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4 Jun 2007 : Column 178W—continued


Combined Heat and Power: Schools

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills of 10 May 2007, Official Report, columns 365-6W, on schools: combined heat and power, if she will take steps to encourage more local planning authorities to require the installation of renewable energy facilities in new schools to supply a proportion of the building’s energy load. [138370]

Yvette Cooper: The written ministerial statement of 8 June 2006 about the Government’s planning policies for renewable energy (PPS22) encouraged local planning authorities to take a positive approach to securing on-site renewables in new developments. In doing so, it was made clear that all planning authorities are expected to include policies in their development plans that require a percentage of the energy in new developments to come from on-site renewables where it is viable. Officials sent a copy of the written ministerial statement to all English planning authorities.

We have also recently consulted on a draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) “Planning and Climate Change”. This sets out our proposals on how planning should make a full contribution to reducing emissions and stabilising climate change. These include giving greater emphasis to local renewable and low carbon sources for supplying the energy needs of new developments, including new schools.


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Council Housing: Middlesbrough

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in (a) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and (b) (i) Middlesbrough and (ii) Redcar and Cleveland council areas are on waiting lists for council housing. [139735]

Yvette Cooper: The constituency of Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland covers a large proportion of the Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough council areas. Information is not collected at the constituency level, only at local authority level and includes households rather than people.

The number of households on the waiting list for social housing in (b) (i) Middlesbrough and (ii) Redcar and Cleveland, as at 1 April each year, is published on the Communities and Local Government website in table 600. The links for this table is given as follows, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House:

Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. 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.

Council Housing: Sales

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of the sale price of council houses in (a) Swindon and (b) England was spent on social housing in each of the last five years. [131085]

Yvette Cooper: On disposal of a council house, for instance through the right to buy, 75 per cent. of the capital receipt is recycled for investment and the local authority is free to use the remaining 25 per cent. for any capital purpose it sees fit.

Capital investment in social housing for the last five years has been greater than the value of recycled capital receipts generated by the sale of council housing, in Swindon and nationally. Since 1997 the Government have consistently invested more in housing than they have received in receipts.

Until 2004-05 the mechanism for recycling of housing capital receipts for with-debt authorities (such as Swindon) was for the authority to set-aside 75 per cent. of the capital receipt for repayment of debt. Less debt meant less debt for Government to subsidise, allowing that saved resource to be directed to support new investment where the need was greatest. On 1 April 2004 the introduction of the 'Prudential regime' abolished set-aside and pooling became the mechanism for the recycling of housing receipts for investment.


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Council Tax: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the total administrative cost of the council tax revaluation in England, including valuations and appeals. [127052]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government (Mr. Woolas) to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell) on 29 March 2007, Official Report, column 1729W.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many domestic properties in (a) Solihull, (b) Birmingham and (c) England are classified by the Valuation Office Agency with the Value Significance feature code of OS. [129756]

Mr. Woolas: As at 3 March 2007 the numbers were 0 in Solihull, six in Birmingham and 3,944 in England.

Departments: Legal Costs

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent by her Department on legal fees in each of the last five years. [139408]

Angela E. Smith: Expenditure on external legal advice commissioned through the legal directorate of the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, is set out in the following table. Records of any other expenditure on legal fees, including those incurred by other predecessor departments, are not held centrally and to provide this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Legal Fees
£

2006-07

108,000

2005-06

85,000

2004-05

108,000

2003-04

102,000

2002-03

87,000


Departments: Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of her Department’s special advisers were on (a) paid and (b) unpaid leave in order to assist with party political matters under section 22 (iii) of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers on 16 May 2007; and how many days’ leave each adviser was granted. [140118]

Angela E. Smith: Communities and Local Government’s special advisers’ involvement in party political matters is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, including section 22 (iii), and the guidance issued by the Cabinet Secretary in December 2006 and May 2007, copies of which are in the Libraries of the House. No special adviser took leave on 16 May 2007.


4 Jun 2007 : Column 181W

Departments: Publicity

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) advertising agencies and (b) other organisations supplied consultancy services for advertising campaigns for (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the cost of these services was. [139429]

Angela E. Smith: Communities and Local Government was created on 5 May 2006. Under the terms of the Department's framework agreement for the supply of advertising services, Communities and Local Government does not commission consultancy services from advertising agencies.

Wider consulting projects with other organisations may influence some advertising campaigns, but it is not possible to separate out the costs which apply to advertising. COI Strategic Consultancy is the only organisation to have directly provided consultancy services to the Department for advertising campaigns. The cost of these services in the Financial Year 2006-07 was £47,298. COI Strategic Consultancy has not done any work for the Department this financial year.

Figures for the Department's agencies are not held centrally and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

Disadvantaged: ICT

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what criteria she uses to determine membership of the Digital Challenge Inclusion network; [139987]

(2) what funding will be available for the Digital Challenge Inclusion network in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09; [139988]

(3) what further projects are planned by councils to increase digital inclusion by those councils who were runners up in the Digital Challenge bid; [139989]

(4) whether she plans a further round of Digital Challenge funding. [139990]

Angela E. Smith: A £2 million Digital Inclusion Fund was announced to support the Digital Challenge 10 finalists, in addition to the award to the Digital Challenge winner. There is no separate funding to support the Digital Challenge Inclusion Network and there are no specific criteria to determine the membership of the Digital Inclusion Network. It is established as an open forum for dialogue and discussion to all sectors and individuals interested in tackling social exclusion through digital inclusion.

