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The Audit Commission changed its financial year end in 1997 so there are two sets of accounts for that year. Our financial year end was changed again in 2004, so the period 2002/04 is for 17 months, from November 2002 to March 2004.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to encourage the introduction of choice-based lettings in (a) council housing and (b) housing association stock. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Sustainable Communities: Homes for All, published in January 2005, set out the Governments Choice Based Lettings (CBL) strategy: to build on the existing targetfor all local authorities to have adopted CBL by 2010by extending choice- based lettings to cover, not only local authority and RSL properties, but also shared ownership, low cost home ownership, and properties to rent from private landlords. It also encourages the development of CBL schemes on a regional and/or sub-regional basis, recognising that housing markets do not always follow local authority boundaries.
We are making available £4 million over three years (2005-08) to fund new sub-regional and regional CBL schemes. Local authorities were invited to submit bids for the third and final round of funding by 12 October 2007 and the response rate has been most encouraging. We will be announcing the results before the end of the year.
To date we have funded the development of 26 sub-regional schemes and one scheme which covers all London authorities. The pan-London Choice and Mobility Scheme (Capital Moves) is due to go live at the beginning of 2009.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average council tax was (a) per dwelling and (b) on Band D properties in Great Britain in (i) 1997-98 and (ii) 2007-08. 
John Healey: In our Discussion Paper Councils Proposals for Unitary Local Government: An Approach to Implementation published on 22 August we invited the views of those councils potentially affected by restructuring on when elections for any new unitary authorities should be held. That paper indicated that the options for elections in May 2008 or May 2009 are finely balanced and we are now considering the views we have received.
Mr. Iain Wright: Following a comprehensive review of Planning Policy Guidance Note 25 we published a revised, stronger and clearer Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 25 in December 2006. We will be publishing in the early part of 2008 an accompanying Practice Guide which will take into account the initial findings from the Lessons Learnt Review being undertaken after the summer 2007 floods (The Pitt Review). PPS25 is available at:
John Healey: An application for support from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in respect of the June and July flooding in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was lodged with the European Commission on 20 August. The application is being discussed with the commission and it will be for them to decide on the level of assistance offered to the UK. Applications by other member states to the EUSF have resulted in offers of support ranging between 2.5 per cent. and 5 per cent. of the total damage suffered. The UK current estimate for total damage is €4.328 billion (approximately £2.9 billion).
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for publishing the conclusions and research relating to the Home Information Pack dry-runs and trials. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements there are on sellers to update or replace the search element of home information packs when a property is on the market for more than six months. 
Yvette Cooper: The HIPs (No. 2) Regulations 2007 require that a search must not be older than three months at the first point of marketing but there is no requirement in the regulations on how long searches can be in place before being updated or replaced.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) mortgage lenders and (b) solicitors she has been informed do not accept personal searches included in a home information pack. 
Based on the 1 June 2007 version of the Council of Mortgage Lender's Handbook we understand that 27 of the top 30 lenders accept personal searches. HSBC is the only lender that has publicly stated that it does not and never has accepted personal searches.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Government has received representations that mortgage lenders are refusing to accept information contained in home information packs. 
Yvette Cooper: HIPs can include local authority searches or personal searches. 27 of the top 30 lenders accept personal searches which already account for 40 per cent. of the market even in advance of the introduction of HIPs. We have discussed this issue with a range of Stakeholders.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authority trading standards departments will retain the revenue raised from fines on estate agents for non-compliance with home information pack obligations. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities may keep the income raised from home information pack fines levied by trading standards officers. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimates were made when drafting the home information pack regulations of the number of (a) appeals to the County Court and (b) debt recovery actions in relation to home information pack fines. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government have made no such estimates. Local authorities bid for and received funding for enforcing the HIP duties, based on their estimates of the cost of such enforcement to them.
Southwark (London Borough of Southwark)
North West Wales (Conwy, Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd)
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what submissions or representations the Valuation Office Agency has made to her Department and its predecessor in relation to (a) home information packs and (b) energy performance certificates in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The £90 million Hostels Capital Improvement Programme is providing improvements to 178 hostels and homelessness projects in 62 local authority areas. This includes investment of £3.8 million in women's refuges. A key element of the programme is to provide a quality physical environment that is both private and safe with services which engage that will raise aspirations and encourage self-esteem for those people who use the programme, to encourage them to acquire skills.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will provide additional finance to local authorities with military bases in their area to enable them to offer social housing to members of HM Armed Forces when they leave the services; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Funding for social housing is distributed regionally using a needs-based formula which takes account of all those in need of affordable housing, including, where appropriate, members of HM armed forces. The Regional Assemblies advise on
funding priorities within their areas and, subject to value for money considerations and compatibility with national priorities, these factors inform the social housing delivered through the National Affordable Housing Programme which is run by the Housing Corporation, taking account of the needs of all those eligible.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many homes were built in (a) Cheadle constituency and (b) Stockport local authority in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006; 
|New build completions in Stockport|
|Total new build( 1)||Registered Social Landlords( 2) Social Rent|
(1) As reported by the local authority and the National House-Building Council (P2 returns)
(2) Housing Corporation social rent registered social landlord new build completions
New build social rent dwellings make up only part of the affordable supply; the remainder being acquired by registered social landlords or through intermediate housing e.g. low cost home ownership. In 2005-06, acquisitions and intermediate housing supplied through registered social landlords numbered 115, which added to the new build social rent (as reported in the table) amounts to a total affordable housing provision of 137 in Stockport.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether an energy performance certificate for a private sector rental property which does not already have a certificate will be required when an existing rental contract is renewed. 
Yvette Cooper: The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2007 will not require an Energy Performance Certificate for private sector rental properties when an existing rental contract is renewed.
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