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9 Oct 2006 : Column 378W—continued


Former Council Properties

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 6 July 2006, Official Report, column 1313W, on former council properties, if she will collect the information requested on properties formerly owned by local authorities. [87669]

Yvette Cooper: There are no plans to collect information centrally about the numbers of properties that were once owned by local authorities and are now privately let. Individual local authorities may keep details of the addresses of properties they once owned, but they will not know which of these properties are now privately rented.

Freedom of Information

John Hemming: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the local authorities which have applied under the Freedom of Information Act for information from his Department in 2006; and what information they have applied for. [52726]

Angela E. Smith [holding answer 27 February 2006]: I have been asked to reply.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Communities and Local Government (including the Government offices for the regions) have received the following requests for information from local authorities in 2006. All requests, including those by organisations, are made by named individuals. We are unable to determine whether the request has been made by an individual or on behalf of the local authority as a whole.


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Date Authority Information requested

3 January 2006

Greater London Authority

Advice given to the First Secretary of State by the Government Office for London in connection with a planning appeal for a statue of Nelson Mandela in Trafalgar Square

13 January

Hampshire County Council

Information about Local Transport Plans assessment framework

30 January

Cornwall County Council

Audit information on Objective 1 funding spent on Trevoan Farm, St. Mawes

1 February

Oxfordshire County Council

Copy of all objections received that have not already been seen by Oxfordshire County Council for a proposed stopping up order at Manor Farm House, Little Rollright, Oxon, 0X7 5QA

6 February

Winchester City Council

Tax paid on the Deputy Prime Minister’s Admiralty Arch flat

22 February

Rotherham Borough Council

Policy on temporary speed limits on motorways

8 March

Dover District Council

Amount provided as part of rate support grant to Dover DC for: (a) setting up systems and training 2003-04 and 2004-05 in both monetary terms and as percentage of annual rate support grant; and (b) in 2004-05 as set up in fees in respect of the Gambling Act 2005

4 April

City of York Council

Arrangements to reimburse LAs for the costs of FOI inquiries

6 April

Lancashire County Council

Breakdown of the regional prioritisation scores for Ormskirk Bypass and Thornton to Swith Island Link, also wants to know how scores determined, and the consultation process

11 April

Seaford Town Council

Advice given to Minister with regard to the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Waste Local Plan

28 April

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Report of an independent structural engineer on A6 Bypass SEMMMs road

31 May

Tonbridge and Mailing Borough Council

When letters dated 27 April 2006 and 22 May 2006 were received regarding Article 4 Directions on land at the rear of Mackenders Lane, Eccles

2 June

North Dorset District Council

All decisions issued in respect of Article 5 Appeals (Tree Preservation) issued from January 2005 to the present

20 June

South Hams District Council

(1) Confirmation that decision is based on combined impact of all planning applications referred to in letter

(2) What extent of info GOSW have been given by South Hams and objectors

(3) Copies of all reps GOSW received from objectors and their solicitors

12 July

Corby Borough Council

Information on Councils who have appealed against their 2005-06 LABGI grants


Geographic Information Panel

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) role is of and (b) recent activity was of the Geographic Information Panel; and if she will make a statement. [90049]

Angela E. Smith: The Geographic Information Panel was established in April 2005. Its role is to focus on medium to long-term issues, encourage more effective, extensive and systematic use of geographic information and submit regular short reports to Ministers.

Full details about the terms of reference and membership of the panel, together with information about the current activities of the panel, can be found on the website at http://www.gipanel.org.uk

The main focus of the panel at present is to develop a geographic information strategy for the United Kingdom.

Hampton Review

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what input (a) her Department and (b) its (i) agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies had into the Hampton review and its report “Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement”. [89522]

Angela E. Smith: I refer to the answer that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury gave on 9 October.

Home Condition Reports

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what Government Departments will have access to the Home Condition Report Register; and to what extent it is her policy to make it available for inspection under (a) the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and (b) the Data Protection Act 1998. [85041]

Yvette Cooper: The only people who will have access to any registers of home condition reports will be buyers and sellers, their advisers and mortgage lenders and those monitoring the performance and quality of the reports. Any secondary legislation will be framed accordingly. There will be no access for other Government Departments, although it is intended that the Department for Communities and Local Government will have access solely for the purpose of monitoring and auditing the work of certification schemes, and that of the register operator.

