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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 the private rented properties will further enhance these opportunities.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of home inspectors that will be required in the next 12 months; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: We estimate that from 1 June next year between 2,500 and 4,500 properly trained inspectors will be needed to produce Energy Performance Certificates required for packs and voluntary Home Condition Reports.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people have trained to become home inspectors in the last 12 months in (a) England and (b) Beverley and Holderness; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The number of candidates who have completed training, as provided at 25 August by six of the 11 assessment centres, is 470. Information on the number of Home Inspectors broken down by constituency is not collected. However, the number of candidates who have completed training in Yorkshire and Humber is 36 as at 25 August.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what basis the decision was made that Huddersfield should trial home information packs; what sanctions will be taken against those who fail to use or provide either a home information pack or a home condition report there; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The towns and cities chosen for the area trials were selected on the basis that they were considered to be discrete areas with a strong housing market, contain a representative mix of housing types, and that they have a strong local media and forward thinking local business community. The area trials will be entirely voluntary and there will be no sanctions for those who do not wish to participate.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will provide an opportunity for hon. Members to assess the effectiveness of the home information pack trial in Huddersfield before home information packs become compulsory in England and Wales; what opportunities will be provided for representations to be made between the conclusion of the trial period and the commencement of the packs becoming mandatory; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The results of the trials will be made public and interested parties given an opportunity to comment before the packs become mandatory on 1 June 2007. The trialling of Home Condition Reports will need to go on beyond 1 June 2007 in order to fully assess their impact which is one of the reasons for the change in approach announced in July.
Yvette Cooper: The Department has estimated that between 2,500 and 4,500 trained inspectors will be needed to produce Energy Performance Certificates for the marketed sales of residential properties when Home Information Packs become mandatory in June 2007.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to change the trigger for the requirement of an energy performance certificate to the point-of-sale rather than first point of marketing. 
Yvette Cooper: We believe it is important that prospective purchasers should have information about the energy performance of homes they are considering buying before they submit offers. In order to raise consumer awareness and choice and environmental standards the information needs to be available at the beginning of the process rather then once prospective buyers have already invested resources and made commitment to the sale.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans her Department has to extend regulations on insulation in new build homes to older properties; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: The Building Regulations were amended earlier this year to raise energy efficiency standards for new buildings and for building work carried out to existing buildings. This amendment introduced a new requirement to improve the thermal performance of floors, walls or roofs whenever they are renovated or replaced.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the (i) interpretation and (ii) application of guidance on access needs for disabled tenants in (A) housing association and (B) local authority property; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith:
No specific research has been commissioned on these issues. The access requirements for all newly built dwellings are set down in part M of
the Building Regulations which were introduced in 1999. We are now going further by proposing that the lifetime homes standard is included in the Code for Sustainable Homes.
For existing homes all disabled owner-occupiers and tenants have a statutory right, under the disabled facilities grant legislation, to seek financial assistance from their local authority to help with housing adaptations.
John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authority workers in each local authority area in Durham (a) retired and (b) took ill-health retirement in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The number of local authority workers who were members of the local authority pension scheme administered by Durham county council who (a) retired and (b) took ill health retirement in each of the last five years for which data are available, are shown in the following table.
|Normal retirement||Ill-health retirement|
These data are taken from the SF3 Local Government Pensions Schemes form completed each year by administrators of local authority pension schemes and returned to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Durham county council administers a single pension scheme for staff of the county council and the seven local authorities within the county of Durham, the administration staff of the police and fire service and staff of a further 43 bodies in the scheme including parish councils, town councils, statutory bodies, colleges and admitted bodies.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the annual saving would be from increasing the employee contribution rate of the local government pension scheme by one per cent.; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: It is estimated that a 1 per cent. increase in employee contributions would now generate an additional £270 million towards the total annual contribution income of the Local Government Pension Scheme, which totalled some £4.9 billion in 2004-05, made up of employers' contributions of some £3.5 billion and employees' contributions of some £1.4 billion.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had with Sir Michael Lyons in the
last 12 months on reform of local government finance and structures. 
Mr. Woolas: My right hon. Friends the Chancellor and the Deputy Prime Minister appointed Sir Michael Lyons to undertake an independent inquiry to consider the funding, form and function of local government. His terms of reference do not include local government structures. My departmental colleagues and I have had a number of discussions with Sir Michael as he takes forward his inquiry.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Government plan to continue the procedure of supplementing local government grants by an annual formula grant amending report on the basis of changes in population. 
Mr. Woolas: Amending reports are not a way of supplementing grants but are rather a way of retrospectively amending the distribution within a Local Government Finance Report. The total amount of grant remains the same as that distributed via the original report.
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 house rent collection rates (i) as a percentage of rent due net of benefit, (ii) as a percentage of gross rent due and (iii) as cash due in the last year for which figures are available. 
117 of stock-holding local authorities either reported zero rent arrears during 2004-05 or did not provide an estimate. A table showing the 30 English local authorities with the highest council house rent collection rate in 2004-05 as a percentage of rent due net of benefit and as a percentage of gross rent due has been placed in the Library of the House.
A table showing the 30 English local authorities with the lowest council house rent collection rates in 2004-05 as a percentage of rent due net of benefit and as a percentage of gross rent due has been placed in the Library of the House.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which 12 English local authorities in each class have (a) the greatest outstanding debt and (b) the greatest outstanding debt per head of population. 
|12 English local authorities with greatest outstanding debt at 31 March 2006|
|Net debt at 31 March 2006 (£ million)|
|12 English local authorities with greatest outstanding debt per head at 31 March 2006|
|Net debt at 31 March 2006||Total net debt per head at 31 March 2006|
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