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26 Nov 2007 : Column 144Wcontinued
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment his Department has made of an employer-supported care voucher scheme on his Departments target to increase the employment rate of people over 50 years; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what consideration he has given to the effect of care responsibilities on women in work; and if he will assess the potential of a care voucher scheme, similar to that in operation for child care, to enable carers to balance better work and caring. 
Jane Kennedy: I have been asked to reply.
The Government are keen to ensure that people with caring responsibilities can make the most of opportunities to balance work with their caring responsibilities.
They will look carefully at the costs and benefits of any further proposals, including whether it is the most effective mechanism for tackling the issues faced by carers, particularly those experienced by specific groups, when making an assessment of the case for intervention in this area.
The Government keep tax reliefs under review and has received representations in this area. However, they does not believe that allowing employers to provide employees with tax and NICs free care vouchers is the most appropriate, fair or cost-effective way of tackling the issues faced by carers.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for gap funding have been received in the latest round of housing stock transfers, broken down by local authority area. 
Mr. Iain Wright: As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning mentioned in her answer to a question from my hon. Friend on 18 December 2006, Official Report, column 1646W, 22 applications for places on the 2006 Housing Transfer programme were received from 14 local authorities in respect of housing stock which have a negative valuation. The list of authorities is given in the following table.
|2006 Disposals programme|
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much money has been allocated by the Government office of the south west to the Bournemouth area in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Dhanda: Most Communities and Local Government funding allocations are decided centrally rather than by Government offices. However Government office for the south-west has had responsibility for administering the £169 million European Social Fund regional programme over the last five years.
Due to the nature of the funding arrangements it is difficult to disaggregate amounts specifically for Bournemouth, because the funding is allocated on the basis of the boundaries used by Learning and Skills Council and Jobcentre Plus which for this area cover Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset. Some projects operate
in just one area, some in all three local authority areas and some are regional. Government office has allocated £13.4 million to projects operating across this area over the period. Of this amount £6.4 million has been allocated directly by GOSW and a further £7 million has been allocated to the area through the Learning and Skills Council and Jobcentre Plus.
Specific information on the value of projects in Bournemouth could be provided but would require mapping the detail of individual projects. It would be too costly to obtain information at this level of detail.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many qualified domestic energy assessors there are in (a) England, (b) Essex and (c) the Maldon district. 
Yvette Cooper: The most recent data as at 5 November provide the following information on the number of accredited domestic energy assessors in England, Essex and the Maldon district.
|Domestic energy assessors|
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what further steps she plans to take to increase the supply of (a) affordable shared equity and rented family homes and (b) key worker housing in (i) East Worthing and Shoreham and (ii) across West Sussex. 
Yvette Cooper: In June 2007, we published the Housing Green Paper: Homes for the future: more affordable, more sustainable in which I announced £8 billion for affordable housing during the comprehensive spending review period. This represents a 38 per cent. increase on current spending. The funding will enable us to deliver 70,000 more affordable homes by 2010. We are also committed to providing 45,000 new affordable homes for rent by 2010-11 (a 50 per cent. increase) and 25,000 shared ownership and shared equity homes a year funded by the Housing Corporation. In addition, we will look to support additional shared ownership homes through public sector land and local housing companies.
Since April 2006, key workers have priority access to all of the Governments low cost home ownership products. Regional Housing Assemblies can focus resources where local need is greatest for example by prioritising key worker groups for assistance. We are currently waiting for the Regional Housing Boards recommendations on how investment should be spent over the next three years in the south east.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate she has made of the number of key workers living in East Worthing and Shoreham; 
(2) how many key workers were housed through the Key Worker Living Scheme in East Worthing and Shoreham in each year since the schemes inception, broken down by key worker profession; 
(3) how many key workers were provided with (a) Open Market HomeBuy, (b) New Build HomeBuy and (c) an intermediate rental through the Key Worker Living Scheme in East Worthing and Shoreham in each year since its inception; 
(4) how many key workers in East Worthing and Shoreham are awaiting support via the Key Worker Living Scheme; and how many of those on waiting lists are listed for (a) Open Market HomeBuy, (b) New Build HomeBuy and (c) intermediate rental. 
