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Yvette Cooper: LACORS submitted responses to the public consultations on the draft Housing Bill on 9 June 2003 and to the draft Home Information Pack Regulations on 29 December 2005. In addition, DCLG officials have had regular meetings with LACORS on the enforcement provisions for Home Information Packs.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will reimburse people who have undertaken training for the home information packs scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 September 2006]: The Government's policy is that mandatory Home Condition Reports (HCRs) remain on the table if the industry fails to make a success of the roll-out of HCRs. We will promote the voluntary take-up of HCRs, and have allocated £4 million to support their take-up and testing of Home Information Packs. Therefore Home Inspectors will still be needed and job opportunities for Home Inspectors remain for those who have undertaken training. Moreover, the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates for private rented properties will further enhance these opportunities.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance has been issued to those who have trained to be Home Information Pack inspectors; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Information which has been made available to Home Inspectors since 18 July includes the following: (i) the statement to the House on 18 July; (ii) a press notice of 21 September (which can be viewed on the DCLG website); (iii) a statement released on 30 July (which can be viewed on the DCLG website); and (iv) a letter from the Home Information Pack Programme Director to Home Inspectors of 21 September.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will produce detailed guidance for home inspectors; to what extent inspectors will be required to investigate problems encountered during an inspection; whether it will be sufficient for a home inspection report to say that a specific problem will require further investigation; and whether inspectors will be required to investigate (a) for (i) radon gas, (ii) mining and other subsidence, (iii) asbestos and (iv) party wall and other boundary disputes and (b) common services and structures in blocks of flats. 
The home condition report (HCR) will be based on a mid-range inspection, similar to the homebuyers survey currently available on the market. home inspectors will be required to complete the HCR in accordance with the inspection and reporting requirements published by the Department of Communities and Local Government on 14 June 2006. Home inspectors will decide condition ratings by
applying their knowledge of building construction and should only recommend further investigation where they suspect the existence of defects that are concealed or cannot be identified within the scope of a visual inspection. Home inspectors will therefore be expected to reach a conclusion about defects in most cases, but when this is not possible, for example when the defect needs specialist advice, the inspector may recommend a further investigation.
whether the property is located in an area where naturally occurring radon gas is emitted from the ground;
whether it is located in a mining area;
whether they have seen asbestos-containing materials, or suspect such materials are present, which may be a risk (this is not a specialist asbestos inspection, however);
whether there are any party wall matters brought to the Inspector's attention by the seller.
For flats, the HCR will cover in detail the main walls, windows and the roof of the flat itself along with the shared access to the flat. General information will be provided about the remainder of the outside and shared parts.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to compensate individuals and companies for money spent on training home inspectors in the expectation that home condition surveys would be made mandatory. 
Yvette Cooper: The Governments policy is that mandatory Home Condition Reports (HCRs) remain on the table if the industry fails to make a success of the roll-out of HCRs. We will promote the voluntary take-up of HCRs, and have allocated £4 million to support their take-up and testing of Home Information Packs. Therefore Home Inspectors will still be needed and job opportunities for Home Inspectors remain for those who have undertaken training. Moreover, the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates for private rented properties will further enhance these opportunities.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness as a means of preventing homelessness of
the deposit loan, guarantee and bond schemes offered by local authorities and housing associations in England to enable people on low incomes to rent in the private rented sector; 
(2) what guidance her Department has issued to (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations regarding the provision of deposit loan, guarantee and bond schemes for people to rent in the private rented sector. 
Yvette Cooper: In June the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the results of an independent evaluation of homelessness prevention schemes. This showed that rent deposit and similar schemes are widely operated by local authorities and are playing a growing role in rehousing potentially homeless households. It is also clear that these schemes can be highly cost-effective. A summary of this research is available on the DCLG website at www.communities.gov.uk.
Chapter 4 of "Homelessness Prevention : A Guide to Good Practice" is about the use of rent deposit and similar schemes which offer people in the private sector a solution to their homelessness. The guidance is available on the Department's website at www.communities.gov.uk
The responsibility for monitoring such schemes operated by registered social landlords lies with the Housing Corporation. To date the corporation has not collected data or issued guidance about the use of rent deposit loan schemes, and does not hold records of which RSLs provide these schemes.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the latest (a) actual and (b) estimated outputs are for (i) demolitions, (ii) refurbishments and (iii) new builds in each of the housing market renewal pathfinder areas in (A) 2004-05, (B) 2005-06, (C) 2006-07 and (D) 2007-08. 
Yvette Cooper: The following table provides information on the number of demolitions, refurbishments and new builds funded in full or in part by housing market renewal funding (HMRF) as part of the local programmes led by councils and partners to address housing problems in their areas. The figures for 2004-05 and 2005-06 are actual. Estimated figures for 2006-07 are included for those pathfinders whose forward funding agreements have been, or are shortly about to be, signed. Plans for 2007-08 have not yet been agreed.
|New Build||Repairs, improvements and refurbishments||Demolitions|
|2004-05||2005-06||( 1) 2006-07||2004-05||2005-06||( 1) 2006-07||2004-05||2005-06||( 1) 2006-07|
1. Discussions have not yet concluded with Birmingham Sandwell, Manchester Salford and Hull and East Riding on their programmes for 2006-07.
2. The outputs in the table are only those that are funded directly by HMRP. The pathfinders have played a part in generating significant additional outputs through the contributions of partners, principally local authorities, RSLs and the private sector, in related and complementary interventions in housing market renewal areas.
3. The variation in outputs between pathfinders is partly explained by the different sizes of the programmes and how long they have been running. There is also a wide variety in approaches taken depending on the particular problems face in each area.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations in England provide deposit loan, guarantee and bond schemes to enable people on low incomes to rent in the private rented sector. 
Each of the 10 sites that English Partnerships has put forward for the competition is at a slightly different point in the process. They have different estimated start and completion dates and
there will, therefore, be different dates when the homes on each site will be placed on sale.
The start of work on each site will vary according to when issues such as detailed planning consent and contractual arrangements have been completed. The length of time it will take to complete each site also varies as they are of different scales.
Yvette Cooper: Regional Housing Boards advise Government on how resources for housing capital investment should be targeted. These resources totalled £5 billion over 2004-06. Regional Housing Boards do not have separate administrative budgets; they are funded from existing Government Regional Office budgets and contributions from other Board members. Given this, the following table sets out estimates of the total expenditure of each Regional Housing Board on carrying out its responsibilities to develop and publish a Regional Housing Strategy for its area and provide advice to Ministers on spending priorities. These estimates do not include staff costs, but they do include contributions from Board members other than the Government Offices.
|Expenditure in 2004-05 (£)||Expenditure in 2005-06 (£)||Housing Capital Investment Resources allocated on the Boards' advice (£ million) 2005-06|
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