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Communities and Local Government

Arms Length Management Organisations: Finance

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the remaining Round 6 arms-length management organisations will be informed of the results of their bids for decent homes funding. [195710]

Mr. Iain Wright: 10 of the 15 local authorities under round six of the arms-length management organisation (ALMO) programme have been informed of the results of their bids for decent homes funding.

Officials are in discussions with the remaining five authorities and expect to conclude those negotiations shortly.

Caravan Sites: Travelling People

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she plans to take on the absence of proposals from Kent county council for the provision of permanent gypsy sites. [197488]

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Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities in Kent have prepared Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments which have been submitted to the South-East Regional Assembly for consideration as part of the development of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). The RSS will, in turn, inform the development of Development Plan Documents which will allocate specific sites to meet the identified need. Local planning authorities need not await the RSS to take steps to meet accommodation needs, and we expect authorities where there is clear and pressing need for accommodation to take such steps now.

Councillors: Allowances

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements local authorities have to establish independent remuneration panels before increasing councillors’ allowances above wage inflation; and what guidelines have been produced on (a) the composition of such panels and (b) how frequently they should report. [194342]

John Healey: Each local authority is required, under the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) England Regulations 2003 to set up and maintain an independent remuneration panel. The independent remuneration panel will make recommendations as it sees fit about the level of basic allowance for all members and the level of special responsibility allowances, and to whom they should be paid.

Advice on establishing independent remuneration panels and their role is contained in “Guidance on Members’ Allowances for Local Authorities in England”

Departmental Sustainable Development

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when her Department plans to publish its sustainable operations policy statement. [195890]

Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government published its updated Sustainable Operations Policy Statement and more detailed Sustainable Operations Policy in February 2008. The statement is available on the Department’s website.

The Department’s progress against delivery of the sustainable operations targets is reported annually by the Sustainable Development Commission.

Fire Services: Accidents

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many accidents there were involving fire engines on emergency calls in (a) Castle Point constituency and (b) Essex in each of the last five years. [196800]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 26 March 2008]: The number of fire appliance accidents in Essex, while on emergency calls, is shown in the following table:

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Fire appliance accidents in Essex while on blue light: 2001-02 to 2005-06











n/a = Not applicable. Source: Annual returns to CLG.

Figures for Castle Point are not available separately.

First Time Buyers: Coastal Areas

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assistance her Department provides to local first-time buyers living in smaller coastal communities. [192008]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Government’s low cost home ownership scheme “HomeBuy2”, introduced in April 2006 operates across England. It is open to social tenants, people on the waiting list (who would be a priority for a social rented home), key public sector workers through our Key Worker Living programme, and first time buyers prioritised for assistance by Regional Assemblies. It operates alongside the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes which enable eligible social tenants to purchase their rented home.

The scheme includes three products: Open Market HomeBuy (shared equity), New Build HomeBuy (shared ownership) and Social HomeBuy. The First Time Buyers’ Initiative scheme run by English Partnerships, the national regeneration agency, is part of the New Build product. These schemes help purchasers get onto the housing ladder with shares from 25 per cent. As announced in the 2007 Budget, from April 2008, we are offering two new equity loans which will be available through the Government’s shared equity scheme Open Market HomeBuy. The loans will improve affordability for purchasers and provide more choice in the mortgage which buyers can take out.

As part of the Housing Green Paper we are increasing outputs of new affordable housing to at least 70,000 by 2010-11 which will include at least 25,000 new shared ownership and shared equity homes a year by 2010-11 mainly funded by the Housing Corporation.

Homebuy Scheme

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes have been sold or part-sold under Social Homebuy in each month since the commencement of the scheme. [191667]

Mr. Iain Wright: Social HomeBuy is a voluntary scheme, launched in April 2006, which enables tenants of participating local authorities and housing associations to buy a minimum 25 per cent. share in their rented home at discount. The scheme has been operating as a two year pilot until March 2008. The following table shows the number of sales in each month under the pilot scheme since its commencement.

The 176 sales up to the end of February 2008 have arisen from about 20 of the initial participating landlords, most of whom joined the pilot in late 2006. Since April
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2007 a second phase of landlords has joined the scheme and now 77 housing associations and 10 local authorities are offering Social HomeBuy to their tenants. As with normal home purchases, Social HomeBuy transactions can take several months to reach completion.

