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11 Dec 2007 : Column 539Wcontinued
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance (a) her Department and (b) the Housing Corporation has provided to local authorities and housing associations on the account to be taken when determining social lettings in a locality or on an estate of the existing ethnic composition of those areas. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The code of guidance on the allocation of accommodation advises local authorities to ensure that their allocation scheme and lettings plan are representative of the community and promote community cohesion; and to ensure that the views of groups which are currently under-represented in social housing are taken into account when consulting on their allocation scheme and developing their lettings plans. Otherwise, the code advises authorities that they must ensure that their allocation policies and procedures do not discriminate, directly or indirectly, on grounds of race or ethnicity.
The Housing Corporations regulatory code and guidance expects registered social landlords (RSLs) to have lettings and sales policies that are flexible, non-discriminatory and responsive to demand, while contributing to the need to be inclusive and the need to ensure sustainable communities. The regulatory code also expects RSLs to ensure their lettings are proportionate to black and minority ethnic housing need in the areas where the RSL has homes.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the housing debt was of each local authority in each year since 1997; how much principal debt was paid off in each year by each authority and how this was resourced or otherwise financed, categorised by (a) right to buy receipts, (b) transfer receipts, (c) other capital receipts, (d) Treasury debt write off and (e) support for overhanging debt; what the cost was of servicing the debt, including the interest rate; and what were the means whereby this was funded. 
Mr. Iain Wright: I have arranged for a table showing: the level of housing debt, the amount each authority with debt set-aside for the repayment of that housing debt, the cost of servicing the debt (the Item 8 debit in the Housing Revenue Account) and the interest rate that the housing debt attracted (the Consolidated rate of Interest or CRI) for each financial year from 1997-98 to 2005-06 (the last year for which audited data is available) to be deposited in the Library.
Until 1 April 2004, local authorities were required to set aside a proportion of their capital receipts for the repayment of housing debt, although whether or not the amount set aside was actually used to repay housing debt was a treasury management decision for the authority. It was assumed for the purposes of HRA subsidy that housing debt was repaid. The absence of set-aside data in the table after 2003-04 reflects the introduction of the housing capital receipts pooling regime replacing set-aside and there being no requirement to collect set-aside data from that year. Set-aside data used in the HRA subsidy calculation were audited and so collected in the year following the year it was actually set-aside. It was considered that building set-aside into the HRA subsidy model for 2004-05 was not appropriate as the pooling of capital receipts would also be operating for this year.
The data available to Communities and Local Government do not allow the break-down of set-aside into its constitute parts, which will include right to buy sales, transfer receipts and receipts from other disposals such as the sale of housing land.
Treasury does not write off housing debt. Any overhanging housing debt arising from a housing stock transfer is cleared by a payment from Communities and Local Government. These payments are made from an Annually Managed Expenditure Budget held by the Department. Under this arrangement debt moves from one part of the public sector to another, and in consequence there is no net increase in the public sector borrowing requirement. The Exchequer meets future interest payments generated by such transactions.
The following table shows the value of transfer receipts and the value of overhanging debt payments by year for England since 1997.
|Transfer receipts||Overhanging debt payments|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of the electorate has a personal liability for council tax in whole or in part, excluding households on 100 per cent. council tax benefit and those with a 100 per cent. exemption from council tax. 
John Healey: Table 1 of the statistics release Local Authority Taxbase - 2007 England gives details of properties in England as at 8 October 2007 that were liable for council tax. This release is available on the Communities and Local Government's website at
Information to establish the number of people personally liable for council tax is not held centrally.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Greater London Authority precept, and its predecessors equivalent was in (a) cash terms and (b) as a proportion of Band D council tax in each year since 1997-98. 
John Healey: Details of the Greater London authority precept, and its predecessors equivalent, in both cash terms and as a proportion of the average two-adult band D council tax for London, in each year since 1997-98 are shown in the following table. No other precepts were levied on London council tax bills in 1997-98.
|Cash terms (£)||As percentage of average two-adult band D council tax for London|
|GLA||London fire||Metropolitan police||GLA||London fire||Metropolitan police|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the current cap is on the maximum Band D precept that Lee Valley Regional Park Authority can set. 
John Healey: The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is funded by a levy on authorities in Essex, Hertfordshire and Greater London and not by a council tax precept.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average level of council tax was in the Vale of York in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: Details of the average council tax for the last three years in the local authority areas that are covered by the Vale of York are available on the Communities and Local Government website at:
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects (a) the Councillors Commission to report and (b) her Department to respond to that report. 
John Healey: The Councillors Commissions report was published on 10 December. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be working with other Government Departments and key partners to consider the report and develop an implementation plan. The Department will respond to the Commissions report in March 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance the Government has provided on whether councillors travelling to council meetings are deemed to be employed by their local authority for insurance purposes. 
John Healey: Insurance arrangements are matters for each individual local authority, on which the Government do not provide guidance.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many databases are maintained by her Department; and what the (a) title and (b) purpose is of each. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Communities and Local Government has numerous databases of varying size and complexity which are used in a wide variety of ways in support of the work of the Department. A more detailed response could be provided only at disproportionate cost to the Department.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people aged (a) 30 to 39, (b) 40 to 49, (c) 50 to 59 and (d) 60 to 69 years have (i) applied for jobs, (ii) received interviews and (iii) gained (A) temporary and (B) permanent jobs in her Department in 2007. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Communities and Local Government does not currently collect information about age of job applicants. A breakdown by the age bands requested of those appointed following external recruitment exercises (those posts advertised outside the Civil Service) held in 2007 as shown in the following table:
|Age 30-39||Age 40-49||Age 50-59||Age 60-69|
These data do not include information from CLG executive agencies or the Government Offices. Nor do they include temporary agency staff or other workers who are not Departmental employees.
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