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Housing: Low Incomes

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what minimum equity stake must be purchased under the (a) Social Homebuy, (b) New Build Homebuy and (c) Open Market Homebuy schemes; and what plans her Department has to amend the level of these stakes. [153496]

Yvette Cooper: The minimum equity stake which can be purchased under (a) Social Homebuy and (b)New Build Homebuy is 25 per cent.

Under (c) purchasers buy a property outright supported by an equity loan for up to 25 per cent. of the property's value.

In June of this year the Housing Corporation launched a competition for private investors to join the 2008-11 round of Open Market Homebuy, and they have received initial expressions of interest. Proposals include products which allow buyers to purchase as little as 50 per cent. of a home chosen on the open market.

We also want to offer more social tenants the opportunity to buy a share in their home and will be considering whether we should offer smaller shares to improve affordability. We will announce proposals later this year as part of our response to John Hills' review of social housing.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many foreign nationals were granted a social housing tenancy in each of the last 10 years. [155002]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 10 September 2007]: Information on social dwellings owned by (a) local councils and (b) registered social landlords which are allocated to non-British citizens is collected in the Continuous Recording of Lettings form (CORE). These data are collected on behalf of Communities and Local Government and the Housing Corporation by the Centre for Housing Research at the University of St. Andrews. A question was added for the 2006-07 collection period to obtain information on the nationality of the tenant.

Using CORE data, the Department has estimated around 5 per cent. of general needs lettings made to new social housing tenants between April and December 2006 were to foreign nationals. We estimate this was equivalent to around 10,000 general needs lettings to new social housing tenants in 2005-06 being made to foreign nationals.

Housing: Middlesbrough

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland have received assistance under the Homebuy scheme. [143430]


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Yvette Cooper: The Homebuy scheme was launched in April 2006. Provisional figures for 2006-07 show that 27 homes were completed under the New Build Homebuy scheme in the Middlesbrough council area and none in Redcar and Cleveland borough council. No purchases were made under Open Market Homebuy in either Middlesbrough or Redcar and Cleveland in 2006-07.

In addition Middlesbrough benefited from two sales under Right to Acquire and one through a Social Homebuy pilot scheme. Redcar and Cleveland also benefited through 16 Right to Acquire sales.

This information is not available on a constituency basis.

For the remainder of 2007-08, we are making changes to the Open Market Homebuy product to offer purchasers greater choice and improve affordability.

From 23 July we are offering a new 17.5 per cent. Government equity loan product, which purchasers will be able to use more flexibly as a deposit and take to any lender on the open market. This will complement the existing scheme of a 12.5 per cent. equity loan matched by a 12.5 per cent. equity loan from one of four mortgage lenders.

Housing: Midlands

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of new homes to be built as part of the Milton Keynes and South Midlands spatial strategy which will be occupied by migrant workers from the European Union in (a) total, (b) Northamptonshire and (c) Wellingborough. [155128]

Mr. Dhanda: The Milton Keynes South Midlands Sub Regional Strategy (MKSM SRS) sets out clear targets for the delivery of housing across the growth area. The strategy does not set levels of housing for any specific groups. Housing market assessments have also been carried out for North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire to identify areas of housing need. The assessments, initial conclusions acknowledge that migration will indeed influence the pace of housing growth but given patterns of movement within the labour market it is inherently difficult to predict accurate figures for the number and requirement of housing for migrant workers in the county.

Given the growth plans in Northamptonshire, additional employment opportunities for migrant workers are likely to be created in future and the growth presents an opportunity for migrants in terms of work and housing opportunities.

Provision of housing for migrant workers is dealt with at a local level and local authority housing providers will work to build on the initial information provided in the reports previously referred to in order to determine future housing need for migrant workers.

Housing: Valuation

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many domestic dwellings in (a) England and (b) each local authority area in England are coded by the Valuation Office Agency with the VE value significant code. [152544]


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John Healey: The Valuation Office Agency has not undertaken a comprehensive exercise to gather value significant coding information on all domestic dwellings in England.

