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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) total public subsidy and (b) contributions through (i) capital grants, (ii) gifts of land, (iii) dowries and (iv) gap funding made available to registered social landlords have been since 1997; and what amount this represents per home. [105273]

Yvette Cooper: Capital grant is the major form of public subsidy provided to registered social landlords (RSLs). The following table shows the capital grant provided to RSLs in 2005-06, and the other public subsidy associated with the grant payments.

£ million

Total public subsidy


Capital grant


Gifts of land

Not available



Gap funding


(1 )On dowries provided as part of a large scale voluntary transfer I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 370W. We do not hold figures nationally. Details of dowry payments made are matters between the local authority and the registered social landlord.

The average grant per unit of a social rented scheme allocated through the Housing Corporation's affordable housing programme in 2005-06 was around £62,000. A further average £700 was provided through other public subsidy for these schemes.

In 2005-06 the Department entered into five new gap funding arrangements with registered social landlords who received negative value housing stock under large scale voluntary transfer arrangements. The 2005-06 gap funding payments of £3.9 million averaged £510 per property transferred to those five RSLs in that year. A total of 19 large scale voluntary transfers were completed in 2005-06.

Information on the average grant per RSL home funded by English Partnerships funding is not available.

Housing: Inspections

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department takes to ensure that applicants to become home inspectors are checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. [124818]

Yvette Cooper: A Criminal Records Bureau check is a mandatory requirement that must be undertaken by all potential home inspectors when they apply to join a home inspector certification scheme.

Housing: Lancashire

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new affordable houses were built in Lancashire in each of the last five years. [125315]

Yvette Cooper: The numbers of affordable homes provided in Lancashire in each of the last five years are tabulated as follows. Affordable housing includes social
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rent, low cost home ownership and other sub-market rental products. Some affordable housing units are provided through the acquisition and refurbishment of dwellings purchased on the open market and these figures are also included.

Affordable homes provided: Lancashire
Affordable homes provided( 1)











(1) Includes new build and acquisitions.
Housing Corporation, statistical returns from local authorities.

Lancashire has been defined to include the following local authorities: Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre, Blackpool (unitary) and Blackburn with Darwen (unitary).

Housing: Standards

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information she has on the standard assessment procedure (SAP) rating of homes, broken down by tenure, in (a) 1996, (b) 2001 and (c) the latest period for which figures are available; what the minimum SAP rating is to achieve the decent homes standard; and if she will make a statement. [124598]

Yvette Cooper: The English House Condition Survey (EHCS) reports for 1996, 2001 and 2004 give details of average SAP ratings for dwellings in England, broken down by dwelling type, age and tenure. Copies of these reports are available in the Library of the House, or from the Communities and Local Government website at

There is no specific SAP rating required by the decent homes standard. However, in order for a home to be decent it must have both efficient heating and effective insulation, and must be free of category 1 hazards under the housing health and safety rating system, including hazards from cold.

An SAP rating of less than 35 (using the 2001 SAP methodology) has been established as a proxy for the likely presence of a category 1 hazard from excess cold.

Neighbourhood Renewal

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how much funding each neighbourhood renewal area in England received directly from her Department and its predecessor to support regeneration projects in each year from 2001-02 to 2005-06; what funding has been allocated to each local authority for the same purpose in 2006-07 and 2007-08; to which programmes within each neighbourhood renewal area funding has been allocated; and how much was allocated to each programme. [114875]

Mr. Woolas [pursuant to the reply, 17 January 2007, Official Report, c. 1218W]: The Department for Communities and Local Government and its predecessors,
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the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR), provided £3.208 billion in direct funding to 90 neighbourhood renewal areas in England from 2001-02 to 2005-06; and has allocated £2.224 billion for the period 2006-07 to 2007-08. Total funding for the period 2001-02 to 2007-08 is £5.433 billion. A detailed breakdown of funding provided to each neighbourhood renewal area and the allocations for each local authority and each programme have been placed in the Library of the House.

Overcrowding: Eastbourne

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) households and (b) children are living in overcrowded housing in (i) Eastbourne and (ii) East Sussex. [125486]

Yvette Cooper: There are two measures of overcrowding—the statutory definition and the bedroom standard.

Using the bedroom standard, the only recent estimate of the number of overcrowded households in East Sussex is 4,000. This is from an ad hoc report based on combined data from both the Survey of English Housing and the Department for Work and Pensions’ Family Resources Survey for the three years 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03.

Reliable estimates for the number of children living in overcrowded accommodation in East Sussex are not available. Separate data for Eastbourne are also not available.

Estimates based on the statutory standard are not available because the underlying data are not collected systematically. A one-off estimate was made in 2004 that approximately 20,000 households across the whole of England were in conditions of overcrowding that breached the statutory standard. This estimate was based on data from the Survey of English Housing for the period 2000-01 to 2002-03 and from the 2001 English House Condition Survey. Equivalent estimates for East Sussex and Eastbourne are not available.

