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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 houseparticularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the maximum cost of housing deemed affordable in Cornwall is; and how many houses (a) built in Cornwall in the last 10 years and (b) in total in Cornwall have a value at or below that figure. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 24 July 2007]: Whether market housing is affordable depends on a number of factors relevant to individuals looking to purchase a home. It is not possible to specify a single price for what would be affordable in Cornwall. However, the lower quartile price for new dwellings sold in Cornwall was around £135,250 in 2006 (i.e. 25 per cent. of new dwellings sold were at or below this price).
the Government defines affordable housing as including social rented and intermediate housing
|Total new build and total affordable new build, 1996-97 to 2005-06|
|Total new build||Affordable new build|
Statistical returns from local authorities, Housing Corporation
New build registered social landlord and council dwellings only make up part of the affordable supply; the remainder being acquired by registered social landlords. Between 1996-97 and 2005-06, acquisitions by registered social landlords numbered 917, taking the total affordable housing provision in Cornwall to 4,141 over the period.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what minimum standards of (a) quality and (b) availability of services apply to affordable housing provided by (i) private developers and (ii) registered social landlords. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 9 July 2007]: Registered social landlords (RSLs) are expected to meet the Housing Corporations Regulatory Code and guidance (available on the Corporations website) to provide good-quality housing services for residents and prospective residents:
By seeking to offer a choice of home, while giving reasonable preference to those in priority housing need;
By offering the most secure form of tenure compatible with the purpose of the housing and the sustainability of the community;
With agreements that clearly set out residents and landlords rights and obligations;
By being responsive to the individual characteristics and circumstances of residents;
By using lettings policies that are fair and reflect the diversity of their client groups, and
By providing high standards of customer care.
Private developers and other unregistered bodies in receipt of social housing grant from the Housing Corporation for new affordable housing are required to meet similar standards where they retain ownership of the homes.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has placed any financial limits on her Department's definition of affordable for the purpose of the granting of planning permissions for residential development on (a) unfettered sites where a quota of affordable homes applies and (b) exceptions sites. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Affordable housing is defined in Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing. Its definition includes that such housing should meet the needs of eligible households, including availability at a cost low enough for them to afford, determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. We have no plans to change that definition.
Mr. Iain Wright: Professor John Hills' review of social housing Ends and means: The future role of social housing in England sets out an objective and comprehensive platform to support the debate on social housing reform and inform policy development going forwardit does not make any specific recommendations for Government.
As the Housing Green Paper Homes for the future: more affordable, more Sustainable, published on 23 July 2007 announces, we will set out new proposals in response to the Hills' review in the autumn.
Mr. Iain Wright: Expanded Open Market HomeBuy is delivered through 23 housing associations, 'HomeBuy Agents', who provide a one stop shop for low cost home ownership opportunities in their area. The scheme is not delivered through councils, but they work with HomeBuy agents to ensure that those in priority need of social housing and existing social tenants get priority for the scheme.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many domestic properties in England have (a) small-scale wind turbines and (b) solar panels, according to Valuation Office Agency valuation records. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government's Supporting People grant programme provided around £12.8 million to home improvement agencies in 2005-06. This contributes to their core costs, with additional revenue funding met from local authority housing funding and fee income from public grants, including the Department's Disabled Facilities Grant. Over half of the estimated £99.5 million annual capital funding for works for home improvement agency clients comes from the Disabled Facilities Grant.
The Department also sponsors a national co-ordinating body for home improvement agencies (foundations) to support the work of home improvement agencies in a number of ways, including capacity building within the sector.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many domestic dwellings with four or more bedrooms were sold in England in the last 12 months according to figures held by the Valuation Office Agency. 
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Departments expenditure was on legal fees for the judicial reviews brought by (a) the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and (b) Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council. 
(a) Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors: £19,830;
(b) Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council: £10,877.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many contracts with social enterprises each council in England has; and what the total value is of such contracts. 
John Healey: The 2007 Budget set down a baseline ambition of 3 per cent. annual cashable efficiencies for local government as a whole during the period covered by the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. Further information on requirements for efficiency is subject to decisions to be taken as part of that Review.
John Healey: The Department of Communities and Local Government has set 86 Best Value Performance Indicators against which local authorities must report in 2007-08. These measure performance on policy areas across Government and details can be found on the Departments website:
John Healey: Local authorities' borrowing powers are laid down in the Local Government Act 2003. Authorities are free to borrow without Government consent, provided that they can afford to service the debt from their own resources. Authorities would require the Government's consent to borrow other than in sterling, but apart from that may obtain their loans from any source. That includes borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board or seeking lender's option borrower's option loans from private sector banks. Authorities may also raise finance by issuing bonds, again without Government consent. Information on authorities' issues of bonds is not held centrally. We have no plans to give authorities a power to securitise, since they can obtain the same level of finance more simply by borrowing on the strength of their revenue streams.
Equal pay is not a new pressure, and local authorities will need to manage any equal pay pressures within the range of resources available such as central grant and council tax, and seeking capitalisation where necessary. Many authorities have already revised their pay arrangements, and others have put aside sufficient reserves.
John Healey: Local Government pension scheme entitlements are not subject to negotiation. They are prescribed in secondary legislation, made by the Secretary of State, following full consultation with all relevant scheme interests as required by the Superannuation Act 1972.
Local Government pay is determined by individual local authority employers, most of whom use a national framework. The majority of the local government work force is covered by the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services.
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