Infrastructure: Wellingborough

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans there are to improve infrastructure in Wellingborough under the South Midlands and Milton Keynes spatial strategy; and if she will list the projects to be undertaken and their (a) start and (b) completion dates. [155126]

Mr. Dhanda: Since 2004, the Government working with partners in the Northamptonshire area have invested £100 million additional funding through the Growth Area Fund in Northamptonshire.

Spending on infrastructure has already commenced in certain areas that will relate to Wellingborough. A £1.3 million scheme for the improvement of the A45/A509 Wilby Way roundabout, near Wellingborough, was approved for CIF grant in 2006. The scheme is due to be completed by April 2008. In addition, £1.5 million has been allocated for town centre improvements in Wellingborough for the period 2006-07 to 2007-08

In addition, from the commencement of the new East Midlands Rail Franchise timetable in December 2008, rail passengers will benefit from a new hourly service between Kettering and London (including Wellingborough), increasing the number of off peak services on the midland main line to five trains per hour.

Land: Databases

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 171W, on Land: Databases, if she will place in the Library a copy of the documentation relating to the validation service the Valuation Office Agency provides for local authority IT suppliers. [152701]

John Healey: The VOA validation service for IT suppliers to local authorities on Valuebill developments is delivered by an external contractor. The terms are commercially sensitive and confidential.

Local Government

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local planning authorities in each (a) region and (b) county have local planning reviews or unitary development plan reviews being processed to adoption under the transitional arrangements of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004; and what the expected month of adoption is in each case. [152744]

Yvette Cooper: The following local planning authorities are still processing their local plans or UDPs under the transitional arrangements:


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Adoption of local plans/UDPs is in the gift of councils and therefore these expected timings—and their implementation—are entirely subject to confirmation by the councils concerned.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local planning authorities in each (a) region and (b) county ceased work on the reviews of their local plans or unitary development plans on the announcement of the intended introduction of local development frameworks; and what the year of adoption was of their preceding adopted local plan. [152745]

Yvette Cooper: The following table provides a list of those authorities who our regional Government offices consider to have ceased work on local plans or UDPs on the announcement of the intended introduction of LDFs and the adoption date of the local plan/UDP which was in force at the time.


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Table of authorities:
Region Local planning authority Adoption of previous plan

London

Tower Hamlets

East Midlands

None

Yorkshire and Humber

York

Never did local plan

Barnsley

2000

Rotherham

1999

Sheffield

1998

Doncaster

1998

Hambleton, North Yorks

1999

North West

None

West Midlands

Stoke on Trent

1993

Stafford

1998

Lichfield

1998

Staffs Moorlands

1998

Cannock

1997

South Staffs

1996

East of England

Fenland

1993

Huntingdonshire

2002

Castle Point, Essex

1998

Southend

1994

St. Albans

1994

Breckland, Norfolk

1999

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk

1998

Norfolk Waste Local Plan

2000

South Norfolk

2003

Forest Heath, Suffolk

1995

Ipswich

1997

Mid Suffolk

1998

Waveney, Suffolk

1996

North East

None

South West

Purbeck, Dorset

No 1991 Act plan

Kerrier, Cornwall

No 1991 Act plan

South East

Horsham

1997

Crawley

2000

Wealden, Sussex

1998

Cherwell, Oxon

1996

West Sussex CC (Waste)

2003


Local Government Finance

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how long the pilot schemes on participatory budgeting will last. [153502]

Mr. Dhanda: The current pilot schemes in Bradford, Newcastle, Sunderland, Salford, Manton and Lewisham will last until March 2008. Sunderland has committed to continue prioritising a proportion of the new deal for Communities budget under a participatory budgeting process until 2011, when the NDC programme is due to finish.

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria were used to select local authorities taking part in the participatory budgeting pilots. [153505]

Mr. Dhanda: The 10 participatory budgeting pilots are assisted by the Participatory Budgeting Unit, which this Department helps to support. Before helping to develop a pilot, the Participatory Budgeting Unit applies the following criteria: there must be political support for participatory budgeting as the process can only be undertaken with the approval of senior council officials or elected representatives; an appropriate source of funding must be identified; and there must be the capacity and resources to ensure good quality engagement with the community.

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government over what frontline services residents will be given a direct say in her plans for participatory budgeting. [153506]


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