2006-07 2007-08

























Social HomeBuy is just one of a range of products which help social tenants into home ownership. Since 1997 the Government have helped over 95,000 households (including social tenants, key workers and other first time buyers) on to the housing ladder through both shared ownership and shared equity schemes.

Homelessness: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households were accepted as eligible for assistance for homelessness in Newcastle upon Tyne in each quarter from 1 January 2006; and how many households were in temporary accommodation from 1 January 2006. [196109]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information about English local housing authorities’ actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level.

Under the legislation, authorities have a duty to secure suitable accommodation for applicants accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need (or take steps to secure that accommodation does not cease to be available if the applicant is likely to become homeless within 28 days). These duties are referred to as “the main homelessness duties”, and applicants who are accepted as owed a main duty are referred to as “homeless acceptances”. Applicants who are eligible for assistance, but not owed a main duty (for example, because they are not in priority need), must be provided with advice and assistance in any attempts they make to secure accommodation for themselves; they are not recorded as “homeless acceptances”.

An authority must secure suitable accommodation for an accepted household. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

Information on the number of applicants eligible for assistance (including a breakdown of those who are, and are not, accepted as owed a main duty) is published in our quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, which also includes data on the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end
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of the quarter. The Supplementary Tables give figures for each local authority, including Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and are published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter. The latest release was published on 10 March 2008 and contains data for the period October to December 2007:

Data for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, taken from the table for the period October to December 2007, are provided below, and give (1) the number of eligible households on which a decision was taken under the homelessness legislation (referred to as “decisions”) during the quarter, of which (2) the number that were accepted as owed a main duty (“acceptances”), and also (3) the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of the quarter:

Decisions, acceptances and temporary accommodation- Newcastle-upon-Tyne, fourth quarter 2007

(1) Number of eligible households on which a decision was taken under homelessness legislation (“decisions”), Q4 2007


(2) Number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty (“acceptances”), Q4 2007


(3) Number of households in temporary accommodation as at the end of the quarter (31 December 2007)


CLG Statutory Homelessness Statistical Release—Supplementary Table: Local authorities’ action under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts: fourth quarter 2007

Supplementary tables for each quarter back to 2006 are also available on our website (from the following link) and in the Library.

Housing: Disabled

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes were used by Tamworth Borough Council to house disabled people in each of the last five years. [195424]

Mr. Iain Wright: Over the last five years, Tamworth borough council used 146 homes to house disabled people.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2008, Official Report, column 1996W, on housing: disabled, what the cost to the public purse has been following the settlement; and if she will make a statement. [196237]

Mr. Iain Wright: The details of the settlement are subject to a binding confidentiality agreement but as my previous answer stated, the Government are satisfied that it represented good value for money.

As also stated in my previous answer the settlement negotiated by the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Legal Directorate at Communities and Local Government was approved by HM Treasury and counsel as an appropriate settlement representing value for money to the public purse having regard to: the chances of success; professional costs and other fees and expenses
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likely to be incurred; irrecoverable costs; the duration of proceedings and further delays to the delivery of public services.

Housing: Finance

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of Government receipts from right to buy sales have been spent on housing in the last 10 years, broken down by type of housing. [192038]

Mr. Iain Wright: As I stated to my hon. Friend in my answer to him on 21 February 2008, Official Report, columns 905-07W, receipts arising from Right to Buy (RTB) sales are interchangeable with all other capital receipts. Therefore, they are not hypothecated to any particular spending at any particular time. However, the Government have consistently invested more in housing than they have received in receipts.

The following table shows total receipts arising from RTB sales as shown in my answer referred above. The Department does not collect how much of those receipts were set aside for debt repayment or paid to the Secretary of State, although it is known that 75 per cent. of these receipts are so treated after administrative, improvement and other costs are taken into account.

The table also shows the overall capital sums invested in housing broken down into investment in council owned housing stock and investment through registered social landlords. The total is greater than the component parts set out as it includes, for the most part, local authority investment in private sector housing. The balance between the total investment figures provided and the sum of the council and registered social landlords figures relate to grants provided to the private sector such as housing market renewal and disabled facilities grant. The figures and this explanation on investment were provided in my answer to my hon. Friend on 17 December 2007, Official Report, columns 1140-41W.

Right to Buy (RTB) Receipts Total CLG capital investment in housing (a) council owned stock (b) registered social landlords



















































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