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16 Apr 2007 : Column 267W—continued

16 Apr 2007 : Column 268W

Gaming Clubs: Planning Permission

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local planning authorities may take the potential for an increase in problem gambling into account when considering the merits of a planning application for a casino or other venue with gambling facilities; and what guidance her Department has published on this issue. [128592]

Yvette Cooper: The Department has published no specific guidance on this issue. Planning policy statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development advises that the impact of development on the social fabric of communities is a consideration which should be taken into account in the development plan process—this would include the potential impact of the development of a casino, or any other type of development, on the community.

Whether or not a particular consideration is material in the determination of a planning application is a matter for the courts—if it is material, then it is a matter for the decision maker to decide what weight to give it. Any consideration which relates to the use or development of land is capable of being a material consideration.

Ground Rent: East Sussex

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeowners in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex pay rentcharge. [130927]

Mr. Woolas: The precise address and location of a particular property is required to access this information from the Land Registry. It is not possible to provide the quantity of homeowners paying a rentcharge without a description of all the properties relevant to the inquiry. Information on a particular premises can be obtained for a small charge by contacting the Land Registry.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many rentcharge payers the Government Office for East Sussex has arranged to receive redemption in each of the last five years. [130928]

Mr. Woolas: The National Rentcharge Unit based in the Government Office for the North West has the national responsibility for the administration and appraisal of all applications for the redemption and apportionment of a rentcharge using the provisions of the Rentcharges Act 1977.

Rentcharge redemption data is held at national level within the National Rentcharge Unit database and therefore does not enable us to produce a breakdown of details at regional or sub-regional level. However, a review of manual records shows that no applications have been received from the East Sussex area in the last five years.

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Hartlepool Borough Council: Government Assistance

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was awarded to Hartlepool Borough Council in government grants in each year since 1996. [131363]

Mr. Woolas: The information requested is not easily extracted from the available records and to produce this in the format required would take a considerable amount of time and the cost of compliance would far exceed the appropriate limit.

Heat: Wastes

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the potential for the use of currently unused waste heat from power plants in heat grids to distribute warmth in new sustainable communities. [129108]

Yvette Cooper: The Government are committed to responding to the challenges of climate change and the need for new homes in sustainable communities. On 13 December 2006, Communities and Local Government launched a consultation on the draft of a new Planning Policy Statement on climate change. This makes clear that new development should be located to optimise its carbon performance and make the most of existing and planned opportunities for decentralised, renewable and low-carbon energy supplies. In 2006 the Government amended Part L of the Building Regulations to increase energy efficiency standards. Without prescribing solutions, the regulations set standards for energy performance in a way that enables builders to take into account the benefits of renewable and on-site energy generating systems, thus encouraging their take-up.

Government have not made any specific assessment of the potential for the use of currently unused waste heat from power plants. As promised in the Energy Review Report, we have issued new and improved guidance to power station developers on meeting their combined heat and power obligations. This will encourage the waste heat from plants to be utilised for other purposes, including the distribution of heating in communities.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a full copy of the Central Office for Information Strategic Consultancy report on the impact of home information packs. [103902]

Yvette Cooper: The Strategic Consultancy arm of the Central Office of Information have not been commissioned to produce a report on the impact of home information packs. The COI were asked to advise on communications last June.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date (a) energy performance certificates and (b) home
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condition reports will become mandatory before a property can be put on the market. [129067]

Yvette Cooper: Energy performance certificates (EPCs) will become mandatory prior to marketing a property for sale from 1 June. An interim energy assessment will have to be provided from the same date for new build properties, and a full EPC for new build properties will be needed for these from October 2007.

Home condition reports (HCRs) are an authorised part of the Home Information Pack and we will continue to promote their roll-out from 1 June. The option of mandatory HCR’s remains on the table.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which organisations, agencies and Departments will have access to the Home Condition Report database. [129253]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1400W.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) a home information pack and (b) an energy performance certificate will be required to purchase an equity stake under the Social Homebuy scheme. [129233]

Yvette Cooper: Home Information Packs are only required for properties put up for sale on the open market. Sales under the Social HomeBuy scheme to sitting tenants by housing associations and local authorities do not involve marketing and therefore do not need a pack. From October 2008, the provisions of the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 come into force for non-marketed residential sales and for rental properties and an EPC will be required at that time.


