|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
31 Mar 2008 : Column 711Wcontinued
Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans her Department has for provision of affordable housing in (a) Enfield and (b) Greater London; 
(2) what steps her Department is taking to help first-time buyers access affordable housing in the London Borough of Enfield. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The London Plan, the Spatial Development Strategy for London, sets a target of 30,500 net additional homes per year up to 2016-17, which includes 395 for the London borough of Enfield. Of these additional homes, 50 per cent. London-wide should be affordable. As the London borough of Enfield's Unitary Development Plan affordable housing policy was not saved under the new planning system introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the London Plan 50 per cent. affordable housing target is the default target in the borough.
Of the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme 2008-11 budget of £8.4 billion, £3.3 billion will be spent in London. Initial national allocations for new schemes of £3.3 billion were announced in February, of these London received total allocations of £603 million of which around £86 million is for low cost home ownership. Of this Enfield will benefit from over 6m of investment in affordable housing. Rather than allocating all their resources at the start of the programme, the Corporation will be returning to the market at regular intervals to seek further bids for funding affordable housing.
We are improving affordability for purchasers accessing the Government's HomeBuy schemes. From April this year two new equity loan products will be available through the Government's Open Market HomeBuy option. The loans provide first time buyers with more flexibility around the percentage of the value of their home which can be borrowedup to a maximum of 50 per cent.and more choice in the mortgage they can take out.
In addition, in the Housing Corporation's 2008-11 Affordable Housing Programme we are improving affordability for purchasers of our New Build HomeBuy/shared ownership scheme through smaller shares and lower rents in the Housing Corporation's 2008-11 Affordable Housing programme.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for development consent she estimates the proposed Infrastructure Planning Commission will deal with annually under (a) the single commissioner and (b) the panel Procedure. 
John Healey: The Planning Bill Impact Assessment, published in November 2007, estimated that the Infrastructure Planning Commission would consider around 45 major infrastructure projects a year. In addition, the May 2007 Planning White Paper made clear that there would also be a larger number of less complex cases, such as works necessary to ensure the operational effectiveness and resilience of the electricity transmission and distribution network. We anticipate that only 30 applications would require the panel procedure; the remainder could be considered under the Single Commissioner procedure.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the likely costs for her Department of setting up the Infrastructure Planning Commission proposed in the Planning Bill. 
John Healey: The Planning Bill Impact Assessment, published in November 2007, estimated that the one-off cost of setting up the Infrastructure Planning Commission would be £5 million.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the likely annual running costs of the Infrastructure Planning Commission proposed in the Planning Bill. 
John Healey: As I stated when giving evidence to the Planning Bill Public Bill Committee, we estimate that the average annual cost of the Infrastructure Planning Commission will be £9.3 million per annum. This was set out in the Planning Bill Impact Assessment, published alongside the Planning Bill in November 2007.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department issues to local authorities on safeguarding public money when outsourcing services overseas; what (a) financial and (b) other restrictions there are on local authorities in undertaking such outsourcing; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: Subject to their legal duties, including the duty of best value and public procurement law, local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions. Public authorities are not able to exclude a company based in a European Union or World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement signatory country on the basis that some of the work may be sourced overseas. The Department has not published guidance specific to the situation where councils choose to outsource services overseas.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what legislation governs the powers of the Local Government Ombudsman; what changes have been made to that legislation since enactment; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey: The legislative framework for the Local Government Ombudsman is provided by Part III of the Local Government Act 1974. This has since been amended by a range of primary legislation to reflect changes in the organisations and local services which fall within the Ombudsmans jurisdiction. Most recently, Part 9 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 provided for the modernisation and clarification of the role and working practices of the Ombudsman.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of local government restructuring on the level of council reserves in councils facing restructuring or abolition prior to their restructuring or abolition. 
John Healey: The proposals received by the Government included assessments by each of the proposing councils of the likely call on reserves. On the basis of our independent financial advisers consideration of the proposals, we judge that creating the nine unitary councils we have decided to implement is likely to require an aggregate one-off call on reserves of less than £80 million which will allow savings of over £100 million annually to be realised.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding from the public purse Manton Community Alliance neighbourhood management pathfinder received in each year since 2003; what percentage of such funding supported (a) salaries and (b) overheads in each year; and what proportion of the pathfinder's revenue such funding represented in each such year. 