Information held on a register will be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that the Housing Act 2004 prohibits disclosure from the register except in accordance with
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the regulations. A home condition report properly compiled will not contain personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act. There are no proposals to make the register available for inspection under either the Freedom of Information Act or the Data Protection Act.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2006, Official Report, on the Register of Home Condition Reports, if she will place in the Library a copy of the documentation, including the technical requirements, that has been prepared for those expressing an interest in providing the register. [78246]

Yvette Cooper: The Home Condition Report Register procurement is being carried out as a negotiated procedure under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, and it is expected that the contents of the documentation will change through the period of negotiation. Once negotiations and procurement have been completed I will arrange to place the final versions of the documentation in the Library.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) other central Government Departments, (b) the Office for National Statistics and (c) her Department will have access to data in the Register of Home Condition Reports for purposes other than those related to the management and maintenance of the register. [83047]

Yvette Cooper: Access to the Register of Home Condition Reports will be confined to buyers and sellers, their advisers and mortgage lenders and those monitoring the performance and quality of the reports. The secondary legislation will be framed accordingly.

There are no plans to allow access to other Government Departments or the Office for National Statistics. We expect the Department to have access for the purposes of monitoring and auditing the work of certification schemes, and that of the register operator.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the charge will be for lodging a home condition report (HCR) in the Register of HCRs. [83061]

Yvette Cooper: The cost of lodgement charged to certification schemes is part of ongoing discussions with Landmark Solutions (the preferred Home Condition Report Register operator). Additional charges by the certification schemes to cover administrative quality assurance costs are also under discussion.

Exact costs per lodgement with the Home Condition Report Register operator will be set out in a statutory instrument in February 2007.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Register of Home Condition Reports will have the capacity to store electronic images. [83064]


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Yvette Cooper: This is not in the current specification for the HCR Register, but the hardware infrastructure can be upgraded to accommodate increased capacity to store images if required.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what maximum length of time a home condition report (a) is permitted to be and (b) will be stored in the Register of Home Condition Reports, assuming there is no new marketing of the property. [83073]

Yvette Cooper: There will be no maximum period for which an HCR is considered valid. Home condition reports will be stored in the Home Condition Report Register for 15 years from the date of lodgement.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which body will audit the Register of Home Condition Reports. [83103]

Yvette Cooper: The Department for Communities and Local Government will be responsible for the auditing arrangements for the Register of Home Condition Reports.

Home Energy Efficiency

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many houses in each local authority area have cavity wall insulation. [89341]

Angela E. Smith: My Department does not collect information for each local authority on these details. The 2004 English House Condition Survey provides the following figures for England: there were 15,042 dwellings (70 per cent. of all dwellings) of cavity wall construction, of which 5,835 (39 per cent. of all dwellings with cavity walls) were insulated.

Home Information Packs

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who will (a) accredit the home information pack trial and (b) assess the outcome. [63790]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

These trials will be independently verified. A further announcement will be made shortly once the research contractor has been selected.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who will bear the costs to (a) home owners, (b) estate agents and (c) the controller of the trials of running the home information pack trials. [63791]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

Participation in the area trials is voluntary. The Department is in discussion with industry regarding the appropriate support for the trials, although we intend this support to be focused on encouraging consumers to take-up home information packs (HIPs)
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and to be designed to help us see the effects of HIPs on chains of transactions. These trials will be independently verified. A further announcement will be made shortly on the selected contractor who will conduct the independent research.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which towns and cities will be used for the home information pack trials; and where the control town or city will be. [63792]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

Trials will take place in Bath, Cambridge, Southampton, Northampton, Newcastle and Huddersfield. The results in these areas will be compared with those in the baseline research conducted during the summer.

Michael Gove: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who will own a title to a home information pack once it is undertaken. [64949]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

In most cases the seller will own title to the home information pack once it has been undertaken, although this will depend on the terms of the contract under which the pack has been prepared.

Michael Gove: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps have been taken to ensure independent monitoring of the dry runs of home information packs to guarantee that any assessment of their success is made by those with no financial interest in the production of packs. [65072]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

These trials will be independently verified. A further announcement will be made shortly on the research contractor selected to monitor the trials.

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether homeowners in shared equity schemes will be required to obtain separate home information packs for their share of a property when it is sold. [81727]

Yvette Cooper: A person selling a shared equity or shared ownership property on the open market will need to provide a home information pack, including an energy performance certificate. In most shared equity schemes the purchaser owns 100 per cent. of the property. The equity loan is covered by a charge on the property which is repaid to the registered social landlord when the property is sold. Sellers of such properties are usually responsible for the legal fees and other associated selling costs now and that will continue to be the case when home information packs are introduced on 1 June 2007.

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to exempt (a) key worker housing, (b) other shared equity housing and (c) low-cost housing from the requirement to obtain a home information pack when a property is sold. [81728]


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