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It was recently announced that Home Information Packs will become mandatory from 1 June 2007, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to postpone this date. We have listened to views from across the industry, in order to achieve a date that represents the appropriate balance between the various interests. The Government are satisfied that this date provides the time needed to ensure that home information packs can be introduced successfully throughout England and Wales.
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Yvette Cooper: No specific research has been commissioned on this, as there is no reason to believe that the introduction of home information packs will have a significant effect on house prices. The only new cost being imposed on the system overall is the cost of a home condition report in a proportion of transactions. Together with the rest of the information in the pack, this will help to ensure that house prices are set more realistically and buyers are not faced with unexpected repair bills and other commitments they cannot afford. The reforms are designed to improve the home buying process by making it more transparent and reducing the current high rate of transaction failure. A more efficient system will benefit the housing market and the UK economy.
Yvette Cooper: The reforms to the home buying and selling process will benefit the home buying process by making it a better experience for the consumer and by creating a more efficient housing market. In particular, packs will:
Deliver the European Directive requirement for sellers to provide energy performance certificates to home buyers. The home condition report in the pack will contain an energy efficiency report and certificate. This will assist the delivery of the Government's target of a 20 per cent. reduction in residential carbon emissions by 2010. The energy efficiency report will identify cost effective ways of improving energy efficiency.
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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average weekly rent for a two-bed (a) registered social landlord and (b) local authority property was in each (i) London borough and (ii) English region in (A)2001 and (B) 2005. 
|Barking and Dagenham||66.45||72.21||54.67||63.56|
|City of London||59.32||74.14||64.46||75.95|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||62.02||74.82||60.75||71.83|
|Kensington and Chelsea||59.63||73.50||76.69||82.12|
|Kingston upon Thames||68.72||85.04||66.32||74.89|
|Richmond upon Thames||67.01||75.62||LSVT||LSVT|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||49.20||50.90||39.87||45.97|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many vacant dwellings there were in (a) London and (b) each London borough in each of the last five years (i) in total and (ii) as a proportion of all dwellings. 
The number of empty homes in each London borough and London as a whole for each of the last five years both in actual numbers and as a proportion of all dwellings are tabled as follows. These figures include dwellings which are empty for less than six months, some of them for less than one month. Of the 91,900 empty homes in London, 44,300 have been
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2826W
empty for more than six months. From April local authorities will have new powers to bring empty homes back into use.
|April 2000||April 2001|
|Total empty homes||Empty as percentage of all properties||Total empty homes||Empty as percentage of all properties|
|Barking and Dagenham||2,172||3.2||1,328||2.0|
|City of London||||||20||0.4|
|Hammersmith and Fulham4,138||5.4||4,520||5.9|
|Kensington and Chelsea||1,715||2.2||6,067||6.9|
|Kingston upon Thames||1,152||1.9|||||
|Richmond upon Thames||1,629||2.1||1,751||2.2|
|November 2002||November 2003||November 2004|
|Total empty homes||Empty as percentage of all properties||Total empty homes||Empty as percentage of all properties||Total empty homes||Empty as percentage of all properties|
|Barking and Dagenham||1,578||2.3||1,798||2.6||1,623||2.4|
|City of London||63||1.3||141||2.6||165||2.9|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||3,015||3.9||3,526||4.6||2,946||3.8|
|Kensington and Chelsea||4,576||5.4||3,308||3.9||3,064||3.6|
|Kingston upon Thames||2,169||3.5||2,333||3.8||2,394||3.8|
|Richmond upon Thames||3,497||4.5||3,086||3.9||2,166||2.7|
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with Sefton council on its proposal to ballot its tenants on the large-scale voluntary transfer of council housing; and what investigations he has conducted into the conduct of the last ballot. 
Yvette Cooper: Ministers in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have had no discussions with Sefton council on its proposal to ballot tenants. Sefton council have discussed with officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister the circumstances surrounding their initial ballot. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not undertaken any investigation into the conduct of that ballot. Sefton council have informed officials of their decision to re-ballot tenants on the large scale voluntary transfer of the Council's housing stock.
Yvette Cooper: Additional funding secured through the Spending Review 2004 will, along with efficiency improvements, provide 75,000 social rented properties over the three years 2005 to 2008, that is, an additional 10,000 homes a year by 2008, a 50 per cent. increase on 200405.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what level of social housing grant from the Housing Corporation was required to produce one unit of rented accommodation in the latest period for which the information is available. 
The cost of a unit of social rented accommodation varies widely, dependent on location, size, or type of property, and other issues. The proportion of that cost paid through social housing grant also varies due to a range of factors.
The information on Hereford alone is not held centrally. Information on housing starts and completions for Herefordshire can be viewed on the housing statistics pages of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. Herefordshire council's Local
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2828W
Development Framework Annual Monitoring Report 200405 published in December 2005 contains information on housing completions for Hereford and on affordable housing for the county. The report is available on the council's website.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact of the level of private enterprise building in Herefordshire on the availability of affordable housing there. 
Yvette Cooper: No such assessment has been made by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This is primarily a matter for Herefordshire council as the local housing and planning authority. Herefordshire council's Local Development Framework Annual Monitoring Report 200405 published in December 2005 contains information relevant to this matter and can be viewed on the council's website.
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 12 December 2005]: Merseyside Housing Market Renewal pathfinder has put forward its bid for funding for 2006 to 2008, alongside other pathfinders. All the proposals are being scrutinised and announcements will be made on the budgets for the next phase when that is concluded.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new residential dwellings will be built in each of the next 20 years in (a) Gravesham and (b) Kent following the Government's response to Kate Barker's review of Housing Supply. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government responded to Kate Barker's review of Housing Supply on 5 December, outlining its ambition to increase housing delivery in England over the next decade to 200,000 net additions per year, from current delivery of around 150,000 net additions per year.
This policy will inform regional and local plans for housing, however the numbers set out in the response represent Government's ambition nationally. Detailed figures at a local level are determined through statutory planning processes.
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