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Estimates of overcrowding based on the statutory standard are not available because the underlying data is not collected systematically. A one-off estimate was made in 2004 that there were approximately 20,000 households across the whole of England that were in conditions of overcrowding that breached the statutory standard. This estimate was based on data from the Survey of English Housing for
the period 2000-01 to 2002-03 and from the 2001 English House Condition Survey. Equivalent estimates for Luton, Bedfordshire and the whole of the United Kingdom are not available.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) housing association and (b) local authority new rented homes she expects to be completed in each London borough in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2007-08 and (iii) 2008-09. 
Yvette Cooper: Information on estimated completions for social rent and low-cost home ownership by Registered Social Landlords and other developers funded through the Housing Corporations National Affordable Housing Programme is provided on the Corporations website at:
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties owned by registered social landlords have been sold to their tenants in (a) Greater London and (b) England in each year since 1997, broken down by local authority area. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer13 September 2006]: Information on properties owned by registered social landlords that have been sold to their tenants is collected on the Regulatory Statistical Return of the Housing Corporation. In 1996-97 RSLs were not asked to break down this information by local authority area. Sales to tenants include Right to Acquire and Preserved Right to Buy, the latter being the preserved right of a local authority tenant to purchase their dwelling even after a stock transfer from the local authority to an RESL.
| Notes: 1. From 2001-02 onwards, data for Greater London and individual local authority areas exclude outright sales. 2. From 2004-05 onwards, data for Greater London and individual local authority areas exclude outright sales and voluntary purchase grant. 3. In 1998-99 and 2001-02 a small number of RSLs made errors in filling in the form and the data for some individual local authority areas may be slightly incorrect. 4. Data excludes Abbeyfields and Almshouses. 5. Only RSLs who completed a Long Return were required to provide this data in 2005-06. Source: Regulatory Statistical Return, Housing Corporation.|
Justine Greening: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment has been made of the number of children aged under 18 years living in accommodation which constitutes statutory housing overcrowding in each of the past five years. 
Estimates of overcrowding based on the statutory standard are not available because the underlying data are not collected systematically. A one-off estimate was made in 2004 that there were approximately 20,000 households across the whole of England that were in conditions of overcrowding that breached the statutory standard. This estimate was based on data from the Survey of English Housing for the period 2000-01 to 2002-03 and from the 2001 English House Condition Survey. However, no estimate was made of the number of children living in these 20,000 households.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role the Affordable Rural Housing Commission will have in monitoring the implementation of its recommendations. 
Yvette Cooper: The Affordable Rural Housing Commission was set up by my Department and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to inquire into the scale, nature and implications of the shortage of affordable housing for rural communities in England and to make recommendations to address unmet need. The Government have set up a website to report on progress on rural housing, and Ministers have met members of the commission to discuss taking forward the report's recommendations.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to restrict staircasing on rural exception sites in response to the report of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Housing associations providing shared ownership schemes with Housing Corporation funding on rural exception sites may continue to restrict staircasing to 80 per cent., where possible and appropriate under leasehold legislation.
This is one of a number of safeguards within our new HomeBuy scheme to enable affordable housing to be retained in rural areas. Others include allowing providers to nominate purchasers and buy back properties when a purchaser who has staircased up to full ownership wishes to sell. The Housing Corporation will prioritise funding for the repurchase of properties on rural exception sites where a housing association is unable to do so.
Yvette Cooper: In England housing authorities are required to treat all applicants as eligible for an allocation of social housing unless they are certain persons from abroad (excluded by regulations made under s. 160 A(3) and (5) of the Housing Act 1996) or persons whom an authority decides to treat as ineligible as a result of serious unacceptable behaviour (s.160A (7) of the 1996 Act).
