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15 Jan 2007 : Column 856W—continued

Not everyone on the waiting list is necessarily in urgent housing need. The waiting list includes those who consider social housing as their preferred or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move house—particularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what temporary
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housing provision was made available to the homeless in (a) City of York council (b) Harrogate borough council and (c) Hambleton district council in each of the last three years. [114454]

Yvette Cooper: Information reported each quarter by local authorities about their activities under homelessness legislation includes the number of households in temporary accommodation on the last day of the quarter, and the types of temporary accommodation. The figures include both those households who have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty, and those for which inquiries are pending.

Data are published in our quarterly statistical release on Statutory Homelessness, which includes a supplementary table showing the breakdown of key data, including temporary accommodation and type, by each local authority. These are published on our website each quarter, and placed in the Library of the House. Also on our website is a similar table (live table 627) which summarises key data for each local authority, including York, Harrogate and Hambleton, for each of the last three years:

Data provided include the total numbers in temporary accommodation for each year, broken down between bed and breakfast, hostel, LA/RSL stock, private sector leased and other types of housing.

Note that these supplementary type tables are not updated with revisions, but the figures for the three authorities of interest were not changed during the 2003-04 revisions process.

In January 2005 the Government set a target of halving the number of households in all forms of temporary accommodation used by local authorities to discharge their main duty under the homelessness legislation.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what provision of (a) social housing and (b) affordable housing was in (i) City of York council (ii) Harrogate borough council and (iii) Hambleton district council in each of the last three years; and what the provision was in 1996-97. [114455]

Yvette Cooper: The numbers of social rent homes managed by local authorities and registered social landlords in York, Harrogate and Hambleton, as reported by the local authorities and the Housing Corporation, are tabulated as follows.

Number of social rent homes by local authority area( 1)
Local authority area 1997 2004 2005 2006

York

12,561

12,080

12,195

12,128

Harrogate

6,181

6,095

6,203

5,913

Hambleton

4,648

4,605

4,587

4,589

(1) Stock shown as at 1 April
Source:
Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix, Housing Corporation (RSR)

Homes for social rent make up only part of the housing stock classified as affordable; the remainder are provided through low cost home ownership
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schemes. Between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 2006 an additional 295, 201 and 40 homes have been provided through a low cost home ownership scheme in York, Harrogate and Hambleton respectively.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will re-instate the Parker Morris housing standards. [107404]

Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation's Scheme Development Standards (SDS) sets out the Corporation's requirements and recommendations for all housing projects which receive Social Housing Grant (SHG). It is a guide for Housing Associations and their consultants. It is also the basis upon which the Corporation will assess HAs' performance on developing housing projects. It concentrates upon design and quality issues relating to individual schemes and procedural compliance issues. The Housing Corporation has no plans to change these at the moment.

The Government have set out their intention to increase the number of homes which meet the lifetime homes standards, as set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes. “Lifetime Homes” have 16 design features that ensure a new house or flat will meet the needs of most households. The accent is on accessibility and design features that make the home flexible enough to meet whatever comes along in life: a teenager with a broken leg, a family member with serious illness, or parents carrying in heavy shopping and dealing with a pushchair.

Housing Associations

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to ensure that sufficient provision is made available to Supporting People to finance support services provided by housing associations to leaseholders; and if she will make a statement. [114870]

Mr. Woolas: Supporting People grants allocations to local authorities of approx £1.68 billion for 2007-08 were confirmed in July 2006. This includes provision for local authorities to finance support services provided by housing associations to leaseholders if they assess this to be a strategic priority against the needs they have identified in their five-year strategies. Local authorities and their commissioning bodies determine these priorities locally and are expected to make investment decisions to deliver these priorities, which could include leaseholders. Funding for Supporting People beyond 2007-08 will be determined through the comprehensive spending review.

We have been working with local authorities and housing associations to try to ensure that leaseholders are aware of the level of support they might receive from their local authority.

Housing Corporation

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has given to the Housing Corporation on the terms of reference for its discussions with (a) housing
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associations, (b) registered social landlords and (c) arms length management organisations about the potential for stock market flotations; and if she will make a statement. [114523]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 11 January 2007]: The Housing Corporation is the regulator for the registered social landlord sector only. The Government have given no guidance to the Housing Corporation, or any other body, on stock market flotation by any of the above groups. While we will continue to look for ways to maximise the effectiveness of public and private provision in affordable housing and wider regeneration activity, flotation is not an option for registered social landlords under the current statutory regime.

