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3 Sep 2007 : Column 1653W—continued


Floods

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Regional Civil Contingencies Committees in tackling the recent flooding incidents. [152829]

John Healey: Regional Civil Contingencies Committees (RCCCs) are designed to be implemented in the case when an incident(s) within a Government Office region requires co-ordination at regional level. During the June flooding incidents, this was not necessary as the Strategic Co-ordination Groups within the regions managed the events locally.

During the recent flooding in Gloucester, the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) set up two meetings of the RCCC on 23 and 24 July. Both provided a useful opportunity for high-level, regional
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partners to hear about the flooding situation at first hand, to discuss resourcing issues and mutual aid, and to consider consequence management and longer term issues relating to recovery.

As the situation in Gloucestershire has become less critical, it has been agreed to stand down the RCCC, but with the option of reconvening it should the situation change. Meanwhile, RCCC members are being kept closely in touch with developments by e-mail, and considering ways of supporting the Strategic Co-ordination Group with preparatory work on recovery.

The effectiveness of the RCCC mechanism during the flooding will be assessed by the independently-led committee that will consider, more broadly, issues identified from these events.

Floods: EU Grants and Loans

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any region in the UK has received aid from the European Commission Solidarity Fund for (a) flood damage and (b) other reasons in the last five years. [150120]

John Healey: In the last year no region of the UK has received aid from the European Commission Solidarity Fund in respect of either flood or other damage.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to request aid from the European Commission Solidarity Fund for areas affected by flood damage. [150121]

John Healey: No such application has yet been made as we are currently collecting all the information necessary for us to assess the full financial effect of the damage before considering whether such an application could meet the strict criteria laid down for mobilising the Fund.

Floods: North Yorkshire

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what expenditure by councils affected by recent flooding in North Yorkshire will be covered by the Bellwin formula. [152875]

John Healey: Authorities who notify the Department of their intention to claim Bellwin grant within one month of the commencement of the emergency will, under the established terms of the scheme, be able to claim grant for all eligible expenditure incurred on immediate action to safeguard life or property or to prevent severe inconvenience to the inhabitants, as set out in the legislation governing the scheme. On this occasion, as announced by the Prime Minister on 7 July, 100 per cent. grant will be paid on expenditure in excess of 0.2 per cent. of the authority's revenue budget, an increase on the normal 85 per cent. grant aid. Eligible expenditure up to six months from the commencement of the incident will count for grant, compared to the normal limit of two months.


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Floods: Tewkesbury

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding she expects to be made available to (a) agencies and (b) individuals who have been affected by the recent flooding in the Tewkesbury constituency; and if she will make a statement. [152887]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Prime Minister on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 832.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what application is planned to be made to access money from the European Union to help (a) agencies and (b) individuals who have been affected by the recent flooding in Tewkesbury constituency; and if she will make a statement. [152909]

John Healey [holding answer 26 July 2007]: No such application has yet been made as we are currently collecting all the information necessary for us to assess the full financial effect of the damage caused by the June and July floods before deciding whether such an application could meet the strict criteria laid down for mobilising the Fund.

Home Information Packs

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many part-time qualified and accredited home inspectors she expects there to be in each of the next three years; and if she will make a statement. [146509]

Yvette Cooper: It is estimated that about 40 per cent. of home inspectors and domestic energy assessors will work part time. This has been taken into consideration in the Government’s plan for the roll-out of Home Information Packs.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 June 2007, Official Report, column 2103W, on home information packs, when the research will be published. [146585]

Yvette Cooper: This research is being updated in light of the changes to the implementation announced on 22 May and will be published in due course.

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many qualified home improvement pack inspectors there are, broken down by region; how many qualified inspectors she expects there to be on 1 August; and how many inspectors will be needed to inspect homes with (a) four or more bedrooms and (b) three or more bedrooms on 1 August. [146697]

Yvette Cooper: I refer the hon. Member to the dedicated Home Information Packs website for the most recently published national numbers of accredited assessors, together with a regional breakdown:


3 Sep 2007 : Column 1656W

We will be providing regular updates on this site.