The Digital Challenge runners-up are developing a range of themed projects to increase digital inclusion in their authorities and regions. The current draft themes include Flexible Working for Social Inclusion around the Homeshoring concept; the Digital Environment focussing specifically on ICT, climate change and inclusion; Independent Living and Healthy Living; Digital TV and Digital Switchover; and Community engagement and delivery of LSP targets. There are no current plans for a further round of Digital Challenge funding.


4 Jun 2007 : Column 182W

Electric Cables: Planning Permission

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to issue planning guidance on (a) the building of new homes and schools within 60 metres of high voltage power lines and (b) the building of new power lines within 60 metres of homes. [139882]

Meg Munn: Government have sought advice from the Health Protection Agency on the recently published report by the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields. Government are considering the implications of the report's conclusions and recommendations and will respond in due course.

European Regional Development Fund

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what projects will be affected by the suspension by the European Commission of payments under the European Regional Development Fund to (a) London, (b) the North West, (c) the North East, (d) the West Midlands, (e) Humberside, Yorkshire and (f) the East of England. [135781]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 8 May 2007]: No projects should be affected by the EC decision to postpone reimbursement of expenditure on the ERDF 2000-06 programmes because the Government will continue to honour commitments to projects and they will continue to be paid where they make claims for eligible expenditure.

Homebuy Scheme

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many social tenants have access to the Social Homebuy scheme. [129271]

Yvette Cooper: The Social Homebuy pilot enables tenants of participating local authorities and housing associations to purchase a share in their rented home at a discount. Four housing associations and one local authority began offering Social Homebuy initially and a further 74 housing associations and five local authorities are now joining the pilot. Some landlords are offering the scheme widely across their stock. Others are targeting specific estates, locations or local authority areas. We estimate that the pilot scheme will be available this year across 5 per cent. of social stock.

Homelessness

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were classified as falling into the category used in the Answer of 13 December 2002, Official Report, column 702W, homeless households accepted as eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need by local authorities in each of the last five years. [136740]


4 Jun 2007 : Column 183W

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 the main homelessness duty, is published in our quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, which is placed in the Library each quarter, and is also available on our website:

The number of homeless acceptances for the last five years can be found in Table 1 (note that the acceptance figures provided in the Answer of 13 December 2002 have since been revised).

The duty owed to a household accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

Homelessness: Ex-servicemen

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department issues to local authorities on the homeless status of members of HM Armed Forces who resign; and if she will make a statement. [138447]

Yvette Cooper: The Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities (published in July 2006) contains guidance on the circumstances in which people leaving the armed forces would have a priority need for accommodation.

Housing

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new
4 Jun 2007 : Column 184W
(a) local authority and (b) housing association properties were (i) started and (ii) completed in 2005-06, broken down by local authority. [112111]

Yvette Cooper: The numbers of local authority and registered social landlord affordable homes completed in 2005-06 by local authority have been tabulated and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. This includes new build and acquisitions. Information on the number of affordable homes started in 2005-06 is not held centrally.

Information on starts and completions is limited to social rent only and can be found on the Communities and Local Government web site:

This information comes from building control inspections and may underestimate the number of social rent dwellings provided since tenure may be unknown at that time.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) social rented and (b) shared ownership houses were built in (i) rural and (ii) non-rural areas in each year since 1990; what each figure represents (A) per 1,000 population and (B) per 1,000 households; and if she will make a statement. [118684]

Yvette Cooper: The numbers of additional social rent and low cost home ownership homes provided in local authorities classified as either urban or rural are shown in the following table. For 2006-07 provisional figures indicate that around 25,000 social rented homes were provided and 19,500 low cost home ownership homes. For 2007-08 we are currently estimating that 30,000 social rented homes will be provided and around 25,000 low cost home ownership. The table includes homes provided through both new build and acquisitions.


4 Jun 2007 : Column 185W

4 Jun 2007 : Column 186W
Social rent and low cost home ownership homes provided in urban and rural local authority areas( 1) : England

1991-92

1992-93

1993-94

1994-95

1995-96

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

Social rent homes provided(2)

Urban

13,106

36,881

31,598

34,464

37,172

27,940

23,040

21,825

18,458

Rural

4,364

15,620

14,120

14,927

16,817

13,463

11,970

11,547

10,170

Unknown local authority(4)

8,235

4,522

3,223

2,799

2,960

1,062

770

188

64

Total

25,705

57,023

48,941

52,190

56,949

42,465

35,780

33,560

28,692

Social rent homes provided per 1,000 population(3)

Urban

0.70

0.59

Rural

0.65

0.57

Total

0.54

1.19

1.02

1.08

1.18

0.88

0.74

0.69

0.59

Social rent homes provided per 1,000 households(3)

Urban

1.72

1.45

Rural

1.59

1.39

Total

1.34

2.96

2.52

2.68

2.90

2.15

1.81

1.68

1.43

Low cost home ownership homes provided

Urban

3,256

6,662

10,877

11,526

12,588

10,155

8,245

6,638

3,712

Rural

574

1,711

3,080

3,660

4,462

3,730

3,103

2,114

1,302

Unknown local authority

139

325

838

3,014

531

156

141

0

12

Total

3,969

8,698

14,795

18,200

17,581

14,041

11,489

8,752

5,026

Low cost home ownership homes provided per 1,000 population(3)

Urban

0.33

0.27

0.21

0.12

Rural

0.21

0.18

0.12

0.07

Total

0.08

0.18

0.31

0.38

0.36

0.29

0.24

0.18

0.10

Low cost home ownership homes provided per 1,000 households(3)

Urban

0.81

0.65

0.52

0.29

Rural

0.52

0.43

0.29

0.18

Total

0.21

0.45

0.76

0.93

0.90

0.71

0.58

0.44

0.25


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