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Communities and Local Government

Compulsory Purchase: Liverpool

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which of her Ministers have visited the Liverpool streets designated by her for clearance by compulsory purchase order for the Pathfinder development; and on what dates those visits took place. [133672]

Yvette Cooper: On 4 October 2006 Baroness Andrews visited some of the intervention areas of the Merseyside housing market renewal pathfinder area, although not
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the areas included in the compulsory purchase orders approved in March 2007. Previously, in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, a number of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Ministers visited the Pathfinder area.

Council Housing: Property Transfer

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which councils’ tenants voted against large scale voluntary transfer in each year since 1997. [131053]

Yvette Cooper: A table listing all transfer ballots by year since 1997 has been placed in the Library of the House.

Departments: European Council

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many EU Council meetings she has attended since taking up her post; and who represents her if she is unable to attend. [133755]

Angela E. Smith: The Secretary of State has not attended an EU Council meeting since taking up her post. If the Secretary of State is unable to attend, then the meeting would be delegated to her ministerial team. A member of the ministerial team would then attend, diary permitting.

Departments: Planning

Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps are taken by her Department to include (a) older people and (b) people with disabilities in strategic planning, policy making and the delivery of the services they use. [132907]

Yvette Cooper: Involvement of older and disabled people is integral to the formation of Communities and Local Government policies that affect them. Examples of recent and forthcoming consultations on my Department's policies include those on the Supporting People programme, the review of Disabled Facilities Grants, and the National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society. Disabled people were also consulted in the formation of my Department's disability equality scheme, which sets out what we will be doing over the next three years to improve equality of opportunity for disabled people, and has been commended by the Disability Rights Commission.

In addition, the recently published Local Government White Paper encourages local authorities to target groups and communities who may in the past have been marginalised, including older and disabled people's groups, when discharging their new duty to ‘inform, consult, involve and devolve’.

Departments: Renewable Energy

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much energy in kilowatt hours was purchased by her Department from renewable sources in the most recent year for which figures are available. [134993]

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Angela E. Smith: In the year 2005-06(1), the amount of energy purchased from renewable sources by Communities and Local Government was as follows:

Renewable energy purchased
Kilowatt hours

Headquarter buildings




This answer does not include the buildings occupied by Government offices, who carry out functions on behalf of 10 Government Departments.

Departments are mandated to source at least 10 per cent. of electricity from renewable sources by March 2008.

Data relating to the Department’s energy consumption and its performance against all the Government estate sustainable operations targets is available in the Sustainable Development Commission’s Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) Report 2006 found at:

Equality Act 2006

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which religious organisations she has met to discuss the Equality Act 2006; and how many such meetings she has had. [122249]

Mr. Woolas: A range of meetings have been held between religious organisations and Ministers and officials about issues related to the Equality Act 2006. These have included meetings with representatives of interfaith groups, the Church of England, the Catholic Church, the Christian Institute, the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, the Evangelical Alliance, faith-based schools and adoption agencies, and Scottish religious groups.

Homebuy Scheme

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether tenants purchasing an equity stake in a property under the Social HomeBuy scheme are responsible for the entire maintenance costs of the property. [129278]

Yvette Cooper: Housing association and local authority tenants purchasing a share in their rented home at a discount under the Social HomeBuy pilot scheme assume financial responsibility for all maintenance costs. The Government are currently exploring different options for tenants purchasing small shares.

Housing Revenue Accounts

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much on average local authorities in England paid back to the Exchequer from their housing revenue account in each year since 1990. [131845]

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Yvette Cooper: Figures for the period 1990-91 to 1993-94 can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Details of net negative/positive housing revenue account subsidy amounts for England for the period 1994-95 to 2005-06 (the last year for which audited figures are available) have been given in the following table. In 2001, the Major Repairs Allowance was introduced to increase the resources available to local authorities to improve their housing. The figures given in the table show the housing element of HRA subsidy for 1994-95 to 2003-04 inclusive and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) subsidy for 2004-05 and 2005-06. The Local Government Act 2003 changed the way HRA Subsidy is accounted for and the figures are presented in line with current accounting practice. HRA Subsidy for 2004-05 (to date) is the precise equivalent of the housing element in prior years.

Financial year Amounts distributed to authorities in deficit Amounts contributed by authorities in surplus( 1) Net expenditure by Exchequer( 2)

















































(1 )Prior to 31 March 2004 no surpluses (shown as negative figures) were returned to the Exchequer. HRA Subsidy was paid as a net amount after an offset was made between the housing and rent rebate elements. These amounts were not available to authorities for expenditure on their housing stock as they represent a saving to the Exchequer.
(2 )Remaining surpluses after the offset (shown as negative figures) remained with the individual local authority and were transferred to their General Fund and lost to housing. This practice ended on 1 April 2004 and the resources are retained within the subsidy regime.
(3 )The introduction of the Major Repairs Allowance on 1 April 2001 reduced surpluses by £1.5 billion and put the national system into overall deficit with the Exchequer making up the difference.

Housing: Water Supply

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role water companies have in the planning of housebuilding programmes; and whether consideration is being given to making them statutory consultees in the planning process. [134382]

Angela E. Smith [holding answer 27 April 2007]: Water companies are already statutory consultees on regional spatial strategies (RSSs) and local development plan documents (DPDs) since water resource issues are an important consideration in determining the pattern of development.

Under the plan-led system, planning applications are determined in accordance with the development plan (the RSS and DPDs) unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

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Local Government Finance

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding from Housing Revenue Account rental income each local authority in England used to pay service debt charges in 2006-07. [133362]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 23 April 2007]: This information is not yet available; data from local authorities for 2006-07 is not due to be submitted to my Department until 31 December this year.

Mortgages: Public Sector

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of red-lining on the mortgageability of public sector property; what steps she is taking to seek an end to the practice; what assessment she has made of the effect that an extended capping regime would have on the mortgageability of properties; and if she will make a statement. [134206]

Yvette Cooper: No such assessments have been made. It is for individual lenders to decide, in the light of local circumstances, whether to lend on individual properties. However, the Government will not approve a lender for Right to Buy purposes under section 156 of the Housing Act 1985 if inquiries suggest that it operates a policy of not lending on certain types of property.

Overcrowding: Greater London

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how the £19 million to fund innovative schemes to tackle overcrowding in London announced on 20 November 2006 has been allocated, broken down by local authority. [133603]

Yvette Cooper: The following table shows the total amount for each borough in receipt of an allocation of regional housing pot funding in 2006-07 for pilot schemes to tackle overcrowding in London:

Local authority Allocation (£)









Hammersmith and Fulham


















Tower Hamlets






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Right to Buy Scheme

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to amend the Housing (Right to Buy) (Information to Secure Tenants) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No.1735) to include a requirement that the type of construction and any known defects associated with the type of construction should be included in the seller’s information. [134180]

Yvette Cooper: There are no plans to do this. Section 125 of the Housing Act 1985 already requires social landlords to inform tenants who apply to purchase their homes under the Right to Buy scheme of any structural defect known to the landlord.

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