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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) for what reasons the commutation factors used in the Firefighters' Pension Scheme were not revised between 1998 and 2008; 
(2) when her Department was advised by the Government Actuary's Department of the desirability of revising the commutation factors used in the Firefighters' Pension Scheme leading to the adoption of new factors in May 2008; and if she will place in the Library copies of subsequent correspondence between her Department and the Government Actuary's Department on the commutation factors used in the Scheme. 
Mr. Khan: The Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992 allows a member to commute part of their pension for a lump sum. This is the actuarial equivalent of the commuted portion calculated from tables provided by the Government Actuary.
The then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister raised issues relating to commutation with the Government Actuary's Department on 23 December 2005 as part of the continuing review of the pension arrangements for firefighters. GAD responded on 22 August 2006 setting out the assumptions which would be adopted in determining new factors. Following extensive discussions with GAD and the Home Office, GAD recommended new factors for the 1992 scheme and the Police Pension Scheme, in which similar commutation arrangements apply. Subsequently, HM Treasury agreed that the new tables should be backdated to 1 October 2007.
Mr. Iain Wright:
The Housing Corporation has issued guidance to registered social landlords (RSLs) (Circular 07/07Internal Controls Assurance) which states that
RSLs should report cases of actual or attempted fraudulent activity to the relevant field director at the Corporation at the earliest opportunity. The report should include actions taken or to be taken by the RSL. Each regional office of the Housing Corporation maintains a list of fraudulent activity that has been reported to them.
In June 2008, the Corporation had a record of 107 cases of fraud/attempted fraud reported to it by RSLs in the last three years. Of these, 36 cases were still under investigation in June. The total amount of fraud in the 107 cases equates to £3,540,082, although this figure is subject to variation where the value of the fraud is not known or an estimate of the value has been provided by the RSL. In the majority of cases where the outcome of an investigation is known, funds were recovered.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether there are plans to revise the house building targets in the new regional spatial strategies as a consequence of the downturn in the housing market. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Regional spatial strategies (RSS) are strategic high level development plans with a 15 to 20-year life-span and housing targets in them reflect the long term need for housing over that period rather than the level of supply at any particular point in the economic cycle. RSSs must continue to reflect the long term housing need. Although the Government recognise the current challenges faced by our housing markets, in the long term it remains committed to increasing supply to 240,000 homes. Further RSS reviews will be undertaken to test both the long term need and capacity in each region.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many ex-service personnel in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England were registered as council tenants in each year since 1997; 
Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level, in respect of households rather than individuals. The parliamentary constituency of Jarrow falls within two local authority districts: South Tyneside and Gateshead.
Data collected include the number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure suitable accommodation).
Since 2005-06, data have been collected on the number of accepted households whose reason for loss of last settled home was having left HM Forces. Data for England, the North East, and the districts of South Tyneside and Gateshead are shown in the following table:
|Main reason for loss of last settled home due to having left HM Forces|
|(1 )Data not reported. Source: Quarterly P1E homelessness return.|
Information about homeless acceptances is also collected by category of priority need of the applicant. This includes applicants who have priority need primarily because they are vulnerable as a result of having served in HM Forces. These data are shown in the following table, for the same areas:
|Household accepted with primary priority need of being vulnerable as result of having served in HM Forces|
|(1)( )Data not reported. Source: Quarterly P1E homelessness return.|
The two sets of figures above will overlap because some homeless acceptances who are ex-service personnel will fall within both (that is, in priority need because they were vulnerable as a result of having served in HM Forces, and the reason for loss of their last settled home is due to leaving Forces accommodation).
It is also likely that some ex-service personnel will be hidden within other priority need categories (for example the presence of dependent children) or other reasons for loss of last settled home (for example, having to leave the family home), and so will not be identifiable in the above figures. It is therefore not possible to identify what proportion of all homeless acceptances are ex-service personnel.
Local authorities who conduct rough sleeper counts collect information on any individuals sleeping rough, and these are published annually on our website. Figures include those rough sleepers who have previously served in HM Forces, but these are not shown separately.
Rough sleeping among ex-armed forces personnel has dropped. There are no specific data for 1997 but studies at the time suggested between a quarter and one fifth of rough sleepers had been in the armed forces at some stage. There is specific information for London provided under the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) recording system. In 2006-07, for those rough sleepers in London contacted by services, 5 per cent. had spent some time in the armed forces in the past. This has remained consistent over the last four years.
The Ministry of Defence provides advice and support to veterans with housing problems. All ex-service personnel facing homelessness are advised to contact the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency via its free phone helpline or Veterans UK website to access specific help.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with insurance companies on requiring repairs to houses affected by flooding to make residences more flood resilient, with particular reference to (a) installation of electrical sockets higher up and (b) the replacement of wooden skirting boards with a water-resistant version. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The issue of flood resilient repairs has formed part of discussions between Ministers and the Association of British Insurers on a number of occasions since the summer 2007 floods, in particular in October 2007 and January 2008.