Public Footpaths

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it a requirement for planning authorities to consult the Ramblers Association and other recognised interest groups when planning applications are made under the Town and Country Planning Acts which include proposals for the creation of new public footpaths, cycleways and bridle paths. [124647]

Yvette Cooper: Local planning authorities are already required to inform these groups of changes to rights of way by sending them copies of the statutory notices of the relevant orders. The orders are the Town and Country Planning (Public Path Orders) Regulations 1993, the Public Path Orders Regulations 1993, the Wildlife and Countryside (Definitive Maps and Statements) Regulations 1993 and the Rail Crossing Extinguishment and Diversion Orders Regulations 1993.

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Department of the Environment circular 2/93 “Public Rights of Way” advised local authorities that they should also consult these groups before making these orders. We have no evidence that these long-standing arrangements are not working in practice.

My Department intends, however, to consult on matters relating to statutory consultees on planning applications later this year, and, it will be open to the Ramblers Association and other rights of way interests to make representations about their status as consultees.

Public Houses

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many building preservation notices were placed on public houses in each of the last three years; and if she will list them; [125070]

(2) how many successful appeals there were against building preservation notices placed on public houses in each of the last three years; and if she will list them. [125069]

Yvette Cooper: We have identified one public house, the Old Parr's Head in the London borough of Islington, which has been the subject of a building preservation notice over the last three years. That case did not result in the building being added to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. There is no procedure for appealing against building preservation notices.

Regeneration: Finance

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the name is of each organisation which has received funding from the Single Pot. [125878]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

Regional development agencies annually spend in excess of £1.7 billion of Single Pot funding with over 6,000 external organisations to deliver a variety of initiatives, services, and projects. The details of these transactions are not held centrally and so further information cannot be given owing to disproportionate costs.

Tattooing: Standards

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which councils in the UK operate a system of minimum standards and registration for tattoo parlours. [124888]

Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

Local authorities in England have powers to regulate businesses providing tattooing under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. The 1982 Act enables local authorities to require the registration of tattooing practitioners and premises and to introduce local byelaws about the hygiene of the practitioner, premises and equipment used.

Local tattooing byelaws are confirmed by the Secretary of State. However, information about those
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councils in England which have had local tattooing byelaws confirmed could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, as it would involve identifying, obtaining and examining departmental records dating back to 1982.

Local authorities in London generally use powers in private legislation to regulate tattooing businesses—the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1981 or the London Local Authorities Act 1991. Therefore, the Department does not hold the information requested relating to London local authorities.

Information relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be requested from the relevant administrations.

Valuation Office Agency

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2006, Official Report, column 474W, on the Valuation Office Agency, if she will give an example of a feature associated with a dwelling currently coded with WK that has value significance. [114574]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the VOA website at

Work and Pensions

Child Poverty

13. Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to reduce the level of child poverty in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [126374]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Work is the most sustainable route out of poverty. With record numbers of people in work, we are making good progress. This includes the Gentleman’s constituency where there is an 82 per cent. employment rate—which is even better than the UK average.

Departmental Office Closures

14. Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Chancellor of the Exchequer the effect of the closure of their Department’s offices in North Northamptonshire on numbers of jobseeker’s allowance claims in the area. [126375]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The number on JSA has fallen by a quarter in Wellingborough since May 1997. I have no current plans to meet the Home Secretary or the Chancellor to discuss these matters.

Personal Accounts

15. Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what responses he has received to his Command Paper, “Personal accounts: a new way to save”. [126376]

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James Purnell: The consultation on the detailed proposals set out in the White Paper ends on 20 March. The proposal to establish personal accounts has been broadly welcomed in this House and by many others. The contribution on our detailed proposals ends next week. In light of these responses it is our intention to bring forward legislation in the next parliamentary session.


16. Sir George Young: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support his Department has made available to those who lost occupational pensions prior to the introduction of the pensions protection fund. [126377]

James Purnell: The Pensions Act 2004 puts in place a range of measures to provide support, advice and protection to schemes and to scheme members.

In particular, the financial assistance scheme provides support for members of defined benefit occupational pension schemes which started to wind up, underfunded, between 1 January 1997 and 5 April 2005.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his oral statement in response to an intervention by the hon. Member for Leyton and Wanstead of 16 January 2007, Official Report, columns 668-69, on the Pensions Bill, if he will ensure that personal accounts in which individuals are auto-enrolled are by default subject to lifestyling; and if he will make a statement. [123239]

James Purnell: There will be a requirement for personal accounts to include a default investment fund for members who do not exercise an investment choice. The default investment fund will be lifestyled to ensure that risk is reduced as members approach retirement.

Other investment choices will exist for members and will be determined by the executive delivery authority and, subsequently, the personal accounts governing body, using their skills, expertise and consideration of the pension’s environment. These additional investment choices will take into account the needs of members and may or may not include lifestyling.

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