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House Building

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of the additional homes planned to be built in England are expected to be (a) council, (b) housing association and (c) private homes. [37784]


 
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Yvette Cooper: The Government responded to Kate Barker's review of Housing Supply on 5 December, outlining its ambition to increase total (private and social) 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. The Government's aim is to increase home ownership to 75 per cent. and also to increase affordable housing for ownership and rent.

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.

For 2005–08, the Government is funding 75,000 new social homes of which at least 60,000 are expected to be provided through Registered Social Landlords. The Government have announced that social housing will be a priority in the next spending review and that we will also be piloting new ways for local authorities to support the delivery of more council housing.

Housing

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many and what proportion of households accepted as unintentionally homeless and in priority need (a) contained (i) one, (ii) two and (iii) three or more children and (b) consisted of an applicant who was 16 or 17 years old in each quarter since 2002; and how many households in temporary accommodation contained (A) dependent children and (B) an expectant mother in (1) London and (2) each London borough in each quarter. [34664]

Yvette Cooper: Information collected about the number of households in temporary accommodation, as arranged by local authorities under homelessness legislation, at the end of each quarter identifies those containing dependent children or an expectant mother, but does not distinguish between them.

A table presenting the information as reported by each London borough on the number of households accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, during each quarter since July 2002, and the number of households with dependent children or an expectant mother in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter, has been made available in the Library of the House. This distinguishes the number of households accepted each quarter, by the number of dependent children, and those where the applicant was aged 16 or 17, as well as presenting the information as a percentage of the total number of households accepted during each quarter, and the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter.

The total number of households in London accepted as homeless and owed a main homelessness duty, which contained children, or an expectant mother or a 16 to 17-year-old fell from 5,650 to 4,130 (a 27 per cent. decrease) between the third quarters of 2002 and 2005 respectively.

Anne Main: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 1 December 2005, Official Report, column 682W, on housing, how many houses
 
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were identified in each local authority as being empty for six months in 2001–02; and in how many of those cases the local authority intervened. [38875]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps his Department has taken to assist low-income rural families to access adequate housing. [38921]

Yvette Cooper: This Government believes everyone should have access to decent housing at a price they can afford, including those in rural communities. To assist those on low incomes and key workers in such communities last year (2004–05) we invested over £200 million in new affordable homes.

On 5 December we published new draft planning policy statement 3: Housing" (PPS3) for consultation. This exhorts local planning authorities (LPAs) to make sufficient land available for affordable and market housing to sustain rural communities. It encourages LPAs in rural areas to adopt policies that deliver sufficient affordable housing and mixed and sustainable rural communities, for example through setting a lower site-size threshold than the indicative threshold of 15 dwellings. Draft PPS3 enables LPAs to provide for affordable housing of a specific size and type, so that housing provision addresses the identified affordable housing need in particular areas.

We are conscious though that this is only part of the picture. The issues driving affordability in rural areas are complex and include a range of stakeholders outside Government. This is why in the summer we set up the Affordable Rural Housing Commission. We have asked the Commission to consider the evidence and reach consensus on the relevant issues around affordable housing needs in rural areas, in the context of sustainable communities, and to provide recommendations for practical solutions across private, Government, and voluntary sectors, taking account of good practice. The Commission is currently gathering evidence and will report in spring 2006.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the number of (a) housing, (b) regeneration and (c) social exclusion scheme funding streams that will be in operation in 2006–07. [33163]

Yvette Cooper: The following list shows funding streams for a wide range of policy objectives across housing regeneration and social exclusion that will be in operation in 2006–07:

Housing


 
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Regeneration

The Government also funds the work of the social exclusion unit. The unit does not administer funding streams directly but does work with Government Departments and other stakeholders to ensure that a wide range of Government funding programmes contribute to the reduction of social exclusion.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also funds research on housing, regeneration and social exclusion.

John Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on initiatives to improve housing quality for older people with particular reference to affordable (a) heating and (b) security and safety. [39424]


 
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Yvette Cooper: The Government has set a target to bring all social housing into decent condition and to increase the proportion of private housing in decent condition occupied by vulnerable groups. Under the thermal comfort criterion element of the Decent Home standard, homes should have effective insulation and efficient heating. Older householders are among those who will benefit from these measures.

The Government's Warm Front Scheme in England provides a range of heating and insulation measures to householders and tenants in the private sector, including pensioner households, who are in receipt of certain benefits. Where a new central heating system is installed, customers are provided with guidance on the efficient use of the system. There are similar schemes in place in each of the Devolved Administrations.

In the pre-Budget report, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that an additional £300 million would be made available to tackle fuel poverty across the UK. In England, an additional £250 million will be made available to boost the Warm Front Scheme and extend its ability to provide central heating to pensioner households, and also to provide £300 off the cost of a central heating system for all other pensioners.

