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6 Feb 2006 : Column 914W—continued

Falling Trees

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what information he collects from local authorities on the number of people (a) killed and (b) injured as a result of falling trees and branches. [48986]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not collect information from local authorities on the number of people killed or injured as a result of falling trees and branches, and such information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Fire Services

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the performance of combined emergency services control rooms of proposed mergers of fire services. [47800]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not expect there to be any negative impact on the performance of the two pilot tri-service control centres as a result of the merger of fire and rescue service control rooms into regional controls. There are no plans to regionalise the fire and rescue service.

The tri-service pilots are not combined emergency service control rooms, but three separate controls located in the same building. This is because the different business needs of the three services are a key implementation barrier to delivering fully integrated tri-service centres. In terms of performance, the fire and rescue service accounts for fewer than 10 per cent. of calls in the tri-service centres, so combined centres will still be able to function much as they do now as bi-service controls without fire. The valuable lessons that have been learnt from the pilots, especially in terms of closer working between emergency services, can still be built on after the introduction of regional fire control centres.

First-time Buyers

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the number of first-time
 
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buyers entering the housing market in (a) England and (b) the UK in each year since 1996. [42806]

Yvette Cooper: The Council of Mortgage Lenders produce estimates of the number of mortgages for house purchase made by first-time buyers in the UK. Estimates are not available for England or for the number of first-time buyers purchasing without a mortgage.

Figures available from 1991 tabled as follows:
Number of mortgages for house purchase to first-time buyers:UK 1991–2004

Number (thousand)
1991332
1992306
1993524
1994528
1995424
1996465
1997503
1998527
1999593
2000499
2001568
2002532
2003367
2004358



Source:
Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)


Hillingdon Council

John McDonnell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the additional costs falling upon Hillingdon council from Heathrow airport. [47070]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not routinely assess the costs falling on Hillingdon council from Heathrow airport. To make such an assessment on a one-off basis would require extensive research which would incur disproportionate cost. The economic effects arising from Heathrow were considered as part of the Inquiry into the Terminal 5 proposal, and findings are set out in Topic Report 2, which supplements the main Inspector's Report, but the findings are not reported in a way that is specific to Hillingdon.

Home Information Packs

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether those who put together home information packs will be required to obtain negligence or indemnity insurance; and what arrangements have been put in place to deal with the production of packs for more complicated properties in rural areas. [41468]

Yvette Cooper: Home information packs will bring together at the start of the home buying and selling process documents and information that are already an established part of the existing system but which currently become available later in the sale. There will be no legal requirement for persons performing the role of collecting documents together to compile packs to have negligence or indemnity insurance. This will be a matter for consideration by estate agents and others who may commission packs on behalf of sellers. The only new
 
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component in home information packs will be the home condition report. Only home inspectors who are members of an approved certification scheme will be able to provide home condition reports. Before approving a certification scheme the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister must be satisfied that the scheme contains appropriate provision for ensuring that its members have suitable indemnity insurance.

Homebuy Schemes

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 256W, on Homebuy schemes, whether the Government are providing subsidy for Open Market Homebuy. [47017]

Yvette Cooper: Yes. The Government are providing subsidy via the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme in 2006–08 for equity loans provided by registered social landlords under Open Market HomeBuy. A decision on the overall programme is expected in March 2006 when the amount of subsidy for Open Market HomeBuy will be confirmed.

From October 2006 Government funding will be enhanced by the private financing of equity loans from three lenders. This will enable us to help an additional 20,000 households into home ownership by 2010, bringing the total assisted to over 100,000.

Housing

Michael Gove: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many families in each London local authority area were living in overcrowded conditions in (a) 1997, (b) 2000 and (c) 2005. [43164]

Yvette Cooper: There are two measures of overcrowding—the statutory definition and the bedroom standard. Information on compliance with the statutory standard is not collected systematically and estimates at local authority level are not available.

