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Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what percentage of digital challenge funds will be received by community and third sector organisations; 
Mr. Woolas: The 10 winning regional bidders have each been awarded £120,000 to develop their final proposal. It is for each regional bidder to determine the extent of their digital challenge funds which are received by community and third sector organisations in the course of developing their final proposal. However, the allocation of this funding was detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding which stated:
will ensure sufficient resources are provided to engage in meaningful community participation and activities to ensure that any final bid has the clear understanding and support of those whom it may affect.
Part of the judging criteria for the winning digital challenge proposal will be the level of engagement and partnership role with community and third sector organisations. We will not have this information until all the bids have been evaluated post their submission date of 19 January 2006 and until the winner is determined in spring 2007.
Government are committing £3 million to the final winning digital challenge proposal (in addition to the programme costs, the development of the on and off
-line Digital Inclusion Network and the £1.2 million for the winning 10 regional proposals). The bidders are also expected to attract up to £4 million of match funding from industry. The digital challenge team are currently working with industry to determine the exact amount of cash and kind.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of empty public sector (a) residential properties and (b) commercial and industrial properties in each Government office region in England in April. 
(a) The number of vacant public sector dwellings in each government office region in England, as at 1 April 2006, is tabled as follows. These figures are for all vacant dwellings, including dwellings that have been empty for less than six months, some for less than one month. Totals may not equal the sum of individual region's figures, due to rounding.
|Government office region||Local authority||Registered social landlord||Other public sector||Total public sector|
| Sources: 1. Communities and Local Government's Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix return (HSSA) for LA and 'other' public sector tenures. Data are provisional and do not take account of Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment process. 2. Housing Corporation's Regulatory Statistical Return for RSL tenure.|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether councils are allowed to use (a) the full electoral register and (b) council tax records to identify potential homes for empty dwelling management orders. 
Yvette Cooper: The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to include the energy performance of a building calculated according to a methodology based on the general framework in the directive's annex and reference values such as current legal standards and benchmarks.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) decision-making process and (b) likely time scale is for the public inquiry into the onshore grid connection at Cleve Hill for the Thames Array. 
Yvette Cooper: Following refusal of their planning application by Swale borough council on 3 July 2006, London Array Ltd. lodged an appeal in September 2006. This appeal has been recovered for decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The public inquiry has been timetabled for 6 March 2007 and is forecasted to last for two weeks. Following the close of the public inquiry, a statutory target for issuing the final decision will be set.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of people classed as homeless and in priority need are under the age of 25 years in each local authority area; 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. The number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty, is collected by age bands, and includes those applicants who are aged between 16 and 24 years old.
A table has been placed in the Library showing total acceptances of applicants aged between 16 and 24 years old, along with the total number of households accepted and the proportion of those where the applicant was 16-24, by each local authority, for the most recent quarter for which information is availableApril to June 2006.
In total, 7,800 applicants aged between 16 and 24 years old were accepted as owed a main homelessness duty between April and June 2006, which made up40 per cent. of the total acceptance figure (19,430 households).
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced on 14 November an increased focus on tackling youth homelessness, including a commitment to end the use of bed and breakfast hotels for 16 and 17 years olds, except in emergencies, by 2010; establishing supported lodging schemes across the country; and a drive to improve access to mediation schemes.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures her Department is taking to ensure the effective implementation of the mandatory licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation. 
In addition it has also provided funding for the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) to help with the delivery of training programmes to which all local housing authorities were invited, both for front line staff and strategic policy makers. The training addressed the immediate training needs for implementation of licensing and promoting best practice over the long term. It also encouraged local authorities to create good working relationships with landlords.
The Department has worked with the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) which has extended its remit to include advice and co-ordination of best practice for regulation in the private rented sector and to provide support to local authorities on the licensing provisions of the2004 Act.
Meetings have also been held with key stakeholder groups to develop the detail of the licensing provisions, and the Department employed secondees from a local authority and landlord association during implementation to advise the Department and work with stakeholders on implementation.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had with local authority representatives on implementation of the licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department held discussions with key stakeholder groups, including representatives from local authorities, on the mandatory licensing provisions in the Housing Act 2004. The Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) has extended its remit to include regulation in the private rented sector and will provide support to local authorities on implementation of the licensing provisions of the Act. This follows on from the training provided by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) for local authority staff.
The Department has also worked closely with those local authorities that expressed an early interest in the selective licensing provisions in the Act post implementation, and these discussions helped form the guidance for local authorities that was published on14 November 2006.
Yvette Cooper: The total number of homes sold to first time buyers is not collected. Although data on all house sales in England and Wales are collected by the Land Registry there is no information collected on buyers.
Information on mortgages to first time buyers and former owner occupiers for house purchases in the UK is collected by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). This includes total number of loans to first time buyers and percentage of loans to first time buyers. This information is published on their website at:
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless applicants to local authorities had a prison as their last known address in each of the last three years. 
Yvette Cooper: Information about the main reason for loss of last settled home is collected in respect of those households who were accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty. It does not cover reason for loss for those applicant households who were not accepted.
In 2002 the priority need categories were extended to include those vulnerable as a result of having spent time in custody or on remand, and since Quarter 2 2005 we have separately identified those whose main reason for loss of last settled home was leaving prison or remand.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many completed sales through (a) shared ownership and (b) key worker schemes were funded by (i) the Government and (ii) the Housing Corporation in each year from 1991-92 to 1996-97. 
Yvette Cooper: The following table shows completed shared ownership sales by housing associations funded by Government through Housing Corporation Approved Development Programme (ADP) and Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LASHG) for each year 1991-92 to 1996-97. There were no other publicly funded shared ownership schemes.
|Shared ownership completions|
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