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10 Sep 2008 : Column 1992W—continued

Regional and local authority level data on the outcomes of all decisions are published quarterly in the Supplementary Tables which accompany the quarterly statistical release on Statutory Homelessness. These are published on our website and placed in the Library. The latest release was published on 12 June 2008.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what methodology her Department uses to estimate the number of (a) homeless people and (b) rough sleepers. [223376]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is as follows.

Statutory Homelessness

The Quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness is a National Statistics product. National Statistics is a quality marker applied to official statistics that meet the highest statistical standards, and means that statistics have been produced in accordance with the arrangements and professional standards set out in the Code of Practice and associated Protocols.

Information about English local authorities’ actions under the homelessness legislation is collected by Communities and Local Government, on the quarterly PIE housing return submitted by local housing authorities.

Data submitted include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available, and the data submitted include ‘snapshot’ information on the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter. The PIE return does not include information on other forms of homelessness, for example rough sleeping.

All PIE returns submitted by local housing authorities undergo thorough validation, and late returns are pursued to ensure that overall response is as complete and accurate as possible. Anomalous data are highlighted and verified by contacting the local authority.

The data validation process typically takes around six weeks, after which estimates for missing data are calculated. The most recent published figures (January to March 2008) were based on full or partial returns from all 354 local authorities.

Published national and regional figures may include estimates for a small amount of missing data from individual local authorities. These estimates are calculated using a procedure based on changes observed in similar authorities.

Statutory homelessness statistics are published around 51 working days after the end of each quarter, on a pre-announced date in accordance with the National Statistics Code of Practice. The latest (12 June 2008) release and previous editions are available both in the Library and via the CLG website. The next Release is due to be published on 11 September 2008.

Rough Sleepers

Local authorities evaluate the extent of rough sleeping within their area in accordance with the methodology on street counts set out CLG’s ‘Guidance on evaluating the extent of rough sleeping—2007 revision’. Street counts are used to establish a robust annual estimate of the number of people sleeping rough on any given night, based on the sum of counts in areas where a known or suspected rough sleeping problems has been identified.

Housing: Energy Performance Certificates

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) home condition reports (HCRs) and (b) energy performance certificates (EPCs) for domestic dwellings are entered on the (i) HCR Register and (ii) EPC Register respectively. [223410]

Caroline Flint: The number of home condition reports which have been entered on the Home Condition Report Register up to 4 September 2008 is 1,806.

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The number of energy performance certificates, for domestic dwellings, which have been entered on the Energy Performance Certificate Register up to 4 September 2008 is 1,113,626.

Housing: Waiting Lists

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many individuals were on social housing waiting lists in (a) urban and (b) rural areas in England in each year since 1997. [212904]

Mr. Iain Wright: The number of households on local authorities’ housing waiting lists, split by urban and rural local authorities in England in each year from 1997 to 2007 is shown in the following table.

Number of households

Urban local authorities Rural local authorities England total













































As reported by local authorities. Excludes households looking for transfers. Rounded to the nearest 10.
Communities and Local Government Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix return (HSSA).

Local authorities in England report the number of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. Information on local authority waiting lists is collected in respect of households rather than individuals.

Where local authorities and registered social landlords operate a common register, households registered with the RSL will be included in the data. However, registered social landlords are independent bodies and can keep their own waiting lists. These data are not collected centrally.

A table has been deposited in the Library showing the number of households on local authorities' housing waiting lists and indicates whether each local authority is urban or rural.

Housing: Sales

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average sale price was of the homes built in the former Deputy Prime Minister’s Design for Manufacture £60,000 home competition. [223411]

Caroline Flint: Construction of the homes on the 10 sites included in the Design for Manufacture competition is ongoing. However, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes (Mr. Lancaster) on 6 March 2007, Official
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column 1890W, the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 26 June 2007, Official Report, columns 628-29W, and the hon. Member on 15 October 2007, Official Report, columns 851-52W.

Local Authorities: Housing

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes she estimates will be bought by local authorities under the Ensuring a fair housing market for all programme; and how much money will be made available for such purchases in (a) Cornwall, (b) the South West and (c) England. [223398]

Caroline Flint: On 2 September, we announced a major cross Government package of new measures to respond to current conditions in the housing market. This includes offering up to 10,000 first-time buyers currently frozen out of the mortgage market the chance to get onto the property ladder through a new shared equity scheme worth £300 million; supporting up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable homeowners facing repossession to remain in their home through a mortgage rescue scheme of £200 million; and bringing forward £400 million in order to deliver up to 5,500 new social homes over the next 18 months on top of current assumptions.