With the implementation of Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 in April 2006, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) will replace the fitness standard as the basis for intervention against unacceptable housing conditions and will also become an element of the Decent Home standard. To be decent, a dwelling will need to be free of serious (category 1") health and safety hazards, including serious hazards from entry by intruders, as assessed under HHSRS. This means that landlords, including local authorities and other social landlords, will need to take reasonable steps to ensure that their properties are secure against unauthorised entry.

Local authorities can offer assistance in the form of grants, loans or advice towards any kind of repair, adaptation or improvement work. The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) helps fund adaptations to enable disabled people to live as comfortably and independently as possible in their homes. 70 per cent. of DFG applications come from older people.

Support and assistance for older people in accessing funding and arranging works can also be obtained from Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs), for whom Government provides support through sponsorship of a National Co-ordinating Body—Foundations—and funding from a range of sources including the Supporting People programme.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total cost of gap funding allocated to large scale voluntary transfers was in each year since 2001. [22411]

Yvette Cooper: £182 million has been allocated for the period 2004–05 to 2007–08. The gap funding scheme did not operate prior to this period. This funding leavers in considerable private finances.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost of administration of the Arm's Length Management Organisation in Islington since it was established. [40353]


 
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Jim Fitzpatrick: No estimate has been made by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The funding provided under the ALMO programme is towards the cost of capital works to make homes decent only.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will introduce rules for the conduct of tenants' ballots in housing matters to cover (a) starting dates, (b) access for opposing campaigners, (c) availability of information on addresses and (d) adjudication of disputes. [40370]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to introduce such rules. Guidance to local authorities on the conduct of tenants' ballots is in the 'Housing Transfer Manual 2005'. Authorities should also ensure that they follow the 'Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity' (Circulars 20/1988 and 06/2001).

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assumptions are used in estimating building cost inflation when calculating allowances for local authority housing revenue accounts; and how such estimates are calculated. [40849]

Yvette Cooper: Major repairs allowances are increased in line with the GDP deflator, as set out in my response to the hon. Member's question number 40851.

The national total of maintenance allowances is increased each year in line with the policies set in the Spending Review.

The distribution of major repairs and maintenance allowances between authorities makes reference to relative construction costs as measured at county level by the average of the latest four quarters of the BCIS All-in Tender Price Index. The procedure and data are set out in full in the Commentary on the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Determination 2006–2007.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether building cost inflation is taken into account when calculating local authority major repairs allowances. [40851]

Yvette Cooper: The major repairs allowances for each building archetype are increased each year in line with the forecast GDP deflator measure of inflation provided by HM Treasury at the time of issue of the HRA Subsidy Determination. For 2006–07 this was 2.46 per cent.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list local authorities from which housing revenue account funds were transferred in each of the last three years, broken down by amount. [22254]

Yvette Cooper: A table showing the list of local authorities covered by the housing revenue account subsidy system, together with their subsidy entitlements, both negative and positive, in the years 2003–04 to 2005–06 inclusive has been placed in the Library of the House. The figures are subject to audit.

Transfers from an authority are indicated by negative amounts. Where an authority has been in receipt of subsidy, those amounts are shown as positive amounts to distinguish them from authorities that have closed their housing revenue accounts, which are marked n/a" in the appropriate years.
 
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In each of the three years, some authorities have contributed to the system, while others have received resources. In none of the years have surpluses met the full cost of deficits. We expect that payments to deficit authorities will continue to exceed resources redistributed from surplus authorities throughout this period. This means that there will be a continuing net subsidy to council housing.

Peter Law: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much money has been raised to date from the sale of council houses; and what proportion of the revenue has been reinvested in the repair and upgrading of council housing stock. [35806]

Yvette Cooper: From 1 April 1990 to 31 March 2005 there has been £21.23 billion (current prices net of discounts) raised from sales of local authority dwellings sold for owner occupation. This includes right-to-buy, voluntary sales into owner-occupation and leasehold but excludes receipts from block transfers. Information on use of receipts is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

James Duddridge: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the percentage change in council housing waiting lists (a) in Southend-on-Sea and (b) for each local authority in England has been since 1997; [33773]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be on waiting lists for council housing placements in 12 months time; [33775]

(3) how many people are on waiting lists for council housing placements. [33776]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 December 2005]: A table containing the percentage change showing increases and falls in the number of households on housing waiting lists by each district, including Southend-on-Sea, from 1997 to 2005, has been made available in the Library of the House.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not make predictions as to the future status of the housing waiting list. For information on past trends, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17 October 2005, Official Report, columns 811–12W to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws), in which the annual housing waiting list data for the years 1996 through to 2005 were made available in the Library of the House.

The most recent figure for the number of households on the housing waiting list, as at 1 April 2005, is that there are 1,546,900.

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. Local authorities sometimes maintain a common waiting list with the Housing Association/s in their district. However, information is not held centrally where a Housing Association maintains a separate waiting list to the local authority.


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