Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. Households looking for transfer within the local authority's stock are not included.

The number of households on South Lakeland's housing waiting list as at 1 April 2005 was 3,240.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total expenditure on (a) intermediate rent, (b) homebuy new build and (c) mixed funded for sale programmes has been, broken down by local authority. [28825]

Yvette Cooper: A table detailing the total funding through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme, including Keyworker Living, for each local authority area last year (2004–05) has been made available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to enable first-time buyers in the South Hams to buy a home locally. [27370]

Yvette Cooper: Recognising the acute need for affordable housing in the South West, the Government have given a 48 per cent. increase in capital funding—
21 Nov 2005 : Column 1699W
which is the highest funding increase of all English regions—to the south-west. This will be used to support the new building of affordable homes for rent, and the Government's new Homebuy products which will help first-time buyers into home ownership. Around £42 million over the next two years is intended to be allocated to the districts in the Plymouth housing market area, including South Hams, up from £23.6 million over 2004–06.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether any of the Government's homebuy schemes will be piloted in Milton Keynes. [28312]

Yvette Cooper: At the present time it is not possible to say whether any of the Office of The Deputy Prime Minister's new homebuy schemes will be piloted in Milton Keynes. The Housing Corporation are currently considering bids submitted by housing associations and other housing providers for funding the schemes as part of its National Affordable Housing Programme for 2006–08. Decisions are expected early next year.

We will also be running a limited number of early social homebuy pilots in advance of the next National Affordable Housing Programme round—however, proposals agreed with the Housing Corporation do not include any provision in Milton Keynes.

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