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18 Apr 2006 : Column 103W—continued

Home Information Packs

Mr. Betts: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether it is his policy that lenders shall have full electronic access to the Home Condition Report when home information packs are introduced. [52462]

Yvette Cooper: The Government wants lenders to make use of the Home Condition Report to perform valuations. Reducing the need for separate physical inspections of homes will benefit consumers by speeding up and reducing the costs of lending. To facilitate this, we intend that lenders will have electronic access to full individual reports stored in the Home Condition Report register.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans the Government have for a regional pilot prior to the nationwide introduction of home information packs. [56187]

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Yvette Cooper: The dry-run of home information packs will provide assurance to the industry that the new process will operate effectively from June 2007. The dry-run has already begun; ODPM are working with 46 organisations in England and Wales who are offering or planning to offer the packs to consumers on a voluntary basis. These organisations are feeding back their experiences on the ground to ODPM and have reported that more than 2,500 voluntary home information packs have already been commissioned by consumers.

More dry-run activities are currently being developed. There are proposals by industry organisations for activities in particular geographical areas, which will also feed into the dry-run. Over 125 organisations have expressed an interest in becoming involved in the dry-run, which will ultimately include all those who are involved in the process of delivering home information packs, such as surveyors, solicitors, estate agents, HIP providers and search companies.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the timetable is for the introduction of home information packs. [56189]

Yvette Cooper: A detailed timeline showing key events and milestones for the Home Information Pack Programme leading up to their mandatory introduction on 1 June 2007 was published on 16 March and can be seen on the ODPM's website at:

The key milestones include:
April 2006: Launch of stakeholder publicity campaign and details of the phased dry-run" published.
June 2006Home Information Pack Regulations made.
June 2006Phase one of the dry-run, focusing on ensuring that the components of the Home Information Pack can be brought together quickly and used successfully.
September 2006First Certification Schemes approved and Home Condition Report Register and Portal contract agreed.
March 2007Final assurance checks completed.
April 2007Launch of main publicity campaign directed at consumers.
June 2007Home Information Packs Go Live" on 1 June 2007

Homebuy Schemes

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many households he expects to participate in (a) Social Homebuy, (b) Open Market Homebuy and (c) New Build Homebuy in each year of the proposed scheme's operations. [60127]

Yvette Cooper: The Homebuy scheme, which will commence on 1 April, will help over 100,000 households into home ownership by 2010.

As announced by right hon. Friends, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Deputy Prime Minister, on 22 March we expect to deliver 35,000 new low cost home ownership homes with increased investment of £970 million through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme in 2006–08. These homes will be provided through our New Build and
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Open Market Homebuy options. Allocations to registered social landlords who have bid to run the Social Homebuy scheme will be issued shortly.

As explained in my earlier response to the hon. Member, 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 917W, the final numbers to be helped through Social Homebuy will depend on take up by tenants and landlords.


Ms Keeble: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research his Department has assessed since 2001 on how homelessness prevention funds have been spent. [53720]

Yvette Cooper: In addition to performance monitoring reports from local authorities submitted in relation to their homelessness grants, three studies have been particularly significant in helping to assess the impact of homelessness grants in preventing homelessness and leading to a sustained reduction in new cases of homelessness since the end of 2003.

In February 2005, the National Audit Office published a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (HC286 Session 2004–05), More than a roof: Progress in tackling homelessness", following an examination of the work of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Homelessness and Housing Support Directorate. The examination considered the directorate's impact in achieving the Government's targets to reduce rough sleeping and end the use of bed and breakfast hotels as long-term accommodation for families with children, and in developing new approaches to tackling homelessness. It found that the directorate's target setting, combined with directed financial support and advice, had helped to bring about significant achievements.

In December 2005 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published the results of a survey of local authorities about homelessness. This included information about the wide range of prevention schemes that local authorities are using currently and their plans for future prevention activities. The survey report included estimates of the impact of homelessness prevention in reducing the use of temporary accommodation by preventing crises and helping households to settle and of the efficiency savings that they plan to make. The ODPM has also commissioned Heriot-Watt University to evaluate a range of homelessness prevention initiatives in case study local authorities and to produce good practice guidance for local authorities about the effectiveness of homelessness prevention. This project has now reported and the research and guidance will be published within the next three months.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many homeless households in (a) Peterborough and (b) Cambridgeshire were (i)living in temporary accommodation and (ii) sleeping rough in each of the past five years; and how many beds were available for homeless households in each area in each year. [54894]

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Yvette Cooper: Information about the number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by Peterborough and by all local authorities in Cambridgeshire under homelessness legislation as at 31 March, and the number of persons sleeping rough in these areas, in each of the past five years is tabled as follows.

Each local authority in England has a duty to provide accommodation to households who have been accepted as homeless and are owed a main housing duty under homelessness legislation. If the authority cannot provide a settled solution straight away the household will be placed in temporary accommodation. For this reason, authorities will not have a set number of beds for homeless households.
Households in temporary accommodation(7) arranged by local authorities under homelessness legislation, and number of persons sleeping rough(8)

Households in TA as at 31 MarchRough sleepers
All LAs in Cambridgeshire54016
All LAs in Cambridgeshire56019
All LAs in Cambridgeshire74018
All LAs in Cambridgeshire6307
All LAs in Cambridgeshire61011

(7) Households in accommodation either pending a decision on their homelessness application or awaiting allocation of a settled home following acceptance. Excludes those households designated as homeless at home" that have remained in their existing accommodation and have the same rights to suitable alternative housing as those in accommodation arranged by the authority.
(8) Number of persons sleeping rough, based on local authority mid-year counts or estimates.
(9) Denotes data not reported.
Temporary accommodation figures for Cambridgeshire, which include estimates for partial and non-response, have been rounded to the nearest 10.
ODPM P1E homelessness returns (quarterly) and HSSA returns (annual).

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