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Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will use her powers under Section 162 of the Housing Act 2004 to suspend the home information pack duties. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people have trained to be Home Information Pack inspectors, broken down by local authority area; and what the average cost of training an inspector was. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 September 2006]: Information on the number of Home Inspectors broken down by local authority area is not collected. However, the following table shows the number of candidates who have completed training by region, as provided at 25 August by six of the 11 assessment centres.
|Region||Candidates completed training|
The amount of training required, and therefore cost, depends on the previous experience. For an experienced surveyor with relevant experience, the cost is estimated to be around £2,300 to £2,600. For a candidate with no relevant experience, training would take longer and is estimated to cost around £8,300 to £10,000.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the decision not to make the provision of home improvement packs a statutory requirement on first time buyers. 
Yvette Cooper: Home Information Packs will be a statutory requirement as of 1 June 2007. Home Condition Reports will be an authorised document, that sellers may include in the Pack. Government are committed to encouraging market-led take-up of Home Condition Reports.
First Time Buyers will face lower transaction costs than under the current buying and selling system. They will no longer need to pay for searches etc. and will be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate on the property they buy. On properties that have an HCR they will also receive important information up-front about the condition of the property, reducing the likelihood of costly transaction failures.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans her Department has to review the limits in the Right to Buy legislation on the discount granted to people buying council houses. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 9 October 2006]: The Government have no plans to review the current limits on the amount of discount available to social tenants under the Right to Buy scheme. However, it has invited local authorities to consider offering those tenants who are unable to afford outright ownership the opportunity to purchase a share in their homes, under the new Social HomeBuy scheme which it introduced in April 2006. Local authorities may retain all the receipts from sales under Social HomeBuy, to reinvest in affordable housing.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will introduce legislation to ensure that the terms of residential leases are renewed to take into account changing circumstances. 
Yvette Cooper: It is for the parties contracting a lease to ensure that its renewal has regard to foreseeable changes in circumstances; this is not a matter for which the Government could appropriately prescribe in statute.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the arrangements to inform and protect elderly homebuyers purchasing time-limited retirement homes; how many complaints were made to the Government concerning such schemes in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department for Communities and Local Government, HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority are not aware of the product mentioned with older people purchasing time-limited retirement homes. The majority of privately owned retirement homes are purchased on long leases. Other products which might possibly be similar to the time limited retirement homes mentioned, include home reversion plans and lifetime leases. We are not aware of complaints regarding time-limited retirement homes.
Regarding home reversion plans, the Government have recently announced that they plan to extend the regulatory remit of the Financial Services Authority to include Home Reversion Plans from 6 April 2007. The FSA-managed regulatory regime currently covers first charge residential mortgages. Lifetime leases are a form of property transaction and as they do not involve the provision of finance, there are at present no plans to bring them under the regulation of the Financial Services Authority.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs in how many benefit cases appeals have found in favour of the appellant because her Department has unable to locate the appellants case files in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Vera Baird: All applicants for legal aid are required to satisfy the Interests of Justice' test contained in Schedule 3 to the Access to Justice Act 1999. Additionally, the Criminal Defence Service Act 2006 introduced a means test for adult defendants. Children (those under 16, and those under 18 in full-time education) are treated as financially eligible.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many disabled people were hired by her Department in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what percentage of the overall workforce these figures represented in each year; and how many disabled people left employment in her Department over the same period. 
|Table AF: Entrants by department and disability status 2002-03, non industrial and industrial staff|
|Table AF: Entrants by department and disability status 2003-04, non industrial and industrial staff|
|Table AE: Entrants by department and disability status 2004-05, non industrial and industrial staff|
|Table AJ: Leavers by department and disability status 2002-03, non industrial and industrial staff|
|Table AJ: Leavers by department and disability status 2003-04, non industrial and industrial staff|
|Table AI: Leavers by department and disability status 2004-05, non industrial and industrial staff|
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how costs are currently calculated in relation to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and whether she has any plans to change the basis for this calculation. 
Ms Harman: The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 set out how costs are currently calculated. The regulations set an appropriate upper limit of £600 for central Government and £450 for other authorities above which authorities are not obliged to comply with requests.
In determining whether the upper limit has been exceeded public authorities are limited to considering those costs they reasonably expect to incur in determining whether they hold the information requested, locating the information or documents containing the information, retrieving such information or documents, and extracting the information from the document containing it (including editing or redacting information).
Lynne Jones: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the (a) shortest, (b) longest and (c) mean length of time taken by the Information Commissioners Office to reach decisions on requests for information under freedom of information legislation was since the legislation was introduced; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: Between 1 January 2005 (when the Freedom of Information Act was introduced) and 10 October 2006 the lengths of time taken by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to reach decisions on requests for information under FOI legislation were:
(a) shortest = one day
(b) longest = 597 days
(c) mean (average) =118 days
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