There is already a sufficient number of assessors to introduce Home Information Packs and Energy Performance Certificates for four-bedroom properties and larger on 1 August 2008. The implementation update published on 11 June, a copy of which was placed in the House Library, states the criteria which will be used for the roll out of packs to other sized properties.

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Department’s latest estimate is of the average cost of a home information pack, including VAT, for residents of the South West Government Office Region; and if she will make a statement. [151587]

Yvette Cooper: An estimate of the cost of producing a Home Information Pack is set out in the Impact Assessment published on 11 June.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition she uses of (a) bedrooms, (b) studies, (c) lofts and (d) bathrooms in relation to home information packs. [151774]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 23 July 2007]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) on 25 June 2007 Official R eport, column 164W.

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the annual level of expected non-compliance with the home information pack provisions. [152686]

Yvette Cooper: We have put in place a robust enforcement regime to deal with those who do not comply with the new requirements. The Housing Act 2004 makes it clear that the responsibility to obtain a Home Information Pack is on the person responsible for marketing the property.

Homelessness

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in (a) Leeds, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England are estimated to be homeless; and how many are under 16 years of age in each case. [151445]

Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 23 July 2007]: Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level, in respect of households rather than people.

Information reported each quarter includes the number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty. The duty owed to an accepted household is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is
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not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

This data is published in our quarterly statistical release on statutory homelessness, which includes a supplementary table showing the breakdown of key data, including acceptances and temporary accommodation, by each local authority, including Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. This is published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter. The latest release was published on 11 June 2007 and contains data for the period January to March 2007:

Since 1998, information has also been collected on the number of people who sleep rough—that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night—and these are also published on our website, by local authority:

Local authorities do not specifically report data on the number under 16-year-olds affected by statutory homelessness.

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes her Department has made to funding to local authorities on homeless prevention revenue support in the last three years. [153511]

Yvette Cooper: The level of homelessness revenue funding to local authorities and voluntary sector agencies has increased by 23 per cent. from £60 million in 2004-05 to £74 million in 2007-08, to support them in their work on tackling and preventing homelessness effectively.

No changes have been made to the way funding is allocated to local authorities and voluntary sector agencies.

Homelessness: Greater London

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were sleeping rough in each London borough (a) in each of the last five years and (b) the most recent period for which figures area available. [153645]

Mr. Iain Wright: The following table provides a breakdown of the level of rough sleeping in each London borough in each of the last five years. Data is taken from Housing Strategy and Statistical Appendix returns submitted by local authorities.


3 Sep 2007 : Column 1658W
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Barking and Dagenham

0

0

0

0

1

Barnet

0

0

0

0

0

Bexley

0

0

0

0

0

Brent

4

0

6

1

0

Bromley

0

0

0

0

0

Camden

28

13

5

17

10

City

41

36

22

12

25

Croydon

6

0

0

0

0

Ealing

4

0

4

1

1

Enfield

0

0

0

0

0

Greenwich

3

0

0

0

0

Hackney

11

7

8

7

6

Hammersmith and Fulham

4

2

3

2

6

Haringey

8

6

4

6

1

Harrow

0

0

0

1

0

Havering

0

0

0

1

1

Hillingdon

0

0

0

3

0

Hounslow

3

0

0

3

3

Islington

2

7

1

3

3

Kensington and Chelsea

6

6

10

12

10

Kingston upon Thames

0

0

0

0

0

Lambeth

12

11

12

7

9

Lewisham

1

0

0

3

3

Merton

0

0

0

0

0

Newham

0

6

3

0

0

Redbridge

5

5

0

0

0

Richmond upon Thames

6

6

0

0

0

Southwark

2

17

6

7

6

Sutton

0

0

0

0

0

Tower Hamlets

2

11

5

0

3

Waltham Forest

4

1

1

2

6

Wandsworth

0

0

0

0

0

Westminster

169

133

175

133

173

London

321

267

265

221

267


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