Estimates based on the bedroom standard are available—but generally not at local authority level. However, some local authority estimates were made for 2002 and may be referenced in the following report:

This can be accessed at:

Then scroll down and click on:

Results at a sub-regional level are not available for any other period.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the Government have made of the number of first-time buyers completing a house purchase in each year since 1997. [47343]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given earlier today.
 
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many households will benefit from (a) Social Homebuy and (b) New Build Homebuy in each year of the proposed schemes, in (i) England and (ii) each government office region. [47346]

Yvette Cooper: Information on the number of households who will benefit from the Social and New Build HomeBuy schemes from April 2006 is not yet available.

Numbers will depend on the participation of social landlords and the successful bids funded through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme in 2006–08 products. The bids are currently being evaluated and decisions will be announced early this year.

Four registered social landlords are currently piloting Social HomeBuy ahead of the main two year pilot programme. The early pilots involve 400 potential sales at locations across the Government Office regions, except the West Midlands.

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria he applies in considering whether to approve a local authority's application to extend its mandatory licensing scheme to smaller houses in multiple occupation. [44541]

Yvette Cooper: In considering schemes made by local housing authorities in England to extend the scope of licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in their area, or part of their area, the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister must be satisfied that the local housing authority:

These criteria are provided in sections 56 and 57 of the Housing Act 2004.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what steps he is taking to enable first-time home buyers in West Lancashire to buy a home locally; [45127]

(2) what steps he is taking to provide affordable housing in West Lancashire constituency. [45137]

Yvette Cooper: West Lancashire has recently carried out a housing needs survey, and their emerging new local plan should set out policies for the provision of affordable housing. The Housing Corporation is also considering bids from registered social landlords to fund affordable housing across the north west, which will include first-time buyers.
 
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Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to make an announcement on the number of affordable homes expected to be built or procured through the National Affordable Housing Programme in Oxford in 2006–08. [44560]

Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation is currently assessing bids for affordable housing schemes planned to start in 2006–08. A decision on the overall programme, and its regional components is expected to be announced in March 2006 and announcements on individual allocations will be made subsequent to that.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what plans the Government have to introduce a national register of social housing; and if he will make a statement; [42916]

(2) whether the National Register of Social Housing will include properties which are (a) in shared ownership and (b) have been sold under the right-to-buy and are no longer owned by the public sector; [42955]

(3) if he will list the types of property attribute data and field definitions that are part of the National Register of Social Housing. [43029]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has been working with the Housing Corporation, and representatives of local authorities and housing associations to establish a national record of each unit of social housing in England; the National Register of Social Housing (NROSH).

The working principle is that data will be uploaded direct from the landlord's administrative systems and that updating will be automated. The register will eventually, possibly by April 2007, replace a substantial amount of the form filling currently required by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Housing Corporation, and will thus reduce the burden of data provision on local authorities and housing associations. It will provide data which is more accurate and timely and which is very flexible in terms of the geographical areas which can be analysed.

Piloting which has been carried out in partnership with over 40 local authorities and housing associations during 2005 is drawing to a close and national roll out of the data collection software began in December 2005.

The register will include properties in shared ownership with social landlords. Once a property has been recorded in the register a record of it will be retained after it is sold into the private sector whether through right to buy or otherwise.

The register contains a range of fields the full descriptions of which can be found on the ODPM website along with other background information at: www.odpm.gov.uk/nationalregisterofsocialhousing. The fields cover the following types of information:


 
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Mr. Truswell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many council houses in (a) England and (b) Leeds (i) have been brought up to decent homes standards and (ii) remain to be brought up to such standards. [46002]

Yvette Cooper: The information is as follows.

(a) The number of local authority owned non-decent homes in England has decreased from 1,869,000 in 1996 to 972,000 in 2003 (source: English House Condition Survey).

(b) Leeds has reported that their number of local authority non-decent homes has decreased from 33,728 in 2002 to 31,185 in 2005 (source: Business Plan Annual Monitoring returns).


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