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16 Feb 2006 : Column 2227W—continued

Homes for Islington

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much funding has been made available to Homes for Islington by his Department; what proportion of it is a loan; what the interest rate is on the loan; and what the repayment terms are. [44465]

Yvette Cooper: The London borough of Islington has been allocated funding totalling £24.9 million by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) for its Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), Homes for Islington", for the financial years 2004–05 and 2005–06. Allocations for 2006–07 and 2007–08 will be made shortly. The borough also received a mainstream housing capital allowance from ODPM of £10.888 million in 2004–05 and £11.317 million in 2005–06.

ODPM's financial support for local authorities for capital investment takes the form of supported borrowing approvals. These give permission for a local authority to borrow money to fund capital expenditure on its stock. Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Subsidy
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is paid to local authorities by ODPM to cover the interest payments that a local authority must make on this borrowing. The terms of the loans taken out by local authorities such as Islington are a matter for the individual local authorities.

Households (Statistics)

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average number of households is in (a) district council area, (b) county council area, (c) English unitary council area, (d) metropolitan council area and (e) London borough area. [49818]

Yvette Cooper: The average number of households in England are as follows:
(a) District council
Households accepted(13) as homeless
All local authorities excluding unitary local authorities, metropolitan councils and London boroughs41,000
(b) County council
All county councils excluding metropolitan councils288,000
(c) Unitary authorities
All unitary local authorities in England excluding London boroughs and metropolitan councils76,000
(d) Metropolitan council
All metropolitan council areas127,000
(e) London borough
All London boroughs including City of London98,000

2003 ODPM Mid-year Household estimates (


Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many council houses in each London borough have been brought up to the Decent Homes Standard; how many remain to be brought up to the Decent Homes Standard; and if he will make a statement. [47407]

Yvette Cooper: The following table shows the reported number of local authority owned non-decent dwellings every year for each London borough since 2001.
Local authority20012002200320042005
Barking and Dagenham(13)13,25412,61311,0919,618
City of London(14)1,3291,0931,015959
Hammersmith and Fulham5,3834,7734,1893,5485,089
Kensington and Chelsea4,4624,1504,2033,0362,496
Kingston upon Thames(13)(13)(13)1,4231,318
Tower Hamlets22,79120,66018,62818,21814,984
Waltham Forest(13)10,31110,0399,2267,966

LSVT = Large Scale Voluntary Transfer
(13) No data submitted by London borough.
(14) No data.
Business Plan Statistical Appendices.

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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate the Government have made of the number of new domestic dwellings to be planned for construction in each of the next 20 years. [47877]

Yvette Cooper: The Government responded to Kate Barker's review of Housing Supply on 5 December, outlining their 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.

The numbers set out in the response represent Government's ambition nationally. The actual housing numbers planned for delivery are determined at a regional and local level through statutory planning processes.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with Tameside and Stockport councils to ensure that the efforts to stabilise the housing market in East Manchester do not displace problems to adjacent areas in Tameside and Stockport. [51136]

Yvette Cooper: The future investment plans of Manchester Salford Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder are currently being evaluated by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to ensure that they continue to make the maximum positive impact for the significant investment we are making in the area. These will be tested against a set of criteria including strategic fit, evidence of need and opportunity and value for money but also ensure that impact on adjacent areas is properly addressed. The plans represent the culmination of many months of work by the board of Manchester Salford Partnership—Tameside have a place as observers on this board.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities in partnership with the North West Regional Housing board have recently commissioned work to extend Manchester Salford Housing Market Renewal's Research, Foresight and Intelligence project. This will look at changes in the Greater Manchester housing market areas outside of the existing Housing Market
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Renewal Programme and advise on how best the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister can intervene to complement HMR investment and to ensure that housing continues to play a strong role in supporting sub-regional economic growth whilst protecting existing green belt provision.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the density rate target is for new housing projects in Shropshire. [51380]