Mr. Iain Wright: Planning for housing provision in London is primarily a matter for the Mayor of London and the boroughs. Both carry out studies to assess the housing requirements and potential of their areas. These studies provide evidence to inform housing supply targets, for inclusion in their regional and local development plans.
The Mayor's London Plan sets a London-wide target to provide a minimum of 30,500 homes per year and targets for each borough. As required by Government, the new Mayor is updating the London-wide evidence base on housing requirements and potential, to inform new housing supply targets for inclusion in a revised London Plan by 2012 at the latest.
Government provide funding for affordable housing. In London, around £3 billion of public funding through the Housing Corporation's National Affordable Housing Programme is being invested over three years, 2008 to 2011, to deliver substantial numbers of affordable homes to help meet housing need.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what regulations and guidance her Department and its predecessors have issued on the use of non-barrier piping for central heating systems in the last 15 years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Nonethe England and Wales Building Regulations do not generally prescribe the use of particular materials or products (such as non-barrier piping), as they are functional regulations. Regulation 7 covers materials and workmanship, and requires that relevant building works must be carried out with proper materials in a workmanlike manner. The accompanying Approved Document guidance provides further advice on ways of demonstrating that products are fit for purpose.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average additional cost of wall insulation for a home with solid walls; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The report: Review of Sustainability of Existing Buildings: The Energy Efficiency of DwellingsInitial Analysis', published by my Department in November 2006, estimated that it would cost £3,150 to provide solid wall insulation in an average home. It was also estimated that the annual cost saving on energy bills would be £380, and that payback would be achieved in 7.5 years. This contrasts with figures of £342 for cavity wall insulation, saving £133 a year and achieving payback in 2.6 years. The 2006 report is available on the Departments website at:
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many representations she has received from local authorities seeking amendments to planning law to give preferential planning to new build with solar energy installed in the last two years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities and other stakeholders have made representations to the Department on preferential planning for new build with low or zero carbon emissions. Unlike submissions received relating to microgeneration on existing buildings, these representations have not focused on changes to planning legislation. Nor have they concentrated on particular renewable technologies, such as solar energy. Instead, their emphasis has been on ensuring a positive response from local authorities to proposals for low or zero carbon new buildings. In the light of these representations, our new planning policy on climate change underlines that developers with proposals which would secure high levels of resource and energy efficiency and reductions in emissions should expect their planning application to be handled expeditiously and sympathetically.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when representatives of her Department last met housebuilders to discuss the promotion of solar energy in new build housing. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Communities and Local Government (CLG) officials and Ministers continue to engage regularly with the house building industry, and other important stakeholders, regarding the use of microgeneration technology, including Solar Hot Water and Solar PV (photovoltaic), in new build housing. In 2006 we introduced a regulatory framework that encourages renewable systems without prescription. CLG forums that include representation from homebuilders and discuss the future of various renewable technologies are (with last meeting dates in brackets); the Code Implementation Advisory Group (15 September 2008) Code's Technical Advisory Group (21 July 2008), the Industry Advisory Groups
which are working on proposals for revising Part L of the Building Regulations (6 August 2008) and the 2016 Zero Carbon New Homes Taskforce (5 June 2008).
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Department's latest estimate is of the number of new homes required to be built in the south-east region; and how many of these homes are required to fulfil housing need for those living in the south-east region. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Figures for housing provision are set out in Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS). Build rates set out in the current RSS are 29,500 per year in the south-east region. The Government are currently consulting on their Proposed Changes to a replacement RSS, which sets out a figure of 33,125 dwellings per year to be built up to 2026.
The latest 2004 based household projections showed a need for around 35,900 new dwellings in the south-east. The number of additional households to be formed by net migration is estimated at the England level only. These estimates show that 223,000 households will form per year from 2004 to 2026 in England, of which 73,000 (33 per cent.) will be attributable to net migration.
Work carried out for the South East of England Regional Assembly, which prepared the draft RSS now subject to consultation suggested that around two-thirds of new homes built in the region would be occupied by those already in the south-east.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the demand for new homes in (a) the south-east Region and (b) other regions from (i) UK nationals already living in the south-east region, (ii) UK nationals living outside the south-east region, (iii) European Union citizens and (iv) citizens of other countries. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The latest 2004 based household projections showed a need for around 35,900 new dwellings in the south-east. The number of additional households projected to be formed by net migration is estimated at the England level only. These estimates show that 223,000 households are projected to be formed per year from 2004 to 2026 in England, of which 73,000 (33 per cent.) will be attributable to net migration.
Work by the South East of England Regional Assembly, which prepared the draft RSS, suggested that around two-thirds of new homes built in the region would be occupied by those already in the south-east.
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