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11 Dec 2007 : Column 547Wcontinued
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many assessments under the housing health and safety rating system concluded with the determination of a category 1 hazard in (a) public and (b) social housing in each local authority in 2006-07. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not collect data on the number of housing health and safety rating system inspections carried out by local authorities.
It has commenced collecting information on the rating system through the Housing Strategy Statistical
Appendix (HSSA) and the Business Plan Statistical Appendix (BPSA) returned by local authorities. These will provide data as at April 2007. The Department expects to publish both the BPSA and HSSA in January 2008 subject to data quality.
The HSSA data will include figures for dwellings with category 1 hazards, the estimated cost of removing the category 1 hazards in private sector dwellings (not including registered social landlords) and the number of private sector dwellings made free of category 1 hazards or demolished as a direct result of action by the local authority during 2006-07.
The BPSA data will include figures for the number of local authority homes that do not meet the statutory minimum standard for housing and the costs to put the defects right.
The English House Condition Survey will provide a national estimate of category 1 hazards for its 2006 findings, which we expect to publish early in 2008. This will provide estimates of the number of category 1 hazards in each type of housing stock at the national level.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on use of retrofit to improve the energy efficiency of existing houses; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: There is already an extensive body of research data on improving the energy efficiency of existing homes. The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) undertook a stock take for the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005 of the sustainability and energy efficiency of existing housing, covering energy, water, materials and construction and demolition waste, and household waste. Their report Stock Take: Delivering improvements in existing housing, is available on the SDC website at:
My Department published its own initial analysis of the energy efficiency of existing buildings in November 2006. An analysis has also been commissioned from the Office of Climate Change.
My Department is working with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to develop proposals for the Technology Strategy Board, sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Science to support innovation in materials and technologies that would improve the energy efficiency of existing and new buildings.
The Technology Strategy Board is finalising the delivery plan to launch the Innovation Platform on Low Impact Buildings early in 2008. Further information on the Technology Strategy Board can be found at:
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the
implementation of the housing and planning delivery grant does not create incentives for (a) over-development of one-bedroom flats, (b) over-development in areas of constraint and (c) poor design quality. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government are currently consulting on a proposed allocation mechanism for the housing and planning delivery grant. The consultation closes on 17 January 2008.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much housing revenue account monies has been taken from each local authority in each of the last five years; who received that revenue; how the redistribution was conducted; what the forecasts are for each local authority involved in returning or receiving monies over the next five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: A table showing the allocations of housing revenue account (HRA) subsidy for each year between 2001-02 and 2005-06 (the last year for which we have audited figures) inclusive has been deposited in the Library of the House.
In the years up to and including 2003-04, the redistribution was effected by offsetting housing element (bricks and mortar subsidy) against rent rebate element. Since 1 April 2004, rent rebates are no longer accounted for in the housing revenue account. Surpluses are now paid direct to my Department, which also pays subsidy to those authorities in overall assumed deficit.
We do not make forecasts of individual authorities HRA subsidy entitlements.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many dwellings were built within the 1997 designated green belt in Suffolk in each year between 1997 and 2006. 
Mr. Iain Wright: There is no 1997 designated green belt in Suffolk.
Green belt accounts for 13 per cent. of the land area of England.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what percentage of dwellings in the North West have failed the thermal comfort test rating; 
(2) what the average Standard Assessment Procedure rating is for dwellings in the North West. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not have estimates of homes failing thermal comfort or average SAP ratings for each individual region.
In 2005 the English House Condition Survey (EHCS) reported that 20 per cent. of dwellings in the northern regions (including the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the North East) failed the thermal comfort criterion of the decent homes standard. This was the same as the national average.
In 2005, the EHCS also reported that the average SAP for dwellings in the northern regions (including the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the North East) was 48. This was the same as the national average.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the status is of the National Spatial Address Infrastructure; and how much has been spent from the public purse on the scheme. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In June 2007, the Department announced it would not be carrying out any further work on the National Spatial Address Infrastructure (NSAI). Further details can be found on the Departments website at:
The costs associated with the NSAI were provided in the response given to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) on 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1855W.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what instructions she has given to Government Office for the North West on ensuring that hon. Members are (a) notified and (b) invited to meetings which they arrange between ministers and local authorities. 