Yvette Cooper: National policy set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing" (March 2000) is for local planning authorities to avoid developments which will make inefficient use of land (those less than 30 dwellings per hectare net) and to encourage housing developments which makes more efficient use of land (those between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare net). Local planning authorities may also have regard to local housing density policies in their adopted development plans and emerging local development frameworks. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently consulting on draft Planning Policy Statement 3: Planning for Housing" which proposes a new approach for local planning authorities to establish density policies in their areas, but with the presumption remaining that in developing density policies, the minimum density should be no less than 30 dwellings per hectare.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of new homes in Shropshire he expects will be built on brownfield sites. [51381]

Yvette Cooper: Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing" which the Government issued in March 2000 sets a target for 60 per cent. of additional housing to be provided nationally on previously developed land and through conversions of existing buildings by 2008. The regional spatial strategy for the West Midlands sets a target for Shropshire of 59 per cent. of all development to be provided on previously developed land and for this target to be reflected in new local development frameworks. Local planning authorities in Shropshire should determine housing applications having regard to this guidance, other relevant policies in their local development plans and any other material considerations.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new homes he expects to be built in Suffolk in (a) 2006–07 and (b) each of the next three years. [50693]

Yvette Cooper: The Suffolk County Structure Plan (adopted 2001) sets out the annual requirement for new homes to be built in the county. The average annual requirement is 2,650 until 2016. These requirements will, in due course, be superseded by those contained in the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the East of England once it is adopted. The average annual requirement currently in the draft RSS is 2,930 new homes.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of West Lancashire council housing stock has been sold under the right-to-buy scheme in each year since 1980. [45132]

Yvette Cooper: The proportion of housing stock owned by West Lancashire council, sold through the Right to Buy (RTB) scheme in each financial year since
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1980–81, as reported by West Lancashire is tabulated as follows. The table shows the number of Right to Buy sales in each financial year as a percentage of the stock at the beginning of that period.
West Lancashire; right to buy sales

Financial yearProportion of local authority stock sold through RTB

PIAB returns from local authority to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what total receipts were generated from Right to Buy sales in West Lancashire in each year since 1980. [45134]

Yvette Cooper: The value of the capital receipts generated from Right to Buy sales in West Lancashire in each financial year since 1994–95, as reported by West Lancashire is tabled as follows. Figures shown are net of discounts. Information on capital receipts prior to 1994–95 is not available.
West Lancashire

Financial yearCapital receipts

PIAB returns from local authority to ODPM

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many applicants there are on the West Lancashire housing waiting list. [45136]

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Yvette Cooper: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 17 October 2005, Official Report, column 811W, in which the number of households on the housing waiting list in each English local authority for each year from 1996–97 to 2005–06 was made available in the Library of the House.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many empty homes there have been in West Lancashire constituency in each year since 1997. [51120]

Yvette Cooper: The number of vacant dwellings in the local authority area of West Lancashire from 1997 to 2004, is tabled as follows:
Snapshot dateVacant dwellings
19971 April1,397
19981 April1,433
19991 April504
20001 April925
20011 April1,251
20021 November1,284
20033 November1,444
20041 November1,386

The figures for 1997 to 2001 are based on a combination of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) return, and the Housing Corporation's Regulatory Statistical Return (RSR). For the years 2002 to 2004 the figures are based on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Council Tax Base l (CTB1) return.

These figures are for all vacant dwellings, including dwellings that have been empty for fewer than six months, some for less than 1 month. The Government are introducing new powers from April 2006 for local authorities to reduce the number of long-term empty homes in their area.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many council houses have been sold under the right-to-buy scheme in West Lancashire in each year since 1980. [51122]

Yvette Cooper: The number of council houses sold in West Lancashire under the right-to-buy scheme in each year since 1998/99 as reported by West Lancashire can be found on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at: Excel242Kb_idl_156373.xls.