David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of surplus homes in the North West region which remain to be demolished before restrictions on the number of homes which may be built by local authorities in Cumbria may be removed. [129866]

Yvette Cooper: The existing RSS, which was set out on 31 March 2003, allows for 1,170 dwellings (net of clearance replacement) to be built in Cumbria per year. The total figure for housing in the NW region is 12,790 per year reflecting household growth and the need to support regeneration at that time. The RSS is currently being revised.

Long-term out-migration trends from the core urban areas have been reversed. To reflect this, to cater for increased household projections, to take account of ambitions for economic growth, and to address affordability issues, the draft RSS is proposing an increase of almost 80 per cent. to 22,844—and this is in addition to houses built to replace any demolished.

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The draft new RSS allows for 1,850 dwellings a year in Cumbria. We await their report and will prepare Proposed Changes to the document in the light of this. We anticipate that the Final RSS will be published at the end of this year.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department and its predecessor allocated for (a) major repairs allowance, (b) housing revenue account subsidy, (c) regional housing executive allocations for council housing, (d) regional housing executive allocations for registered social landlord housing, (e) Approved Development Programme for Housing Corporation, (f) arm's length management organisations, (g) private finance initiatives and (h) stock transfer in (i) England, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) Birmingham in each year since 1997-98. [129907]

Yvette Cooper: The data has been compiled in a series of tables and is lodged in the Library of the House.

The different funding streams referred to in the tables have different financial bases. They relate to the permission to borrow, grants and allowances, this affects how they can be presented with some past figures being allocations but some are actual spend.

(a) Major repairs allowance represents the estimated long-term average amount of capital spending required to maintain a local authority's housing stock in its current condition. The figures are an allowance within the HRA subsidy system.

(b) Housing revenue account subsidy refers to the entitlement local authorities receive from Government to support their housing programmes. 2005-06 is the latest year for which audited figures are available. The figures provided in the table are the annual subsidy entitlement.

(c) Supported capital expenditure is the level of borrowing for capital purposes that is supported by the Government through Housing Revenue Account Subsidy. This value is based on the Regional Housing Boards' allocations.

(d/e) Regional Housing Board recommendations for investment in affordable housing is distributed via the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme as a grant (formerly the Approved Development Programme). It provides investment to Registered Social Landlords and other developers for the provision of homes for social rent and low cost home ownership.

(f) Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) allowance represents revenue support payable to local authorities to finance borrowing for ALMO purposes.

(g) Housing PFI subsidy payments support the capital costs of PFI projects. HRA subsidy payments are made via the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy System, and payments for General Fund schemes via the General Fund.

(h) Stock transfers can involve two types of expenditure. Payments to the Public Works Loan Board to clear Overhanging Debt held by LAs attributable to transferred housing, and gap funding
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payments which are grants to some RSLs who receive negative value transferred housing.

Housing Associations: Charities

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what basis housing associations and trusts are granted charitable status. [130609]

Yvette Cooper: All bodies which exist for purposes which are recognised as charitable in law and operate for the benefit of the public are required to register with the Charity Commission as charities, unless they are exempt or excepted from the need to do so. Housing associations which wish to become Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), registration is dependent on the housing association meeting the Charity Commission and the Housing Corporation's registration criteria.

In addition, RSLs that are charitable Industrial and Provident Act Societies (IPS) have to meet the Housing Corporation and Financial Services Authority's (FSA) registration criteria. The Charity Commission cannot register these bodies. They are registered as legal entities by the FSA with charitable objects (standard model clauses agreed by the Charity Commission, FSA, National Housing Federation and the Housing Corporation). IPS housing associations can apply to the Inland Revenue for recognition as a charity. If recognised they are known as exempt charities. Currently 680 housing associations fall into this category.

Housing Corporation

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) projected and (b) actual expenditure by the Housing Corporation was in each English region in each of the last three years. [115783]

Yvette Cooper: The following table shows actual expenditure through the Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Programme in each English region for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06. Expenditure is projected for each region and reviewed several times in the year.

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Outturn Estimated
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07( 1) 2007-08( 1)







South East






South West






East of England






East Midlands






West Midlands






Yorkshire and Humberside






North East






North West












(1) Regional expenditure limits as at end January 2007
Housing Corporation

The detailed split of expenditure in 2006-07 and 2007-08 reflects the individual programmes in each region. Each region has a two year completions target with some flexibility between the two years to enable: flexible programming.

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