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Yvette Cooper: The number of properties available for sale at any one time will depend on a range of factors, principally interest rates and the strength of the economy. Home Information Packs are not expected to have a significant impact in their own right, but we are in discussion with the industry as to how to ensure a smooth transition when they come into effect in June 2007.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how long the information contained in homebuyers information packs will remain valid before a new survey is required; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The home condition report in the home information pack should be not more than three months old when the home is first put on the market. There will be no requirement to update a report while the home is on the market. In the normal course, the condition of a property is unlikely to change rapidly unless there is an intervening event, such as fire or flood. Sellers and buyers may commission an updated report where they consider this necessary, and the industry is developing cost-effective solutions to facilitate this.
Mr. Maples: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 of the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 relating to home inspections. 
The Local Government Finance Act does not provide powers for Valuation Office Agency (VOA) staff or any other persons to enter properties forcibly for the purposes of compiling or maintaining the council tax valuation list. Inspectors from the VOA will only ask to undertake internal inspections of properties where information cannot be gathered by an external inspection or through other sources and will
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make every effort to arrange appointments with occupiers in advance and confirm these by letter. If a request to enter a property is declined, the VOA will normally make a best judgement about the correct band for the property. There will, of course, be a right of appeal against any banding that is made. These procedures do not breach the Human Rights Act 1998 and in particular Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the interest rate to be charged by mortgage lenders to participants in the Open Market HomeBuy scheme; and whether this will be a different rate from the prevailing market rate. 
Yvette Cooper: Discussions are continuing with lenders on the details of the core proposition for the private financing of Open Market HomeBuy equity loans which was announced on 5 December. Lenders are likely to charge a small premium on the interest rate of the standard mortgage, but the aim of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is to ensure that the products are comparable with current shared equity schemes and affordable for our client groups.
Justine Greening: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what grant funding for homelessness was provided to each London borough in 200405; how much is being provided in 200506; how much is projected for 200607; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 9 February 2006]: Homelessness grants from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister supplement other sources of Government funding that help to tackle homelessness, including housing capital investment, Supporting People and Revenue Support Grant.
The table provides details of homelessness grant allocations made by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 200405 and 200506 to each local authority in London. Indicative allocations for 200607 are also included this table.
Funding provided by the Directorate has supported action to successfully reduce rough sleeping by more than 70 per cent. since 1998, end the use of B and B hotels as long-term accommodation for families with children, and develop homelessness strategies and preventative approaches which have resulted in the first sustained fall in new cases of homelessness for nearly a decade.
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|Local authority||Allocation 200607||Allocation 200405||Indicative allocation 200506|
|London region||Revenue||Capital||Revenue||Capital||Revenue||Capital (indicative)|
|Barking and Dagenham||28,000.00||||28,000||||60,000||50,000|||
|City of London||515,000.00||||265,000||650,000||265,000|||||
|Hammersmith and Fulham||1,500,000||470,000||1,400,000||385,000||1,450,000||||742,000|
|Kensington and Chelsea||943,000.00||||875,000||250,00||875,000||||300,000|
|Kingston upon Thames||90,000.00||||90,000||||90,000||50,000|||
Yvette Cooper: The following table presents information reported by each local authority in East Midlands for the past four quarters on the number of households under homelessness legislation which were accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and consequently owed a main homelessness duty.
The duty owed by the local authority is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. As an alternative to the provision of temporary accommodation some authorities arrange for households to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.
|October to December 2004||January to March 2005||April to|
|July to September 2005|
|Hinckley and Bosworth||31||34||45||(9)|
|Newark and Sherwood||47||78||77||37|
|North East Derbyshire||10||31||34||21|
|North West Leicestershire||52||48||30||80|
|Oadby and Wigston||17||24||6||12|
Officials in the Homelessness and Housing Support Directorate in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have an on-going programme of work with local authorities to discuss good practice in the delivery of homelessness services. In the past 12 months this has included visits, meetings, regional seminars and telephone conversations. As part of this work meetings were held in the autumn with approximately 150 local
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authorities to specifically discuss their action plans to reduce the number of households living in temporary accommodation.
Richard Burden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria he is using for the allocation of the £88 million funding announced by the Minister for Housing in December 2005 for local authorities to reduce or prevent homelessness. 
Yvette Cooper: The £88 million funding announced on 13 December 2005 has been allocated to local authorities over two years (200607 and 200708) to assist them in delivering their homelessness service and reflects the Government's continued commitment to tackle and prevent homelessness. As part of the allocation process every local authority was asked to complete a short survey about their homelessness service. In allocating the funding the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister took account of local homelessness pressures and evidence from the survey returns of local commitment to prevent homelessness and reduce the use of temporary accommodation in line with our homelessness strategy Sustainable Communities: settled homes; changing lives". A summary of the survey returns is included in Survey of English Local Authorities About Homelessness. Policy Briefing 13" which is available on the ODPM website.
Homelessness grants from ODPM are intended to supplement main sources of expenditure on homelessness (for example, local authority general fund expenditure and housing investment) to fund innovative services that tackle and prevent homelessness more effectively.
Anne Main: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) homeless people and (b) people in temporary accommodation there are in (i) St. Albans and (ii)Hertfordshire; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: Information about English local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly and is in respect of households rather than people. The number of households accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need during 200405 and April to September 200506, and the number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by local authorities under homelessness legislation as at 31 March and 30 September 2005, is tabled as follows for St. Albans and Hertfordshire.
After being accepted as homeless, a household will be placed in some form of accommodation. They may be placed in temporary accommodation, until a settled solution becomes available, or they may be given a settled solution straight away depending on the accommodation available to the local authority. As an alternative to temporary accommodation an authority may arrange for a household to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.
Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep rough, that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night. The table below also shows the number of persons sleeping rough on a single night of each year.
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|Households accepted(10) as homeless|
|April to September 200506||76||752|
|Households in temporary accommodation2 as at:|
|31 March 2005||105||1,518|
|30 September 2005||92||1,465|
|Rough sleepers3 (number of persons)|
Mr. Khan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to publish (a) the external evaluation of the range of approaches which have been developed with homelessness grants since 2002 and (b) the good practice guidance based on this study. 
Yvette Cooper: It is planned to publish the good practice guidance on homelessness prevention and a summary of the research in March 2006. It is also planned to publish the full research report on the evaluation of homelessness prevention initiatives in the summer of 2006. When available copies of the guidance and research will be available free of charge from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at: www.odpm.gov.uk/homelessness.
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