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There is no general definition of 'unsuitable' housing. The available estimates for the number of
unfit homes (as defined by Section 604 of the 1989 Local Government and Housing Act) are provided in the following table.
|Number of unfit homes in England, 1991 to 2004|
|Number (thousand)||Percentage of all homes|
| Note: 1. Unfit homes are those which fail the statutory minimum standard as defined by the Fitness Standard. From 2006 figures will be based on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which replaced the Fitness Standard following the 2004 Housing Act. Source: DCLG : English House Condition Surveys|
Each local authority makes its own independent assessment of unfitness which it reports in its annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix. These figures are also published by my Department and are available on the DCLG website from 2001-02 at the following address:
Yvette Cooper: For the number of empty properties in each local authority in Suffolk in each year since 1997 I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Rogerson) on 25 July 2006, Official Report, column 1604W.
Rural housing enablers (RHEs) work with rural communities, local authorities, landowners, and housing associations to help identify rural housing needs and find appropriate solutions. There are currently 40 RHEs in post, supported by funding from local authorities, housing associations and Defra. They act independently of any single organisation, usually located in the offices of the county rural community council, while some sit within the offices of the local authority. Defra has committed funding to support RHEs through the rural social and community programme, this is fixed until March 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the timetable is for additional secondary legislation to be introduced or amended in relation to the Housing Act 2004; 
|Housing Act 2004: Timetable for implementation and regulations|
|Provision/Part||Proposed timetable for implementation and regulations|
Yvette Cooper: No, the key worker living programme is for public sector workers only. Teachers employed in state maintained nursery (early years) primary or secondary schools and some further education institutes are eligible to apply for assistance.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how long homes built under the key worker living initiative have to remain empty before alternative uses can be found. 
Yvette Cooper: Each scheme is dealt with on an individual basis taking into account the marketing activities of the registered social landlord and local market demand and supply. There is flexibility which allows for changes to tenure and widening of the eligibility criteria where local evidence demonstrates that this is needed and where no added grant is required. Scheme review will be triggered only where units have been empty for at least three months.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) discretionary and (b) mandatory houses of multiple occupation licensing applies to (i) hotels, (ii) bed and breakfast establishments and (iii) hostels. 
Yvette Cooper: Discretionary or mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) may apply to (i) hotels, (ii) bed and breakfasts and (iii) hostels if the individual establishments (a) fall within the definition of an HMO and (b) either is a category of HMO to which a discretionary scheme applies or is one that meets the criteria for mandatory licensing.
Yvette Cooper: Data on empty homes for register social landlords (RSLs) are collected on the regulatory and statistical return of the Housing Corporation (Long form) which is completed by those RSLs which have 250 or more dwelling and bedspaces.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library the submissions sent by individuals and organisations in Gloucestershire on the subject of local government reform following the visit of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to Gloucestershire. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the publication by her Department of the proposed amendment to the Town and County Planning (Regional Planning) England Regulations 2004, what proportion of relevant local authorities within a region must be affiliated to the regional chamber in order for it to be recognised as a regional planning board. 
Yvette Cooper: The proposed amendment to Town and Country Planning (Regional Planning) (England) Regulations 2004 does not change the existing legislative requirement for regional planning bodies to include at least one member from each of type of relevant authority, if such an authority exists within the region concerned. Where a relevant authority means
(a) a district council,
(b) a county council,
(c) a metropolitan district council,
(d) a National park authority,
(e) the Broads authority,
(f) the Council of the Isles of Scilly
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether disused quarries are classified as (a) greenfield and (b) brownfield land; and whether she plans to review this designation. 
Yvette Cooper: Quarrying is a form of development, and so land that has been used for this purpose may be regarded as previously-developed. However, as such a use is temporary, in a case where the quarrying use is subject to planning conditions that required the land to be restored to its natural state when the quarrying use is completed, a former quarry would be treated as greenfield for planning for housing purposes.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has provided to local authorities on moving from weekly to fortnightly collection of domestic rubbish. 
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 does not stipulate how local authorities should discharge their household waste collection duties, nor the frequency with which collections have to be made. Each authority is free to choose its own method of collection and the priority, degree of effort and resources required.
The waste and resources action programme (WRAP) has produced guidance which is used by local authorities when considering the introduction of alternate week collection of waste. This is available from WRAPs website: http://www.wrap.org.uk/local_authorities/toolkits_good_practice/index.html.
An interim report on the health impact assessment of alternate week waste collection is also available on the local authority support pages of Defras website: http://lasupport.defra.gov.uk/ViewDocument_Image.aspx?Doc_ID=362.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will give local planning authorities in the Thames Gateway additional incentives to put design frameworks in place through the planning delivery grant. 
These proposals include a provision of £24 million to recognise the additional work that is being undertaken by local planning authorities within growth areas to deliver higher levels of housing growth, which may well include work to bring forward design frameworks. This will apply to all planning authorities in the Thames Gateway.
Yvette Cooper: All of the local planning authorities in the Thames Gateway have current urban capacity studies. Where the urban capacity studies are not up to date they are either in the process of being reviewed or will be reviewed as the local planning authority in question develops the evidence base for the development documents in the local development framework.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many houses and flats were available for rent in England from (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations in (i) 1997 and (ii) the latest year for which figures are available. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many right-to-buy sales there were in England in each year since 1980, broken down by Government office of the region since 1996. 
Yvette Cooper: The number of right-to-buy sales in England broken down by Government office region can be found on the Communities and Local Government website at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/pub/231/Table670_id1502231.xls.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of housing association tenants in England have (a) the right to buy and (b) preserved right to buy. 
Yvette Cooper: There are 1.862 million housing association tenants in England, of whom approximately 27,000 (i.e. 2 per cent.), who are secure tenants of non-charitable housing associations, have the right to buy. Another 998,000 tenants (i.e. 54 per cent.), who have transferred with their homes from local authorities, have a preserved right to buy.
A further 174,000 (i.e. 9 per cent.) housing association tenants may qualify for the right to acquire because their homes have been built with public funds since April 1997. Some of the tenants of the 752,000 homes which have transferred from local authorities to housing associations after 1 April 1997 may also qualify for the right to acquire scheme.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made with the proposed sexual orientation discrimination regulations; and if she will make a statement. 
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