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26 Jun 2007 : Column 627W—continued


Details of staff who joined the Ministry of Justice from the Home Office are currently being collated. Therefore it has not been possible to identify Ministry of Justice staff on former Home Office terms (including from the National Offender Management Service) who received bonuses under their previous schemes within the available timescales.

Domestic Violence

Sarah Teather: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what funds are available to assist the victims of domestic violence in escaping from abusive situations. [144636]

Meg Munn: I have been asked to reply.

Domestic violence is a cross-Government priority led by the Inter-Ministerial Group for Domestic Violence. The group comprises Ministers from nine Government Departments and the three devolved Administrations.

The budgets outlined as follows contribute towards the delivery of the National Delivery Plan for Domestic Violence which focuses on a range of key work objectives from early intervention and prevention through to developing a coordinated community response to tackling domestic violence.

Communities and Local Government provide a part of the funding that assists victims of domestic violence to escape abusive situations,


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Government provide other funding to help support victims of domestic violence. In 2006-07 the Home Office allocated £6 million to tackle domestic violence:

In 2007-08 Ministry of Justice/Her Majesty’s Court Service provided a further £3 million for the expansion of the network of Independent Domestic Violence Advisers that support the Specialist Domestic Violence Courts.

Communities and Local Government

Aerials: Planning Permission

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to change the planning laws so that Network Rail has the same requirements to seek planning permission from local communities when erecting GSM-R communication masts as commercial mobile telephone operators. [145190]

Yvette Cooper: There are no current plans to change the permitted development rights for railway undertakers to erect communication masts.

Affordable Homes

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the latest estimate is of the average sale price of an affordable home produced in each of the areas participating in the design for manufacture competition. [111939]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Milton Keynes North-East (Mr. Lancaster) on 6 March 2007, Official Report, column 1890W.

In this answer I set out precise details for one of the sites in the competition that is one of the first to reach the stage of having completed homes available. On this site, Renny Lodge, we expect people will be able to purchase a 30 per cent. equity stake in a two bedroom home available under Homebuy shared ownership arrangements for between £42,000 and £46,800. The homes available through the First Time Buyers Initiative will typically be available at equity stakes from 50 per cent. starting at around £71,500 for a one bedroom flat.

The other nine sites are at different stages of construction and are spread around the country. The prices of the units for sale will reflect the land value, the local market at the time they go on sale and the equity share as well as the construction cost. However, all sites will include a proportion of affordable housing. This includes social rent and different kinds of shared ownership. We expect that an equity stake in a home, through either shared equity or shared ownership arrangements, will be available on every site
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other than the one in Hastings for a cost of £60,000 to £70,000. On the Hastings site all of the 15 units will be for affordable rent.

Arm’s Length Management Organisations: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the funding arrangements will be for arm's length management organisations after the Decent Homes Standard period has passed in 2010; and if she will make a statement. [145537]

Yvette Cooper: Arm’s length management organisations (ALMOs) secure their funding through a management fee from the local authority. The resources available to the local authority flow from the HRA subsidy system, its capital receipts and any prudential borrowing it takes on. This funding arrangement will remain after the Decent Homes programme is complete.

Association of Home Information Providers: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding the Government have provided to the Association of Home Information Providers. [145136]

Yvette Cooper: The Department has not provided any funding to the Association of Home Information Pack Providers and has no plans to do so.

Community Relations: Bingo

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will assess (a) the contribution of bingo clubs to community cohesion and (b) the impact on communities of the closure of bingo clubs. [139604]

Mr. Woolas: The Government have no plans to assess the contribution of bingo clubs to community cohesion or the impact on communities of the closure of bingo clubs.

However, we recognise the important role that bingo halls play in communities around the country. As a Government we are keen to continue to support an industry which provides so much enjoyment to millions of players each week, and which is an important source of employment.

It should also be noted that the Gambling Act 2005 already introduces a range of measures designed to support the bingo industry and other sectors of the gambling industry and I know that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is keen to continue to work closely with the industry to see what more can be done to help bingo.

