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25 Apr 2008 : Column 2303W—continued

Eco-Towns: Finance

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much public funding would be required to establish an eco-town at each of the 15 shortlisted locations. [200778]

Caroline Flint: At this stage the 15 shortlisted locations for eco-towns are subject to consultation and are still to be determined, and later in the year we will make final decisions on locations with potential to be an eco-town. The bulk of investment needed to create an eco-town will come from the private sector, but there will also be projects that we want to help develop through direct funding to local authorities using the Growth Areas fund and from mainstream programmes. In terms of the level of growth funding available for eco-towns I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) on 6 December 2007, Official Report, column 1397W.

Eco-Towns: Green Belt

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much greenfield land would be developed in respect of each of the 15 shortlisted eco-town proposals. [200782]

Caroline Flint: In the recently published consultation document “Eco-towns—Living a greener future” we have provided a description of the shortlisted locations and this demonstrates that many make significant use of previously developed land. However in some cases development on greenfield land provides the best opportunities and may be appropriate. All the shortlisted locations for eco-towns are subject to consultation and further assessment.

Energy Performance Certificate: Inspections

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many inspectors she estimates will be qualified to assess a property for an energy performance certificate by 1 April 2008. [193760]

Caroline Flint: As at 1 April we had 7,304 assessors accredited to provide energy performance certificates.

English Partnerships: Manpower

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will break down by (a) sex, (b) ethnicity and (c) age, senior
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managers and staff of English Partnerships engaged in transition arrangements; and whether this staff profile is likely to be maintained in the Housing and Communities Agency. [200181]

Caroline Flint: Although the precise details of the staff of English Partnerships who will transfer to the Homes and Communities Agency will not be known until nearer the event, the following table sets out the current expectation of those who will transfer, broken down by gender, ethnicity and age as at 31 March 2008:

Employees by ethnic minority
Number Percentage





Other White


Other Mixed










Other Asian






Not declared


Awaiting declaration






Employees by gender
Male Female
Number Percentage Number Percentage






Employees by age band
Age Number

16 to 20


21 to 30


31 to 40


41 to 50


51 to 60


61 to 65






Staff from other bodies, including the Housing Corporation, will also transfer to the HCA. Such staff are not included in the aforementioned table. Since the transfer to the HCA is to be treated as if TUPE applied, it is expected that the profile of the HCA will be broadly similar to the profile of English Partnerships, at least in so far as the transfer of English Partnerships staff is concerned.

I can also confirm that, in the Housing and Regeneration Bill, we are amending Schedule 1A to the Race Relations Act 1976 to include the Homes and Communities Agency (Schedule 7, paragraph 5, to the Bill). The Homes and Communities Agency will therefore be subject to the specific duties under the race legislation.

Other amendment of primary legislation is not necessary. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (as amended by the Equality Act 2006) now contains a
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general duty which applies to all public authorities, which would include the Homes and Communities Agency without the need for any further legislative amendment.

Further, we propose to amend the secondary legislation in respect of the specific sex and disability duties to include the Homes and Communities Agency, during the period of transition between the existing bodies and the new Agency.

Housing: Standards

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the cost of implementing the Lifetime Homes Standard, with particular regard to (a) additional building costs and (b) increased plot size. [201443]

Mr. Iain Wright: In ‘Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods—A National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society’, launched on 25 February 2008, we estimated that “compliance with the Lifetime Homes Standards could result in modest additional costs of around £547 per new home.”

Our assessment of the effect of the introduction of Lifetime Homes Standards on new homes was informed by findings from ‘Designed for Manufacture, Lessons Learned’ (English Partnerships, CLG, June 2006). We have stated that it is our aspiration to see all new homes built to Lifetime Homes Standards by 2013, and that we will undertake a review of Lifetime Homes Standards take-up across all sectors in 2010. My officials are now considering what work needs to be commissioned to further develop the evidence base for the proposed review. This will include additional research into the potential impact of Lifetime Homes Standards on (a) additional building costs and (b) increased plot size.

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes were revalued for council tax purposes following (a) the request of the homeowner and (b) sale of the property in each region of England in each year since 1997; and how many moved (i) up and (ii) down by one council tax band following revaluation in each case. [201653]

John Healey: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Local Authorities: Freedom of Information

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what regulations cover the provision of (a) information and (b) documents by local authorities on their actions to (i) hon. Members, (ii) local councillors and (iii) members of the public; and what exemptions apply. [199698]

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John Healey: Part 5A of the Local Government Act 1972, and the regulations made there under, establish the principle regime for the provision of information by local authorities, which are also subject to a range of other legislative provision and case law on information, including

These statutory provisions give extensive rights of public access to local authority information. In addition to these statutory provisions, the members of local authorities enjoy wide common law rights to access information held by the councils of which they are members.

Local Authorities: Standards

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what incentives her Department offers to local authorities to encourage higher standards of performance as measured under the comprehensive performance assessment. [201771]

John Healey: Incentives were announced in September 2006, with the publication of the analysis of responses to the consultation on proposed changes to the delivery of Local Authority Freedoms and Flexibilities under CPA 2005:

Authorities have exemptions to produce certain statutory plans; freedoms over how to spend fixed penalty notices; powers to trade; and freedoms on unringfenced grants. The precise exemptions and freedoms and norms differ according to the authority's performance under CPA.

Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to ring-fence Local Authority Business Growth Incentives scheme funding to business development opportunities. [201408]

John Healey: None. Current Local Authority Business Growth Incentives scheme funding is not ring-fenced and the Government have said they are minded that a reformed scheme would remain unring-fenced.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 4 March 2008, transferred from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on solar energy. [201510]

Mr. Iain Wright: I replied to the hon. Member's letter on 21 April.

Parish Councils: Finance

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether parish councils will be able to apply to the fund created under
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the Community Infrastructure Levy proposed in the Planning Reform Bill; what the criteria will be for applications to the fund; and if she will make a statement. [200406]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 23 April 2008]: The purpose of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is to support the provision of infrastructure needed to support the development of an area. This infrastructure could be at the regional, sub-regional or local level, including at parish level. The Government's initial proposals for the process of identifying the infrastructure are set out in the Community Infrastructure Levy document of 24 January which is available in the House Library.

Further details of how the CIL will work in practice will be set out in draft Regulations, on which we intend to consult in the autumn.

Regional Planning and Development: Eco-Towns

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether proposals for eco-towns will be included in relevant (a) local development framework plans, (b) regional spatial strategies and (c) regional transport plans. [200781]

Caroline Flint: The planning process remains the route by which eco-town proposals would be decided. In some cases the principle of development has already been established in the local development framework, in others this may involve reviews of and/or new development plans coming forward, and in some cases revised regional spatial strategies (RSS). We expect the RSS reviews announced in the Housing Green Paper (which depending on the region will be prepared between now and 2011) to test the longer term issues that arise from the eco town proposals—such as the ultimate size of new settlements. RSS reviews are informed by and incorporate the regional transport strategies, which will take into consideration all proposals for growth.


Attendance Allowance: Tax Allowances

Mark Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of exempting those who are in receipt of attendance allowance from vehicle excise duty. [201214]

Angela Eagle: The Government offer exemption from vehicle excise duty to those in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance or the war pensioners mobility supplement. The total number of recipients as at the end of September 2007 was 1,125,380.

The population of exempted vehicles will vary in engine size and carbon dioxide emissions output and it is not possible to disaggregate this population by notional tax paying class.

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