Information is only available for the years shown.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment his Department has made of the role of repairing existing housing stock in meeting demand for affordable housing. [51038]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 February 2006]: The Government recognise that better use of the existing housing stock, including repairs to existing stock and bringing empty homes back into use, can help meet demand for housing.

Investment through the Housing Corporation's approved development programme (ADP) supports not only new build but also acquisition and refurbishment of housing stock securing it for use as affordable
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housing. Around 1,700 social rented homes out of a total of over 16,000 social rented homes were provided through acquisition and refurbishment in 2004–05 through the ADP.

The Government encourage local authorities to procure empty homes from owners in return for grant or loans to cover the cost of repairs.

The Decent Homes Standard requires all social housing to be made decent by 2010 and to this end local authorities and registered social landlords (RSLs) have invested £21 billion in improving their stock since 1997.

The Housing Corporation's regulatory code makes clear that RSLs are expected to develop and manage good quality homes that seek to meet people's needs and preferences now and in the future, ensuring that: the homes their residents live in are well maintained and in a lettable condition; maintenance is carried out effectively and necessary investment in the future of their stock is made a key priority.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage change he expects in (a) council house rents and (b) management and maintenance grants in 2006–07. [49737]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects local authority rents to rise by an average of 4.7 per cent. in 2006–07. The Government does not expect any local authority to raise rents by more than 5 per cent. in 2006–07 and 2007–08, and the intention is that authorities which would otherwise lose out will have their Housing Revenue Account (HRA) adjusted in year.

Management and maintenance allowance will rise by 9.06 per cent. in 2006–07. This represents 2.46 per cent. for inflation and 6.6 per cent. for rebasing.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent research he has evaluated on the cost of maintaining council homes. [45299]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister keeps under review the need to spend on maintenance and management of the local authority stock. The most recent research was published in June 2003: Estimation of the need to spend on maintenance and management in the local authority housing stock".

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much of the income from council tenants' rents in the determination for 2006–07 he estimates will be retained by councils. [45333]

Yvette Cooper: The Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Determination does not set actual rents; these are the responsibility of the individual local authorities as part of their landlord function. The annual determination sets, among other things, each authority's guideline rent. That is the rental income per dwelling assumed in calculating an authority's Housing Revenue Account (HRA) subsidy entitlement.

Nationally, rental income does not meet the costs of the aggregate need to spend on council housing, and there is an overall net payment of HRA subsidy from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to local authorities. This situation is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future.
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Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact of the average increase in council rents resulting from his Department's final housing revenue account subsidy determinations for 2006–07 on pensioners not in receipt of housing benefit. [50547]

Yvette Cooper: No assessment is made during the annual housing revenue account subsidy determination process of the impact of average rent increases on any particular section of the community. The subsidy system is very influential in informing the decisions a council will take on rent setting, but it does not immediately impact on actual individual rents which are a matter for the authority as landlord.

Authorities retain wide discretion in the setting of rents, including a variation of plus or minus 5 per cent. on individual rents under rent restructuring. For 2006–07 we introduced a suggested additional cap of 5 per cent. on the average actual rent increase in addition to the existing cap of RPI plus ½ per cent. plus £2.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of local authority housing stock in each Government office region is (a) houses and bungalows, (b) low rise flats, (c) medium rise flats and (d) high rise flats. [51019]

Yvette Cooper: The data in the following table are derived from the audited base data returns from local authorities for stock at April 2005.

