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The dwellings data are provided by the Valuation Office Agency while the student exemption and empty dwellings data are as reported annually to Communities and Local Government on the CTB and CTB(Supplementary) forms that are completed by all billing authorities in England. All the data relate to particular dates in the autumnof each year.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the vacancy rate of properties in each housing renewal area in 2007 was as a percentage of the regional vacancy rate; and if she will make a statement. 
|Vacancy rates in Housing Renewal areas and their regions, October 2007|
|Region/Renewal a rea||Housing Renewal vacancy rate (percentage)||Region vacancy rate (percentage)||Ratio of HRA to regional vacancy rate|
Council Tax Base
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library copies of the minutes of the Stakeholder Panel on home information packs as referred to in the Government Response to the Communities and Local Government Committee's Report on the Department for Communities and Local Government's Annual Report 2007, Cm 7335, paragraph 14. 
Caroline Flint: A copy of the minutes to the meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel on Home Buying and Selling held on 25 July 2007 has been deposited in the Library of the House. All subsequent meetings were held under the Chatham House Rule and no final minutes were produced for these.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of people living (a) in hostels, (b) in bed and breakfasts, (c) in squats and (d) with friends or family members on a non-permanent basis. 
The Homeless UK project, run by the Resource Information Service (RIS), provides information on hostels and supported accommodation for homeless people in England. There are 1,204 accommodation projects with over 57,000 bed spaces. 246 are direct access hostels with 9,000 bed spaces. Direct access hostels are short-stay emergency services aimed at rough sleepers and those in need of immediate accommodation. Further information on the other types of hostels covered by RIS is not yet available.
RIS does not cover accommodation provided under statutory homelessness provisions. Information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data on the number of households living in temporary accommodation secured by local housing authorities in England under the homelessness legislation are available in our quarterly statistical release, which provides details on types of temporary accommodation including hostels and bed and breakfast hotels. The latest release, published on 10 March 2008 on the Department of Communities and Local Government's website and placed in the Library, contains temporary accommodation data up until the end of December 2007. At the end of December 2007, there were :
3,530 households in bed and breakfast hotels; and
6,620 households in hostels (including women's refuges),
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many families were on social housing waiting lists in each region of England in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 15 May 2008]: Information on the number of households on local authorities' waiting lists broken down by Government office region and local authority for 1997 to 2007 is published on the Communities and Local Government website in Table 600 at:
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of (a) the number and (b) the percentage of new mortgages taken out in each year between 2003 and 2007 with a loan to value ratio in excess of 100 per cent. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Data on mortgages for house purchase are available from the Regulated Mortgage Survey which is supplied to Communities and Local Government by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. As the survey is a sample, data on the total number of new mortgages are unavailable from this source. However by deriving proportions from the survey and applying them to the total number of new mortgages in the UK, as published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, an estimate of the total number can be provided.
|Source: Regulated Mortgage Survey and the Council of Mortgage Lenders.|
Some mortgage advances also include fees on top of the advance required for the purchase of the property. Hence some 100 per cent. loan to value mortgages will have been included in the figures above for mortgages in excess of 100 per cent. of value.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons the definition of Ordnance Survey's new Public Task has been extended to include addressing. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Ordnance Survey's Public Task has not been extended to include addressing as Ordnance Survey has a history of collecting, recording and publishing addressing in part since the 1860s and in full since the 1940s. More recently Ordnance Survey has
taken advantage of digital technology to store this information in databases and make it available separately from mapping.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what grounds local authorities can reject applications for planning permission for developments in back gardens. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local planning authorities must determine planning applications in accordance with the statutory Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Government national statements of planning policy, such as the policies on housing set out in Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3), are capable of being material considerations to be taken into account by local planning authorities.
PPS3 has strengthened the ability that local planning authorities have always had to turn down applications for inappropriate housing development in back gardens. In particular, local authorities could put in place local policies that place restrictions on development on residential brownfield land and set separate targets for different kinds of brownfield land, for example, promoting development on industrial sites. Local planning authorities could also develop their own design policies that set out the quality of development that will be expected in their local area, so that local authorities should feel able to reject proposals which are inappropriate in their context, or which fail to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications were (a) received and (b) granted for the development of new (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The information requested is not held centrally. Communities and Local Government collects quarterly aggregate statistics on development control from all local planning authorities in England. However, we do not collect information on individual planning applications.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had on the merits of removing the need test from Planning Policy Statement 6; and what assessment she has made of the likely economic effect on town centres of ending the need test. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Our response to the consultation on the Planning White Paper Planning for a Sustainable Future in November 2007 said that we have had a
positive and constructive discussions with key stakeholders about our proposal to improve the effectiveness of town centre policy in Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6).
It remains our intention to revise PPS6 and replace the need and impact tests with a new test for assessing the impact of proposals outside town centres. The new test will have a strong town centre-first policy focus, promoting competition and improving consumer choice, avoiding the unintended effects of the current need test.
Mr. Iain Wright:
We remain committed to the town centre first policy. The Governments proposals for improving the effectiveness of town centre policy are set out in the Planning White PaperPlanning for a
Sustainable Future (May 2007). To implement these proposals we intend to consult on revisions to Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6) in the summer. PPS6 only applies in England.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2008, Official Report, column 2140W, on regional Ministers, what the (a) grade and (b) pay scale is of the staff working for each regional Minister in their regional capacity. 
Hazel Blears: Departments' and Government Offices' support to their regional Ministers in their regional capacity varies over time. As such the following information should be seen as estimates and, at any point in time, staff beyond those listed here may be engaged in providing support and input to the role of the regional Ministers. These staff are overseen by senior grades in a management capacity.
|Departmental Private Office||Government Office|
|Region||Grades and FTE||Departmental pay scale(s) (£)||Grades and FTE|
Given the nature of the Minister's roles as Minister for the Olympics and London, it is not possible to separate out the amount of time spent by members of the Private Office specifically on regional activities
|(1)From 7 April 2008|
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