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 10 December 2007]: Ministers Private Offices have instructions to inform hon. Members if a Minister is to visit their constituency and to notify the Minister of any request to attend meetings.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986; and how many incidences of non-compliance were reported to her Department in each of the last five years. 
John Healey: Earlier this year, we consulted on the rules about the issuing of publicity by councils. We received over 450 responses, none of which suggested any change was needed to Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986. Communities and Local Government does not have a monitoring role in councils compliance with this provision.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate she has made of the average cost of providing local authority services to (a) rural and (b) urban authorities; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what consideration she gives to the difference in costs to urban and rural authorities of providing services when determining the allocation of local authorities grants settlements; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: Each of the Relative Needs Formulae used in the calculation of the Relative Needs Amount for each authority attempts to assess the relative costs of providing services for each local authority that provides the relevant service, both urban and rural. No estimate of the actual cost of providing local authority services is made under the current method of calculating formula grant, which comprises Revenue Support Grant, redistributed business rates and principal formula Police Grant, where appropriate.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she gives to fuel costs when allocating the local authorities grants settlements; what steps she has taken to alleviate this financial pressure on local authorities; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: Fuel cost is not a direct factor used in the calculation of any Relative Needs Formula. However, a number of Relative Needs Formulae include a measure of the sparsity of the population. This is partially to reflect the additional travelling costs, including fuel, in sparsely-populated areas.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the name is of each funding stream for (a) social exclusion, (b) housing and (c) regeneration from central Government to local authorities in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. 
John Healey: Many programmes address more than one objective so strict classification is not generally applicable. For example, Communities and Local Government's Decent Homes programme improves the condition of housing and estates in the most deprived areas and so helps address social exclusion, housing and regeneration objectives.
The names used in 2007-08 of principal funding streams from central Government to local authorities which help address social exclusion, housing and regeneration objectives include:
Gypsy Site Grant;
Local Authority Supported Capital Expenditure;
Growth Area Funding;
Planning Delivery Grant;
Housing Market Renewal;
Housing Mobility Grant;
Disabled Facilities Grant;
London Development Agency (LDA);
Arms Length Management Organisations and Regional Housing Pot Grant (Decent Homes);
Local Enterprise Growth Initiative;
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund;
Rural Bus Subsidy Grant.
Details of Government funding to local authorities in 2008-09 were announced in the provisional local government finance settlement on 6 December.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the reward grant given to local area agreements is ring-fenced to meet the targets laid out in the agreement. 
John Healey: Performance reward grant is not ring-fenced to meet targets but is paid to authorities in the two financial years following the end of a local area agreement as a reward for achievement of specific targets within the LAA. It is paid to areas provided they achieve at least 60 per cent. of the stretch on reward targets. This money is paid as a non-ring-fenced grant; half can be used to support capital and half revenue expenditure. Local areas are expected to make arrangements with partners on sharing the performance reward grant.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department plans to produce a formal response to the Lyons Inquiry on local government. 
John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 18 June 2007, Official Report, column 1530W.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she gave to the percentage of the population aged over 65 years in Herefordshire when determining the local authority grants allocation; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The sub-national population projections of people aged 65 and over are used in the Social Services for Older People Relative Need Formula (RNF) to determine the number of projected household and supported residents aged 65 years and over. A Social Services for Older People RNF is calculated for Herefordshire since it is the authority with responsibility for social services within its area.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she gave to the number of immigrants in Herefordshire when determining the local authority grant allocation; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: For the majority of the Relative Needs Formulae used in the calculation of the Relative Needs Amount, the client group is based on the sub-national population projections for the appropriate age group. The sub-national population projections estimate the number of people who are resident in the area for over a year, including immigrants. The 2003 based sub-national population projections for 2007 were used for the 2007-08 Local Government Finance Settlement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she gave to the average household
income in Herefordshire when determining the local authoritys grant allocation; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: Household income is not a factor that has been shown to influence the relative need to spend on any particular service. However, various measures of deprivation are included within the Relative Needs Formulae, for example the number of income support claimants and the number of people receiving unemployment-related benefits.
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