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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average cost to her Department was of replying to a letter written (a) by an hon. Member and (b) by a member of the public in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (i) officials' time, (ii) cost of stationery and (iii) postage costs. 
Angela E. Smith: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 76-78WS.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library copies of the responses to his Departments consultation on Houses in Multiple Occupation and Selective Licensing Draft Regulations. 
I have made arrangements for copies of the responses received to the consultation exercise on the draft regulations relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and Selective Licensing to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) local authorities will be funded under the new burdens procedure for the implementation of articles 7 to 10 to
EU directive 2002/91/EC and (b) the polluter pays principle will apply in relation to the implementation of these articles. 
Angela E. Smith: The EU energy performance of buildings directive will impact on a number of areas of local authority responsibility as it will on other property owners. The new burdens requirement does not apply to policies which apply the same rules to local authorities and to private sector bodies, unless these have a disproportionate effect on local government. My officials are engaging with key stakeholders including local authorities on how the directive will be implemented.
A statutory instrument and supporting regulatory impact assessment is scheduled for early 2007 and a decision on whether the new burdens procedure and funding applies will be taken at that point. Consistent with polluter pays principles this regulatory impact assessment will also include the social cost of carbon when assessing the costs and benefits of implementing articles 7 to 10 of the directive.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many deliberate (a) vehicle fires and (b) fires there were in (i) Southend-on-Sea, (ii) Essex, (iii) Hertfordshire and (iv) England and Wales in each year since 1990. 
|Deliberate road vehicle primary fires attended by fire and rescue services 1990-91 to 2004-05|
|Essex||Hertfordshire||England and Wales|
|Deliberate primary fires in other locations attended by fire and rescue services 1990-91 to 2004-05|
|Essex||Hertfordshire||England and Wales|
1. Figures are based on the sampled data grossed to fires and rescue service totals.
2. Figures exclude any fires in November 2002 and January-February 2003 strike periods.
Fire and Rescue Service returns to DCLG
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to what criteria the energy performance certificate within home information packs will have to conform to meet the EU directive on the energy performance of buildings; what standard measurement scale will be used; whether different measurements will be required where there are different types of construction within the same building; and whether the energy performance certificate will be required to include information on (a) roof insulation, (b) cavity wall insulation, (c) hot water tank insulation and (d) improvements that could be made. 
Yvette Cooper: The regulations laid before Parliament on 14 June 2006 and made under part 5 of the Housing Act 2004 require that the Energy Performance Certificate within the Home Condition Report complies with the legislation implementing the EU energy performance of buildings directive.
The methodology used to prepare reports will be the reduced data standard assessment procedure (RDSAP) for residential property up to 450 sq m. For larger or more unusual homes, the methodology used will be the simplified building energy method (SBEM).
Home inspectors will collect a standard data set that identifies size, construction, levels of existing insulation, heating and heating controls. It will provide both energy and environmental impact ratings on an A-G grade. It will also give an indication of energy costs, suggestions for measures to cut energy bills and improve the homes performance ratings, and for other measures to reduce CO2 emissions.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the likely annual cost to vendors of home information packs; and what estimate she has made of the total annual value to purchasers of the packs. 
The regulatory impact assessment published on 14 June 2006 alongside the home
information pack regulations sets out the expected costs and benefits of home information packs. A copy of this document is in the House Library.
Estimates of the cost of the components of HIPs in the current market suggest an average cost of around £600 to £700 plus VAT to compile. Most of this cost is not new and is being met at present by both sellers and buyers. Some providers have already said they would offer HIPs at reduced cost or even free.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the annual number of derogations the Government will grant as a result of information for home information packs not being available at the time of sale. 
Yvette Cooper: The legislation does not provide for the Government to make derogations. The home information pack regulations laid on 14 June 2006 allow for cases where despite all reasonable efforts, certain documents are unavailable or cannot be obtained. In such cases, marketing may begin without those documents. Where documents are temporarily unavailable, efforts to obtain the missing information must continue, with documents added to the pack as soon as they are available. The pack must also make clear what information is missing, why, and what steps are being taken to obtain it.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the likely impact of home condition reports contained in home information packs on the market value of low value properties. 
Yvette Cooper: It is important that sellers and buyers should have reliable information about the condition of properties they are considering up front, particularly as this reduces significantly the risk of transaction failure, wasted costs, duplication and unexpected repair costs once the buyer has moved in. The Home Condition Report will bring transparency to the process and ensure that negotiations regarding sale price reflect the condition of the property.
The Government commissioned research in 2000 and 2003 on the potential implications of home information packs (HIPs) for low value and low demand properties. They also consulted in March 2003 on whether there should be special arrangements in such cases. The findings of the research and consultation showed that buyers, sellers and local property professionals felt that HIPs could help the functioning of the market in those areas, and that exempting particular properties or areas of properties could reduce demand and therefore prices even further.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) physical and (b) verbal assaults there have been on local authority employees in each of the last five years, broken down by (i) employment type and (ii) region. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the letter sent by listing officers to local authority chief executives to which reference was made in ODPM council tax letter 1/2005. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 20 January 2006, Official Report, column 1699W, on council tax, when he placed in the Library a copy of the draft letter from the Valuation Office Agency to local authorities on sharing information. 
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