Landlords: Antisocial Behaviour

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures she has taken to allow landlords to deal with tenants who display antisocial behaviour. [114249]

Yvette Cooper: Under the Housing Act 2004 private landlords of properties subject to the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and those subject to selective licensing, will be required to take reasonable steps to ensure that tenants are not causing problems within the boundaries of the property through antisocial behaviour.

The Act further provides authorities with new powers to take over the management of individual properties through Special Interim Management Orders (SIMOs) should individual landlords fail to tackle significant antisocial behaviour problems.

Leicester City Council

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings she has had with representatives of Leicester city council in the last 12 months; and who was present at each such meeting. [114959]

Angela E. Smith: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has had the following meeting:

Local Area Agreements

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the research document by Henry Peterson commissioned by her Department entitled “Evidence of savings, improved outcomes and good practice attributed to LAAs”. [114734]

Mr. Woolas: Yes. The research document will be published shortly, at which time a copy will be placed in the Library.


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Local Government Funding: Cumbria

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to increase the local government settlement awarded to South Lakeland district council for 2007-08. [114423]

Mr. Woolas: Consultation on the Local Government Finance Settlement closed on Friday 5 January 2007. I will take into account all the representations received during consultation when deciding whether to change my proposals. I have already said though that I do not intend to do so, except in exceptional circumstances.

The House will have a chance to debate the final proposals in due course.

Local Government Inspectorate

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has in relation to the number of (a) inspection regimes and (b) inspectorates that regulate local government. [114361]

Angela E. Smith: The Local Government White Paper set out proposals to introduce a new performance framework that will see a move away from automatic rolling programmes of inspection to an approach where inspection is triggered by risk.

Legislation has been introduced to create a single inspectorate for local services through the merger of the Audit Commission and Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, which will retain the name of the Audit Commission.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has for a single inspectorate of local government; and if she will make a statement. [114745]

Mr. Woolas: Legislation has been introduced to create a single inspectorate for local services through the merger of the Audit Commission and Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, which will retain the name of the Audit Commission.

Market Information Units

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what use the Valuation Office Agency makes of market information units; and if she will make a statement. [114755]

Mr. Woolas: The Valuation Office Agency uses its market information units to request rental, receipts and/or cost information from occupiers or owners of non-domestic properties to assist in preparing valuations for the purpose of compiling new rating lists or maintaining existing ones.

Mayor of London

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of strategic importance she proposes in connection with the new planning powers for the Mayor of London. [113425]


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Yvette Cooper: The draft Mayor of London Order was published on 9 January. It includes a definition of planning applications of strategic importance.

Official Travel

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether special advisers in her Department or its predecessor have made use of an official car in the last year, excluding travel when accompanying a Minister. [114426]

Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald), 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1063W.

Pensions

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average employer contribution is, as a percentage of pensionable salary, towards a local government pension scheme final salary pension. [114436]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner), 5 December 2006, Official Report, column 263W.

Performance Inspection

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what reductions in inspection have been implemented for (a) good and (b) excellent councils since the introduction of comprehensive performance assessment. [114437]

Mr. Woolas: Between 2001-02 and 2004-05 the total number of inspections the Audit Commission, Ofsted, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and Benefit Fraud Inspectorate carried out in excellent councils reduced by up to 72 per cent. and in good councils by up to 54 per cent.

Residential Land

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Department’s definition is of previously residential land; and whether it includes the whole curtilage of a previously domestic property. [114347]

Yvette Cooper: The definition of residential land in Land Use Change Statistics, both as a previous use and a new use, is: houses, flats, sheltered accommodation where residences have separate front entrances, and adjoining garages, gardens, estate roads and pathways (page 11 of Land Use Change Guidance on the Communities website

a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. The definition includes the curtilage of a residential property, and has done for many years.


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Retail Premises

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent progress has been made on encouraging the provision of residential property above retail premises. [112725]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 8 January 2007]: We are committed to bringing more empty property back into use and to encouraging conversion of redundant space for housing supply. We have introduced Empty Dwelling Management Orders as a last resort power for local authorities to deal with empty property where property owners refuse to deal with the problem and fiscal incentives in the form of VAT concessions and a Capital Allowances scheme specifically aimed at unoccupied space above shops.


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