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Gillian Merron: The Government take the security of all transport systems very seriously. Protective security programmes exist for the aviation, maritime and land transport sectors. These security programmes are kept under continuous review. Regular meetings are held with each of the industries about the measures and procedures in place.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to ensure that (a) residential areas have adequate provision of open spaces and play areas and (b) affordable family homes have garden space. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 26 October 2006]: The Government have already put in place policy for the provision and protection of open spaces and play areas. Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Open Space, Sport and Recreation requires local planning authorities to make rigorous assessments of the existing and future needs of their communities for open space, including play areas. They should set standards in their plans which ensure adequate provision for open space as part of new housing developments.
Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing, when it is published later this year, will further emphasise the need for local planning authorities to assess the extent to which new housing development provides, or enables access to, community green space and open space, as well as private outdoor areas such as gardens. It will also emphasise that local planning authorities should take account of the need to provide play space for family housing in determining the size and type of affordable housing needed for their areas.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will (a) carry out an age audit of its staff to establish an age profile of its workforce, (b) negotiate an age management policy with trade unions and employees to eliminate age discrimination and retain older workers, (c) identify and support training needs and offer older staff flexible working to downshift towards retirement and (d) extend to over-fifties the right to request to work flexibly and the right to training with paid time off; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has a personnel information system which holds staff records and therefore DCLG is aware of the age breakdown of its workforce.
There is no default age for retirement for staff below the senior civil service grades allowing an individual to continue work providing they receive satisfactory reports and have a good attendance and conduct record.
All staff irrespective of age are encouraged to access the learning portal which is available on their desks via the intranet to help them identify their development needs and select a suitable learning intervention.
Working at home
Part year working
Term time working
Angela E. Smith:
Earlier this year the Government amended the Building Regulations to increase the mandatory standards for energy efficiency. The new measures taken together with changes to strengthen
Building Regulations in 2002 improve standards by 40 per cent. These tough new standards which came into effect on 6 April 2006 apply to all new buildings and when building work is carried out in existing buildings
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department has spent on external speechwriters in each year since 2002, broken down by the company used. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many redundancies there were in her Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of such redundancies was in each year; how many temporary staff were employed in each year; and how many staff were seconded by outside organisations to posts within her Department in each year. 
Angela E. Smith: Information prior to the creation of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on 5 May 2006 is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the estimated (a) monthly and (b) annual cost is of the staff seconded to the Deputy Prime Minister from her Department. 
Mr. Woolas: The interdepartmental report Reviewing the disabled facilities grant programme was published in October 2005. This was an independent report on the operation of DFG prepared by Bristol University. The Government undertook to respond to this reports recommendations in the form of a consultation paper, which will be published shortly.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a vacant principal residence the owner of which is obliged by a long-standing lease agreement to live as a tenant elsewhere may be subject to an Empty Dwellings Management Order. 
Yvette Cooper: An unoccupied dwelling that is the principal residence of a person who is temporarily resident elsewhere is exempt from the legislation on Empty Dwelling Management Orders by virtue of exceptions in the Housing (Empty Dwelling Management Orders) (Prescribed Exceptions and Requirements (England) Order 2006. Second homes are also exempt. Where a dwelling is not exempt by virtue of the order the decision whether to make an Empty Dwelling Management Order is at the discretion of the local authority and is subject to approval by a Residential Property Tribunal.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with stakeholders on the use of low energy technology to achieve compliance with planning regulations. 
Angela E. Smith [holding answer 25 October 2006]: Amended Building Regulations were introduced in April 2006 to improve mandatory standards for energy efficiency and encourage the use of low energy technologies. In advance of this amendment a comprehensive review took place, including a formal public consultation exercise, involving a wide range of stakeholders. Improving compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations featured prominently in this review.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles), 10 July 2006, Official Report, on EU Directive 2002/91/EC, when a copy of the report will be placed in the Library. 
Angela E. Smith: I apologise that administrative oversight meant that a copy of the National Energy Services report An accreditation scheme for energy inspectors Phase 1: Scoping Study was not placed in the Library on 10 July as we had intended. The report was correctly placed in the Library on 16 October
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department provided to the Association of Home Information Pack Providers in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what estimated levels will be provided in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. 
Yvette Cooper: We will be using local media to inform sellers of the opportunity to have a Home Information Pack (HIP) and the benefits of doing so. We would also expect participating estate agents to explain the benefits of HIPs when discussing new instructions with clients.
Yvette Cooper: More than 200 organisations have come forward to participate in the dry run. Of these, more than 70 are involved already. A list of organisations participating in the national dry run is available on our website and we will shortly be publishing details of participants in the six area trials. Both of these websites will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many home ownership schemes for key workers and other target groups are in operation; what public subsidy they receive; how many homes are involved; and what estimate she has made of the number of such homes which have been allocated to low paid workers and those in key occupations. 
Yvette Cooper: Our new HomeBuy scheme offers three products based on equity sharing. Social HomeBuy enables tenants of local authorities and housing associations to buy a share in their current home at a discount, New Build HomeBuy enables people to buy a share of a newly built property paying a rent on the remainder, (including the First Time Buyers Initiative, which uses public sector land) and Open Market HomeBuy enables people to buy a property on the open market with the help of an equity loan.
Priority groups for our HomeBuy products are social tenants, key workers as defined under the Key Worker Living Programme and other first time buyers nominated by the Regional Housing Boards. We aim to help 35,000 people into homeownership through our HomeBuy programme over the next two years with increased investment of £970 million through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme.
Between 1999 and 2005 Low Cost Home Ownership assistance enabled 40,000 people to buy their own home. In 2005-06 the average household income of those purchasing homes under our equity loan and shared ownership schemes, on which our new HomeBuy products are based, was £30,000 and £26,000 respectively.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless people there are in (a) Hendon constituency and (b) Barnet borough; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: Information about local authorities actions under homelessness legislation is collected in respect of households, rather than persons, and at local authority rather than constituency level.
This is summarised in a quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, the latest of which was published by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 11 September. A supplementary table presents key information at local authority level, including the number of households accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need (and therefore owed a main homelessness duty) during the most recent quarter (April to June 2006), and the number of households in temporary
accommodation arranged by the authority under homelessness legislation as at 30 June. This is available on the DCLG website:
The duty owed to a person accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. As an alternative to the provision of temporary accommodation some authorities arrange for households to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.
Financial year data from 1997-98 to 2005-06 on the number of acceptances and households in temporary accommodation, at local authority level, has already been placed in the Library in response to a question from the hon. Member for the Vale of Clwyd (Mr. Ruane) on 23 October 2006, Official Report, columns 1663-64W.
Information is also collected separately by the Department on the number of people who sleep rough, that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night. This information, from 1998 onwards and at local authority level, is also presented in the tables already placed in the Library.
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