Housing authorities are responsible for setting their own allocation policies and procedures. However, they must ensure that their allocation scheme is framed so as to give reasonable preference to certain categories of persons, including people who need to move on medical and welfare grounds. We have recently amended the legislation to make clear that "medical and welfare" includes grounds relating to a disability. Annex 3 to the statutory code of guidance on the allocation of accommodation (issued in November 2002) provides a list of indicators for the "medical and welfare" reasonable preference category, including, for example, a mental illness or disorder, a physical or learning disability, and chronic or progressive medical conditions. However, the guidance makes clear that this is an illustrative rather than an exhaustive list.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding is available from (a) central and (b) local government sources for the (i) modernisation and (ii) upgrading of the external features of social housing. 
Yvette Cooper: We do not differentiate between modernisation and upgrading of internal and external features of social housing. For the year 2006-07 over £3.42 billion has been allocated for major repairs and maintenance of local authority housing. This is paid through the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy System, and is a combination of local authorities own resources and government subsidy. This figure does not include the additional resources made available through Arms Length Management Orders and gap funding for stock transfers to meet the decent homes target. Registered social landlords are responsible for financing their modernisation and improvements themselves.
Yvette Cooper: There are five Rent Assessment Panels (RAPs) that cover England to which the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government appoints the senior officers, known as presidents and vice-presidents. These appointees are judicial office holders and not members of the civil service.
The RAPs have pools of chairpersons, appointed by the Lord Chancellor, and members appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The president of the RAP will convene a leasehold valuation tribunal where leasehold cases require a hearing and will appoint a chairperson and two members to the tribunal.
RAPs are part of the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS). The RPTS is headed by a senior president, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who is responsible for the quality and consistency of the panels' work across the country.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the cost of clearing the backlog of refurbishments required by public libraries in England. 
Judgments about the need for refurbishments require a qualitative approach and are best carried out at local level. However, as part of the DCMS-funded Framework for the Future Programme, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council commissioned a Library Buildings Survey. Responses were received from 136 of the 149 library authorities in England, representing a 91 per cent. response rate. These results, including projections for the whole sector, were published on 18 September.
The survey found that an estimated £760 million is required to make all public libraries in England fit for purpose. Of this sum, £130.8 million is required to address a routine maintenance backlog and £73 million would be necessary to satisfy health and safety, Disability Discrimination Act (excluding reasonable alternative provisions that may be currently in place) and other building regulation requirements.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures the Government have taken to tackle light pollution since 1997; and what plans the Government have for future measures to tackle it. 
Yvette Cooper: The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 amended section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to include artificial light emitted from premises which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance capable of constituting a statutory nuisance.
Meg Munn: An Article 14 direction was issued on 17 July 2006 to provide the Secretary of State with more time to consider representations and the issues raised. The direction was removed on 28 July 2006 and Liverpool city council has subsequently granted permission for the developments.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which 12 English local authorities in each class had the highest 2005-06 budget requirement over standard spending assessment in (a) cash and (b) percentage terms. 
Mr. Woolas: A table has been placed in the Library of the House showing the 2005-06 formula spending share, the 2005-06 budget requirement, the difference between these and the percentage difference between these, together with the rank in descending order of the difference and percentage difference.
Please note that standard spending assessments were replaced with formula spending shares in 2003-04. Formula spending shares have never been the Governments assessment of how much an authority should spend. They were formulae used in the calculation of revenue support grant. Authorities are free to set their own budgets taking into account local priorities.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which 30 English local authorities had the (a) highest and (b) lowest council tax collection rates, (i) as a percentage of council tax due and (ii) in cash terms in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Woolas: The 30 English local authorities with the (a) highest and (b) lowest council tax collection rates as a percentage of council tax due in 2005-06 are shown in the following table. A statistical release providing further details about council tax collection rates for 2005-06 was issued on 21 June and is available from the Department for Communities and Local Government website at
Collection of council taxes continues once the financial year to which they relate has ended. This means that the final collection rate achieved is somewhere between the figures shown here and 100 per cent.
The figures shown in the table are the amount received in respect of the 2005-06 financial years council taxes collected in that year as a percentage of the net collectable debit in respect of that years council taxesthat is, the income that authorities would collect if everyone liable paid, net of estimated receipts of council tax benefit.
|Receipts of 2005-06 council taxes by 31 March 2006 as a percentage of net collectable debit|
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