John Healey [holding answer 20 March 2008]: As a round two pathfinder, Manton NMP was allocated a maximum of £200,000 during stage two (2003-04) to support the development of their strategy. Manton NMP formally launched its strategy on 27 January 2005, moving to stage three, the implementation stage of the national pathfinder programme. They will receive a further £350,000 on average each year, for a maximum of seven years, subject to satisfactory performance.
Since 2005 it has managed to attract over £400,000 of private funding to support regeneration activities in the locality. No private funding has been used to support either salaries or overheads for the scheme.
Between January 2005 and March 2008 Manton Community Alliance have spent 59 per cent. of their total budget on staffing costs including salaries, on costs, insurances and other expenses in line with local government employment conditions. The breakdown for each financial year is as follows:
January 2005 to March 2006: 56 per cent.
April 2006 to March 2007: 59 per cent.
April 2007 to March 2008: 62 per cent.
Between January 2005 and March 2008 Manton Community Alliance have spent 17.1 per cent. of their total budget on overheads. The breakdown for each financial year translates is as follows:
January 2005 to March 2006 19.4 per cent.
April 2006 to March 2007: 16.2 per cent.
April 2007 to March 2008: 15.6 per cent.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Woking dated 6 February, 27 February and 5 March 2008 on Mr. Graham Jones. 
Mr. Dhanda: I replied to the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) on 20 March.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what issues the Minister for the East of England has worked on that apply directly to Essex since her appointment. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Minister for the East of England has worked on a number of region-wide issues that apply to directly to Essex since her appointment. She has been engaged with local area agreements; the Sub-National Review of Regeneration and Economic Development; the region's growth agenda; water supply; issues relating to coastal flooding and defences and she is also due to meet officials to discuss preparations for the Olympics in the east of England.
She met with the previous chief executive of Thames Gateway, Judith Armitt, and attended the launch of the Thames Gateway Delivery Plan (held at the Docklands, London) in November and December last year.
The Minister for the East of England also visited Thurrock in Essex on 25 February as both Minister for Equalities and Minister for the East of England. She visited the South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre and met with representatives from the local authority and the strategic health authority.
She has also met with senior members and officers from Essex county council and Uttlesford council at a number of region-wide events and has been engaged with Essex media such as the East Anglian Daily Times and the Colchester Evening Gazette.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many times the Minister for the East of England has visited Essex since her appointment; and for what reasons. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Minister for the East of England visited Thurrock in Essex on 25 February as both Minister for Equalities and Minister for the East of England. She visited the South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre and met with representatives from the local authority and the strategic health authority.
The Minister is also due to visit Thurrock in June to host a region-wide skills meeting and again in July to meet with the county council and other county partners to discuss their priorities.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications opposed by the Environment Agency on the basis of flood risk were subject to scrutiny by the Secretary of State in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 25 in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007; and what the (i) location and (ii) outcome of each application was. 
Eleven planning applications were referred to the Secretary of State in 2007 under the Town and Country Planning (Flooding) (England) Direction. These were applications for major development in flood risk areas to which the Environment Agency had objected. Details are tabled as follows. Most of
them have been referred back to the local planning authority for decision. This shows that the Direction is working as intended, because it requires the local planning authority, the applicant and the Environment Agency to explore ways in which to address the Environment Agencys concerns.
The Secretary of State called-in and decided a further five planning applications during 2006 and 2007, not under the Direction, where flooding was a main issue. Details of these are included in the following table.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether she has considered amending planning guidance to ensure that private children's homes require planning permission before operating in former private residential properties; 
(2) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on the regulation of private children's homes operating in residential properties; 
(3) what representations she has received on private children's care homes which operate from residential properties; 
(4) what representations she has received on the operation of private residential children's homes by the company Green Corns; 
(5) whether she has had discussions with the Local Government Association on the regulation of private children's homes operating in residential properties. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|