Yvette Cooper: Information at constituency level is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the impact on public sector recruitment and retention of the Key Worker Living Scheme in (a) East Worthing and Shoreham and (b) West Sussex; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: DCLG commissioned an independent evaluation of the Key Worker Living (KWL) Scheme which was published in September 2006. The evaluation was undertaken by GHK Consulting and the Centre for Urban and Regional studies at the University of Birmingham.
The study found that the KWL scheme is making a positive contribution towards improving recruitment and retention of key workers.
It is for individual Departments and the regional assemblies to assess the impact on public sector recruitment and retention in specific regions.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what percentage of the funding available for key worker housing was given to the provision of housing in (a) East Worthing and Shoreham and (b) West Sussex in each year since 2004; and what percentage of this funding was provided for (i) Open Market HomeBuy, (ii) New Build HomeBuy and (iii) intermediate rental; 
(2) what percentage of funding available for key worker housing in (a) East Worthing and Shoreham and (b) West Sussex was provided for (i) open market solutions and (ii) new build schemes. 
Yvette Cooper: Funding allocations for the Key Worker Living programme were set in 2004 for the period 2004-05 to 2005-06. Of the funding available for key worker housing in the south east, 11 per cent. was given to the provision of housing in the county of West Sussex.
The following table shows the percentage of funding available for key worker housing that was allocated in the county of West Sussex (which includes the local authorities of Worthing and Adur) for (i) Open Market HomeBuy, (ii) New Build HomeBuy and (iii) intermediate rental.
|(1) 2004-06 Open Market HomeBuy includes Kent, East and West Sussex as part of the HomeBuy zone|
Since April 2006, the Government no longer allocate funds for schemes specifically designated for key workers. Key workers now have priority access to all of the Governments low-cost home ownership products.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how the work of HomeBuy agents is tracked and monitored. 
Yvette Cooper: HomeBuy Agents provide a one- stop-shop service for assessing eligibility and marketing low-cost home ownership schemes. HomeBuy agents are required to provide the Housing Corporation with a monthly self-assessment of compliance against Key Performance Standards, which are monitored by the Housing Corporation.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the potential impact on vulnerable people of the changes to private sector housing renewal funding in the south west; what effect this is likely to have on the decent homes standard; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: No final decisions have been made on funding for private sector housing renewal in the south west. We are currently considering advice from the regional assemblies on funding priorities for their areas. Through the Comprehensive Spending Review £789 million has been made available in the south west through the regional housing pot over the next three years to fund housing capital programmes including those for private sector renewal. The regions allocation for the period ending 2010-11 is 50 per cent. higher than that for 2007-08. We remain committed to making funding available for private sector decent homes and in seeking the regional assemblies' priorities for funding we have asked them to continue to prioritise those most in need.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the National Audit Offices Housing Market Renewal report; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 20 November 2007]: We note the main conclusions in the NAO report, that across the programme the pathfinders have been narrowing the gaps in house prices and vacancies with their regions, and that the pathfinder local authorities have been performing better than other local authorities with less severe problems of low demand not selected for the programme.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities do not have a strategy for meeting the decent homes standard. 
Mr. Iain Wright: All local authorities with the exception of Camden council, have a signed off options appraisal for their stock. Camden are currently working on their strategy for delivery.
The following local authorities are currently revisiting their options appraisal: Castle Point, Brighton and Hove, Crawley, Croydon, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Mid Devon, NW Leicestershire, Plymouth, Stroud, Tamworth, Waveney and Wycombe.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of homes that (a) did and (b) did not reach the decent homes standard at the most recent date for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Our latest estimates for all homes in England is that 5,987,000 (27.5 per cent.) are non- decent and 15,795,000 (72.5 per cent.) are decent. These figures are for 2005 and are derived from the English House Condition Survey and were published on 6 June 2007.
In 1997 there were approximately 8,700,000 non- decent homes (42 per cent.) and 12,014,000 decent homes (58 per cent.).
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