Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Oct 2008 : Column 1406W—continued

Ethnic Groups: Finance

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her policy is on the funding by (a) her Department and (b) local authorities of groups or organisations that form, operate or advertise themselves on the basis of ethnicity. [227360]

Mr. Khan: The Commission on Integration and Cohesion was concerned that groups based on single identities were potentially divisive. However, as both CLG and local Government fund bodies which aim to promote equality of opportunity, we consulted earlier this year on cohesion guidance for funders, looking at how funders could both promote equality of opportunity and cohesion through the conditions they placed on funding. We will be publishing the results of that consultation shortly, along with next steps.

Fire Services: Expenditure

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the revenue costs of the regional project team were in each regional management board area in respect of the FiReControl project in financial year 2007-08; and if she will make a statement. [227314]

Mr. Khan: CLG provided funding in 2007-08 in each region to cover the costs of regional project teams, as follows:

Amount (£)

East Midlands


East of England




North East


North West


South East


South West


West Midlands


Yorkshire and Humber


16 Oct 2008 : Column 1407W

CLG also gave £56,041 to every FRA, excluding LFEPA to fund a project co-ordinator post.

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost to date has been of the development and implementation of (a) the data capture and management toolkit version 1 product and (b) the early station end equipment product in respect of the FiReControl project; and if she will make a statement. [227315]

Mr. Khan: £696,856.62 has been paid to EADS Defence and Security Systems Ltd for the development of the data capture and management toolkit version 1. No payment will be made for early station end development, although a capital charge will be payable when a station end is installed.

Housing: Children

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many children were registered as living in (a) temporary accommodation, (b) non-decent accommodation and (c) overcrowded accommodation in each local authority area in each year since 2004. [226459]

Mr. Iain Wright: Figures are available at local authority level for the number of children in temporary accommodation, but not for the numbers living in non-decent homes or in overcrowded accommodation.

Information about English local authorities’ actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected includes 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.

Information on the numbers of households housed in temporary accommodation is reported quarterly by local authorities as at the last day of each quarter. The number of dependent children or expected children in these households has been collected since mid 2004. Figures reported by local authorities from 2004-05 onwards (as at the end of March each year) are provided in a table, which has been placed in the Library.

Housing: Low Incomes

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the criteria to be used in the allocation of social housing to people released from prison. [227121]

Mr. Iain Wright: The statutory Allocations Code of Guidance, issued in 2002, does not provide advice on general categories of people released from prison. The guidance does however advise housing authorities that, where sex offenders are allocated accommodation, this should be in the light of considered decisions about managing risk associated with their release from prison into the community involving multi-agency arrangements with the police, probation services, social services, health
16 Oct 2008 : Column 1408W
professionals and other relevant bodies. The code also refers local authorities to earlier guidance issued by the Department in November 1999. This document is available from the following link.

The statutory Code of Guidance on Choice Based Lettings, issued this year and placed in the Library on 26 August, offers advice to enable prisoners to access the information necessary to make informed decisions about homes they may wish to bid for on release from prison. This document is available from the following link.

Housing: Repairs and Maintenance

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what procedures are in place to monitor the average time taken on housing repairs by (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations. [225485]

Mr. Iain Wright: For local authorities, the average time taken on urgent housing repairs is monitored through the Comprehensive Performance Assessment framework.

Where appropriate and as part of a risk assessment of overall performance, the data may be used to trigger further investigations of performance by the Audit Commission.

The Housing Corporation's expectations of registered social landlords (RSLs) on responsive repairs are set out in the Regulatory Code. RSLs must develop and manage good quality homes that seek to meet people's needs and preferences now and in the future. The Housing Corporation's guidance on repairs is that RSLs should have a responsive repair service that meets legal and contractual obligations, is efficient and effective and that service standards are published. RSLs will monitor their own performance on repairs which may include the average time taken.

The Housing Corporation collects information on levels of tenant satisfaction with repairs and maintenance, which is then published in the form of performance indicators. Performance on tenant satisfaction is published in Housing Corporation Assessments. The Corporation's field staff will engage with a RSL where it becomes aware that the RSL's tenants are not satisfied and it does not consider that the RSL is taking sufficient steps to address their concerns.

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 set up the Tenant Services Authority, a new regulator of social housing which will have powers to set standards and monitor performance for the management of social housing, including on maintenance and repairs. The TSA was set up to put tenants at the heart of regulation, and address their concerns with the housing management service. The TSA is likely to consult on standards to cover both registered social landlords and local authority landlords in 2009.

