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Green Belt: Planning

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Homes and Communities Agency is planned to have powers to (a) remove green belt planning protection and (b) approve planning applications for development on green belt land. [183261]

Caroline Flint: The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will not have planning powers as of right. However, on the rare occasions that the Secretary of State determines to designate an area she may also choose to confer powers on the HCA which could be exercised in relation to any green belt in that area.

The scope of the HCA's powers in relation to green belt will depend upon which planning functions are conferred upon the HCA in the designation order.

If the designation order confers development plan functions on the HCA, it would be able to propose alterations to green belt boundaries through the development plan preparation process. However, this would involve a detailed process including public consultation and scrutiny by an independent planning inspector.

Where the HCA is given the power to determine planning applications, the HCA would be able to determine whether development should be allowed in the green belt. Any such decision will need to be taken in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise and in particular the HCA will have to decide whether the benefits of the proposed development would outweigh the harm it would cause.

In either situation, the HCA would be subject to the same requirements as any other local planning authority in terms of complying with the strong protection policies in PPG2.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to (a) mark Holocaust Memorial Day and (b) commemorate those who died in more recent genocides. [178892]

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department took to mark the (a) Holocaust and (b) more recent genocides on Holocaust Memorial Day. [183832]

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Mr. Dhanda: Both the Secretary of State and I attended the Holocaust Memorial Day 2008 national commemoration which took place on 27 January in Liverpool. The commemoration acknowledged the suffering experienced by the victims of other more recent atrocities including Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much was given to local authorities for tackling homelessness in each of the last five years; [183479]

(2) what steps are being taken against local authorities who fail to meet departmental targets on reducing (a) homelessness and (b) the number of families residing in bed-and-breakfast accommodation; [183480]

(3) how many rough sleepers there were in Chorley borough in the latest period for which figures are available; [183481]

(4) how much was allocated to Chorley borough council for tackling homelessness in each of the last five years; and how that funding has been spent. [183482]

Mr. Iain Wright: Revenue funding for local authority homelessness services is principally provided through revenue support grant which is unhypothecated. The Government additionally provide "homelessness grants" to support local housing authorities' strategies for tackling and preventing homelessness, including rough sleeping. Homelessness grants are also paid to support voluntary sector organisations tackling homelessness.

The following table shows total allocations of homelessness grant, and allocations to Chorley borough council for each of the five years from 2003-04 to 2007-08.

Homelessness grant for local authorities and voluntary sector (£m) Homelessness grant for Chorley borough council (£000)
















On 5 December 2007, we announced homelessness grant funding of at least £150 million over the three years 2008-11 to continue to support local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.

In addition, £90 million capital funding has been made available to local authorities in 2005-08 to improve hostels and day centres used by rough sleepers, to increase skills and training and to raise aspirations. A further £70 million capital funding is being made available in 2008-11 to build on the success of improving hostels and day centres.

Chorley borough council carried out a rough sleeping count on 30 November 2007 and found no rough sleepers.

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We set a target for local authorities to end the use of B&B accommodation for families with children for more than six weeks under the homelessness legislation. This target was achieved by 31 March 2004. Since 1 April 2004, the effect of the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003 is that local authorities are no longer able to discharge a duty to secure accommodation under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) by placing families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than six weeks. Authorities may be challenged by homeless households and their representatives in the courts if they fail to comply.

Local authorities are on track to meet our challenging target of halving the number of households living in temporary accommodation provided under the homelessness legislation (down to 50,500) by 2010.

In cases where local authorities may be experiencing difficulties in tackling homelessness and meeting the Government's temporary accommodation target, this Department has a team of specialist homelessness advisers available to provide support and guidance.

Homelessness: Young People

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the proportion of 16 to 25-year-olds who were homeless in the latest period for which figures are available, broken down by (a) race, (b) sex and (c) sexual orientation. [183945]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected in respect of households rather than persons. The number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty, is not collected by specific ages, but data are provided by the age band into which the applicant falls, the first of which is those applicants who are aged between 16 and 24-years-old (all applicants must be 16 or over). These data are provided in Table 10 of our Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, which is published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter. The latest release was published on 10 December 2007 and contains data for the period July to September 2007:

Data by age band are not disaggregated further by race, gender, or sexuality. However, the total number of accepted households is disaggregated by (a) ethnicity and (b) gender. These breakdowns are also provided in the Statistical Release (Tables 2 and 10).


Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued to local authorities on (a) planning for and (b) building of incinerators for waste disposal. [178815]

Joan Ruddock: I have been asked to reply.

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My Department has regular discussions with Communities and Local Government (CLG) about a wide range of issues, including sustainable waste management. Decisions on planning for residual waste treatment rest with local authorities rather than central Government. It is also local authorities, in conjunction with the waste industry, that build waste facilities.

The number of new incinerators built will depend on the technologies and scale of facilities chosen by local authorities. Guidance on planning for waste facilities is contained within planning policy statement 10, published by CLG in July 2005.

Recycling rates are growing fast, but there will always be some wastes that cannot be recycled. 11 per cent. of waste is currently incinerated in England, but an increase is likely to be needed to be able to meet landfill directive targets, despite big improvements in waste recycling and minimisation. Recovering energy from waste (including via incineration) offers a considerable climate change benefit compared to the alternative of landfill. This is primarily through avoided landfill methane emissions, with energy generated from the biodegradable fraction of waste also offsetting fossil fuel power generation.

Local Authorities: Publications

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1146W, on local authorities: publications, if she will place in the Library a copy of the pamphlet pack. [178900]

John Healey: A copy of Combating Misinformation Fact Cards for Local Authorities has been placed in the Library and is available at:

Local Government Finance: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much Government funding was allocated to Warrington borough council in (a) cash and (b) real terms in each of the last five years; and what the percentage increase in funding was in each such year (i) on each preceding year and (ii) taking 2000-01 as year one and 100 per cent. [183544]

John Healey: The central Government funding to Warrington borough council in each of the past five years in cash and real terms (at 2006-07 prices) and the percentage increase in funding in each such year on each preceding year and 2000-01 respectively is as follows.

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£000 Percentage increase on preceding year Percentage increase on 2000-01 Index (2000-01 =100)

Cash terms


























Real terms (2006-07 prices)


























Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn (RO) returns

The large difference between 2002-03 and 2003-04 is mainly due to the increase in revenue support grant and the introduction of Supporting People programme specific grant from 1 April 2003.

Central Government funding is defined here as the sum of formula grant (revenue support grant and redistributed non-domestic rates) and specific grants inside aggregate external finance (AEF), i.e. revenue grants paid for councils' core services.

Figures exclude grants outside AEF (i.e. where funding is not for authorities' core services, but is passed to a third party, for example, rent allowances and rebates), capital grants, funding for the local authorities' housing management responsibilities and those grant programmes (such as European funding) where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.

The real terms figures have been revalued for years 2002-03 to 2005-06 at 2006-07 prices using the latest HM Treasury GDP deflators.

Comparisons across years may not be valid due to changing local authority responsibilities.

Minister for London

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what visits the Minister for London has made to Hammersmith and Fulham in her capacity as such. [183016]

Mr. Dhanda: The Minister for Olympics and London gave a keynote speech on Olympics and local area agreements in London at a conference organised by the Government Office for London, which was held at Chelsea Football Club in November 2007.

Multiple Occupation: Licensing

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have used their discretionary powers to extend the houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing scheme to smaller than those required to be licensed by law HMOs. [184184]

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Mr. Iain Wright: There have been no formal applications to the Department from local authorities seeking approval for additional HMO licensing schemes.

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