RegionHouses and bungalowsLow rise fiatsMedium rise flatsHigh rise flats
East Midlands67.9619.1310.951.96
North East73.7714.107.055.08
North West61.6522.6110.135.60
South East53.5522.8619.144.46
South West57.2523.5215.054.18
West Midlands60.5619.679.6310.14
Yorks and Humber66.7018.449.445.41
Total England54.0418.5218.698.74

Mr. Evans: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment his Department has made of the impact on (a) the environment and (b) energy efficiency of the repair and renovation of existing registered social landlord housing stock with energy saving measures. [50610]

Yvette Cooper: The 2003 English House Condition Survey (EHCS) indicates that the number of social sector homes failing to meet the decent home standard as a result of inadequate thermal comfort fell by 20 per cent. between 2001 and 2003. EHCS also indicates that, among the housing stock, that of registered social landlords has the highest average energy efficiency as assessed under the Government's Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP).
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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister recognises the environmental impact of poor housing conditions and has commissioned research to establish the extent to which social housing landlords are carrying out works in excess of the requirements of the decent home standard, with particular reference to heating and insulation. It is also undertaking a review of the measures that can be taken in existing buildings, including homes, to improve sustainability and energy and water efficiency.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether individuals evicted from social housing due to antisocial behaviour (a) are eligible to be re-housed, (b) may be classed as homeless and (c) are eligible for (i) housing benefit and (ii) council tax benefit; whether eligibility for each will apply under the Government's Respect agenda proposals; and if he will make a statement. [46966]

Yvette Cooper: Addressing the hon. Member's questions in turn:

(a) Eligibility for re-housing:

Local authorities have the power to treat as ineligible for an allocation a person who has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make him unsuitable to be a tenant of the authority. The only behaviour which would be regarded as unacceptable for these purposes is behaviour which would entitle an authority to an outright possession order on fault grounds, this could include antisocial behaviour.

Circular 07/04 on Tenancy Management: Eligibility and Eviction, issued by the Housing Corporation and to which all registered social landlords must have regard, states that ineligibility for housing on the ground of the applicant's antisocial behaviour should be based on evidence of the behaviour. The circular also states that previous tenancy enforcement action (including eviction) for antisocial behaviour should not be taken into account if it occurred two or more years prior to the date of application and the tenant's household has conducted a tenancy satisfactorily in the intervening period.

(b) Homelessness:

Where a person is evicted for antisocial behaviour he may decide to make a homelessness application to a local authority. If the authority has reason to believe that he may be homeless or threatened with homelessness it must make inquiries to enable it to determine his application.

When considering the application the authority would have to decide, among other things, whether the applicant had become homeless intentionally (that is, homeless as a result of a deliberate act or omission in consequence of which his accommodation ceases to be available to him). Where the applicant has been evicted from his previous accommodation because of antisocial behaviour this is likely to be regarded as a deliberate act which would mean that the applicant would be found to be intentionally homeless.

If the applicant has a priority need for housing (eg if he has dependent children) but has become homeless intentionally, the authority would have a duty to secure accommodation for them for long enough to give them a reasonable opportunity of finding their own accommodation. However, the authority will not owe
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the applicant a 'main homelessness duty' to continue to secure that accommodation is available for occupation by the applicant.

(c) Eligibility for benefits:

Where someone has been evicted on ASB grounds and subsequently takes up new accommodation where they are eligible for payment of council tax then any application for council tax benefit would be assessed in line with existing rules. Their previous housing record, including eviction on anti-social behaviour grounds, would not form part of this assessment.

The same principle applies to Housing benefit: liability for rent would cease on eviction, so no housing benefit would be payable. But if rent is payable at the next address, housing benefit would be freshly assessed.

Respect agenda proposals

The Respect action plan proposes no changes to code of guidance on allocations or homelessness legislation. Through the plan we have announced our intention to launch a national network of intensive family support schemes as part of a long-term cross-government strategy on problem families to improve the way public services deal with them. Family support projects will help tackle the underlying causes of ASB. For example, where appropriate, families evicted for antisocial behaviour may be referred to a support project so that anti-social behaviour can be tackled rather than displaced.

The plan commits us to considering the best way of encouraging those involved in persistent ASB to engage with family support projects. As the plan states one option would be to introduce sanctions on those people who have been evicted for antisocial behaviour and then refuse to take up offers of help. Sanctions could include financial penalties or housing benefit measures.

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