Council Tax: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 315W, on the Valuation Office, (1) how many properties in each local authority billing area in England are recorded by
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the Valuation Office Agency as having the property attribute of (a) one bathroom and (b) two or more bathrooms; [124428]

(2) how many domestic dwellings in England are recorded by the Agency as having the property attribute of (a) one parking space, (b) two parking spaces, (c) three parking spaces and (d) four or more parking spaces; [124429]

(3) how many domestic dwellings in England are recorded by the Agency as having the property attribute of (a) one bedroom, (b) two bedrooms, (c) three bedrooms and (d) four or more bedrooms. [124430]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Valuation Office Agency’s Automated Valuation Model (a) uses and (b) holds data from the Index of Multiple Deprivation. [143463]

Mr. Woolas: No.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many individual domestic dwellings (a) have had their property records updated or amended by the Valuation Office Agency using information from Rightmove since the contract was signed and (b) had their records so updated or amended in the last year for which figures are available. [143468]

Mr. Woolas: This information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Councillors: Data Protection

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has produced on the requirements councillors have to register under the Data Protection Act 1998 when acting in their capacity as a representative of the residents of their ward. [143466]

Angela E. Smith: The Department has issued no guidance of the sort described. The Information Commissioner has issued a guidance note aimed at elected and prospective members of local authorities, about how the Act applies to them.

The note is available on the Commissioner’s website at:

Departments: Surveys

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff surveys her Department undertook in the last 12 months; and at what total cost. [145254]


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Angela E. Smith: During the last 12 months, the Department has completed the first of four quarterly staff surveys at a total cost, to date, of £42,770.

Energy: Conservation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Government's target is for the number of (a) homes with an excellent building regulations energy efficiency rating and (b) zero-carbon homes to be built in each year in England. [145535]

Angela E. Smith: Building Regulations set minimum standards for energy efficiency. Changes we have already made to Building Regulations mean that the energy efficiency of new houses has improved by 70 per cent. compared to pre-1990 levels. We have also consulted on proposals to further strengthen Building Regulations over the next decade such that all new homes will be required to be zero carbon in terms of their net emissions over the course of a year from 2016.

Homes built with Government funding are taking the lead here. All new Government funding for homes built by registered landlords and other developers, for example through the Housing Corporation, will now make it a condition that they achieve a 3-star rating in the Code for Sustainable Homes—25 per cent. better than current Building Regulations.

We expect that changes to the Building Regulations, the Code for Sustainable Homes, the carbon challenge and the stamp duty relief for new zero carbon homes will all encourage the development of highly energy efficient and zero carbon homes. We do not have targets of the type referred to but we will be monitoring progress carefully.

Equal Opportunities

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to be in a position to introduce a Single Equalities Bill. [141109]

Mr. Woolas: The Government have given a commitment to introduce a Single Equality Act during the lifetime of this Parliament. Proposals for a Single Equality Bill will be published for public consultation, shortly. The Discrimination Law Review was published on the 12 June 2007.

European Regional Development Fund

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she was first notified by the European Commission of the prospect of European Regional Development Fund payments being suspended; on what grounds the payments are being suspended; what form this notification took; what action she has taken in response; and if she will make a statement. [135790]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 8 May 2007]: Officials from the European Commission informed us orally and wrote to the United Kingdom in November 2006 indicating an intention to advise the Commission
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to hold back the reimbursement of expenditure by the Government on the ERDF 2000-06 programmes in England. In particular, the European Commission wanted us to carry out more physical on-site checking of projects to ensure compliance with particular EU budget criteria. Formal notification was received on 11 April 2007. Action to increase the level of on-site checks began June last year in addition to strengthened management of the processes involved. A robust action plan has been in place for some time and we have made significant progress which has meant that four of the nine regions were not included in the Commission’s formal decision. Further work is under way with the Commission to meet their requirements.

Fire Prevention: Tourism

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to fire authorities on the need for fire risk assessments in (a) single unit and (b) multiple unit self-catering properties for tourists. [145894]

Angela E. Smith: The Department has issued 11 guides dealing with a range of different types of premises. The guides are intended to assist both fire and rescue authorities and the person responsible in the interpretation and application of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Guide No. 3 deals with sleeping accommodation and includes advice on the need for fire safety risk assessments for both single and multiple unit properties. The guides are freely available on the Department’s website:

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what actions her Department has taken to ensure the consistent interpretation and enforcement by fire authorities of fire risk assessments undertaken in respect of self-catering tourist providers; and if she will make a statement. [145895]

Angela E. Smith: The Department has issued 11 guides dealing with a range of different types of premises. The guides are intended to assist both fire and rescue authorities and the person responsible for a premises to establish what fire precautions may be necessary for a particular case. Guide No 3 deals with sleeping accommodation and includes advice on fire safety risk assessment for self-catering tourist accommodation. The guides are freely available on the Department's website at www.communities.gov.uk.

Home Information Packs

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2007, Official Report, column 1529W, on home information packs, when the copy of the concession agreement will be placed in the Library. [143454]

Yvette Cooper: A copy of the concession agreement has been placed in the Library of the House.


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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings her Department's special advisers had with the Association of Home Information Providers in the last 12 months. [145183]

Yvette Cooper: Advisers met with the Association of Home Information Pack Providers once on 22 August 2006.


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