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20 Mar 2006 : Column 56W—continued

Electoral Cycles

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Department has had discussions on changing the electoral cycles of the metropolitan districts in England. [58003]

Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is planning to publish a White Paper on the future of local government in the summer.

Empty Properties

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with (a) Ministerial colleagues and (b) others on empty publicly-owned residential properties. [57664]

Yvette Cooper: As announced in the Government's response to the Barker review of housing supply, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and HM Treasury have established a joint Taskforce to release more surplus public-sector land for housing development.

The intention is that the Taskforce, working with English Partnerships, will provide a comprehensive picture of surplus public sector landholdings, including sites that incorporate unoccupied residential properties.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Todd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what financial support his Department has made available to councils to improve energy efficiency within their properties. [56606]

Yvette Cooper: In 2004–05 local authorities reported in their BPSA returns that they spent £424 million on heating and insulation (either thermal or sound). The majority of this expenditure will come from funding provided by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
 
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Other work being carried out by local authorities, such as installing double glazed windows, will also improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

Government Office for London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the running costs of the Government office for London were in each of the past four years. [59657]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Government office for London (GOL) running cost (admin) expenditure is as follows:
£ million
2002–0314.1
2003–0416.7
2004–0518.9
2005–06(22)18.4


(22) The expenditure figure for 2005–06 reflects the anticipated end-year out-turn.


Mr. Evennett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff were employed in the Government office for London in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2004–05. [59658]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government office for London staffing figures 1 from 2000 onwards are as follows:


As at April:Number
2000370
2001240
2002260
2003288
2004325
2005308

Graffiti/Fly-posting

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what financial contributions the local authority in Swindon has sought under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to tackle graffiti and fly-posting. [54657]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not monitor agreements reached under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

High Hedges Act

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many remedial notices have been issued under the High Hedges Act 2001 since it came into force; and if he will make a statement. [59012]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The relevant provisions, in Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, came into force in England on 1 June 2005.
 
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Home Information Packs

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether (a) home information packs and (b) home condition reports will be required for new-build residential properties on the market for the first time. [59124]

Yvette Cooper: New-build residential properties will require a Home Information Pack, giving potential buyers the key information they need up-front to make an informed decision about the purchase. However, regulations will specify that where a new home has an appropriate warranty which is uncommenced, a Home Condition Report will not be required in the Pack. ODPM intends to set out in the regulations the standard of warranty which will provide this exemption.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the number of home information packs which will be produced in each year once the scheme is fully operational. [49780]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to answer given to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 7 March 2006, Official Report, column 1359W.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether home information packs will be required to contain information on whether the property is in an area of high flood risk. [56695]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has indicated the intention to include information about flood risk in the Home Information Pack, subject to the availability of a satisfactory search that provides robust, risk-based, and user friendly information that is property specific and avoids giving rise to unnecessary concerns and blight. The Environment Agency has produced a search that they believe meets these criteria and this is now being considered in consultation with colleagues in Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), key industry stakeholders and consumer representatives. The content of the home information pack will be set out in regulations to be made later this year.

Homelessness

Richard Burden: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the Answer of 16 February 2006, Official Report, column 2226W, on homelessness, if he will list the local authorities which will receive this support. [54844]

Yvette Cooper: All 354 borough and district councils in England will receive support from the £88 million in Homelessness Grants over 2006–07 and 2007–08. A table which lists the amounts that each local authority will receive has been made available in the Library of the House.

House Building (Staffordshire)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new homes he expects to be built in Staffordshire in (a) 2006–07 and (b) each of the following three years. [53430]


 
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Yvette Cooper: The regional spatial strategy for the west midlands sets out the levels and distribution of housing development for the region covering the period 2001–2021. Policy CF3 (and Table 1) set out annual rates of housing provision for strategic authorities in the west midlands. For Staffordshire the policy seeks to achieve annual average rates (which are to be applied as maxima) of 2,900 dwellings for 2006–07 and 2,500 for each of the following three years.

Households (Statistics)

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 16 February 2006, Official Report, column 2228W, what the average population is of each tier. [56129]

Yvette Cooper: The average population in each tier in England is as follows:


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