Funding will be through the Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Programme for 2008-11. Our intention is that it will be allocated broadly in line with existing allocations. The corporation will assess fit with regional and local strategies and will continue to work closely with regional assemblies.

We have opened up competition for Social Housing Grant to ALMOs and other wholly owned local authority special purpose vehicles pre-qualified to bid through the Affordable Housing Programme. We will invite local authorities who continue to directly manage their stock to compete for grant on the same terms as those with special purpose vehicles.

Local Government

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) White and (b) Green Papers on reforming the structure of local government have been published by her Department and its predecessors since 1997. [223095]

John Healey: Two such White Papers have included proposals for reforming the structure of local government. In 2002 “Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the English Regions” proposed that where a regional assembly was established local government throughout that region should become unitary. In 2006 “Strong and Prosperous Communities: The Local Government White Paper” recognised the weakness of the traditional two tier structure and announced that the Government would invite councils to make proposals for unitary local government.

There have been no such Green Papers.

Local Government: Reorganisation

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place
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in the Library copies of the independent financial reports her Department has received on the most recent round of unitary local government restructuring. [223141]

John Healey: I have no plans to publish the independent financial reports we received relating to the current round of unitary local government restructuring. As I told the First Delegated Legislation Committee of the House on 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 5, this is advice to Ministers which is not generally released, although I have been quite clear about its conclusions on any restructuring when seeking the House’s approval to it.

Mayor of London: Thames Gateway

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions her Department has held with the Mayor of London on regeneration in the Thames Gateway area. [223121]

Caroline Flint: There have been no discussions with the Mayor of London on regeneration in the Thames Gateway since the Mayoral elections in May.

Mayor of London: Thames Gateway Bridge

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her officials have had with the Mayor of London on the Thames Gateway Bridge in the last 12 months. [223120]

Caroline Flint: There have been no meetings between Ministers or officials from Communities and Local Government Department with the current Mayor of London on the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge.

Non-Domestic Rates: Empty Property

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2008, Official Report, column 1637W, on non-domestic rates: empty property, what the addresses were of the properties where the four possible incidents took place; who the owner of each of the properties was; and whether her Department has been notified of any further cases since 20 June. [223381]

John Healey: The Government have asked local authorities to provide information about how reforms to the empty property rate are working. The information provided on evasion of empty property rates will be based on the informed judgment of individual officers and is being gathered as a broad indicator of the scale of possible avoidance activity and there is no suggestion
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the activity in question is unlawful. This is not a detailed survey. The Department has not collected the information requested. The Department has had further notifications and we will set out our general findings in due course.

Property Information Questionnaires

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which public sector bodies will have access to the information contained in property information questionnaires. [223412]

Caroline Flint: None. As set out in our consultation paper, the property information questionnaire would be completed by individual sellers and provided to prospective buyers as part of the HIP.

Religious Buildings

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many (a) churches and (b) other places of worship were recorded on the Valuation Office Agency’s 2005 Rating List in each region in the latest period for which figures are available; [223138]

(2) how many (a) churches and (b) other places of worship were on the Valuation Office Agency’s 1995 rating list in (i) each government office region in England and (ii) Wales in 1997 or the closest periods to that for which figures are available. [223315]

John Healey: It is not possible to provide the number of churches and places of worship entered into the non-domestic rating lists for England and Wales.

Generally places of worship are exempt from rates and do not appear in rating lists providing they are places not just of religious worship but of public religious worship. Places of worship also exist in schools, hospitals, colleges etc. and these properties will appear in rating lists but no record is kept of the number of such properties that contain places of religious worship.

Right to Buy Scheme: Discounts

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average right to buy discount (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of the market value of the property was in (i) England and (ii) each Government Office region in England in each year since 1996-97. [223413]

Caroline Flint: Average Right to Buy discounts, and Right to Buy discounts as a proportion of market value of the property, for England and in each of the nine Government office regions for 1998-99 to 2007-08 are given in the following table. Information on the amount of discount and market value was not collected before 1998-99.

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