16 Oct 2008 : Column 1409W

Housing: Stafford

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what public funding is available to assist local authorities in Stafford constituency to enable the provision of new affordable housing in the next three years. [225312]

Mr. Iain Wright: We are investing £8 billion over the three years 2008-11 in the provision of affordable housing through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme. Of these funds the West Midlands region is set to receive around £460 million. This compares to expenditure on affordable housing through the Housing Corporation in that region of £280 million over the previous three years.

It is open to registered social landlords, other developers and local authority special purpose vehicles such as arm’s length management organisations (ALMOs) to bid to the Housing Corporation for funding. We recently announced our intention to invite local authorities who continue to directly manage their stock to bid on the same terms.

We do not hold information at constituency level.

Local Authorities

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons her Department's local priorities website does not list all local priorities chosen by local authorities, including those not negotiated with central Government. [225453]

Mr. Khan: The local priorities website was launched with the signing of local area agreements (LAAs) on 30 June. The Department is working to make information on the details of local priorities which have been set, though not negotiated with central Government as part of LAAs, also available on the website.

Local Authorities: Cost Effectiveness

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to require information on efficiency savings by local authorities to be included with council tax bills issued by local billing authorities. [225554]

John Healey: I previously announced in February 2008 that, subject to consultation, from 2009 information on waste and better working will be set out with council tax bills, so that local people can see what is happening in their council's search for greater efficiency.

Our proposals are currently out to consultation. The consultation paper 'Inclusion of Efficiency Information with Council Tax Demand Notices' is available at

Local Authorities: Equal Pay

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps are being taken to assist local authorities to meet requirements for equal pay for men and women; and if she will make a statement. [226135]

16 Oct 2008 : Column 1410W

John Healey: Central Government have increased the financial flexibility available to local authorities to meet their equal pay obligations and to speed up progress on delivering equal pay. On 26 September, the Government issued £455 million of equal pay capitalisation directions for 34 local authorities. This builds on the £500 million issued to 46 authorities last year, and takes the total approved by Government to more than £1.1 billion. This support will ensure authorities maintain the positive momentum they have established in implementing equal pay settlements.

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultations were undertaken with those businesses operating within ports prior to the introduction of business rates for port tenants; what form those consultations took; and how long the consultation period was. [226653]

John Healey: Consultation about removal of the power of the Secretary of State to prescribe rateable values, for ports and other utilities, was undertaken in "Modernising Local Government Finance : A Green Paper" published by DETR in September 2000 and in "Strong Local Leadership - Quality Public Service" a White Paper published by ODPM in December 2001. The Local Government Act 2003 then removed the power to prescribe a formula for rating statutory ports.

The port operators were advised by letter of the review of ports and its background in May 2006. Since then there have been detailed discussions to establish the facts, on a case by case basis, with interested parties both among port operators and port tenants and the time taken has varied, dependent on the complexity of each.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is considering to mitigate the financial effects upon traders of the recent change in rating methodology for docks and harbours. [227548]

John Healey: The Department has received representations over the rating of businesses within the ports, and the Government are looking closely at the matter.

Pensioners: Low Incomes

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of (a) pensioners and (b) children were living in income-deprived households in each parliamentary constituency calculated using the Indices of Deprivation 2007. [226208]

John Healey: Tables have been deposited in the Library setting out the numbers and percentages of (a) pensioners and (b) children living in income-deprived households. in each parliamentary constituency in England. The data is based on the Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index and Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index, both of which form part of the Indices of Deprivation 2007.

16 Oct 2008 : Column 1411W

Regeneration: Canvey Island

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 630W, on regeneration: Canvey Island, whether the absence of an additional access road for Canvey Island constituted one of the impediments. [225823]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Government are aware that an additional access road for Canvey Island is an important local issue. We understand that discussions are underway among the relevant planning and transport authorities and other partners in the south Essex Thames Gateway to identify possible solutions. Any solutions which will require funding from Government will need to be considered by the region when it is preparing its advice to Government on the Regional Funding Allocations.

Regional Planning and Development

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will (a) set a deadline for the formal submission of Castle Point Borough Council’s Local Development Scheme and (ii) set out what process of public consultation will be undertaken for the scheme; and if she will make a statement. [226832]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Secretary of State’s policy is to consider reviews of local development schemes in response to annual monitoring reports, against their reported timetable for the year and exceptionally to consider any review prepared by the local authority during the year. I understand Castle Point borough council intend to bring forward a review in 2009.

There is no requirement for public consultation on a local development scheme. This is for the local planning authority to consider.

Regional Planning and Development: Kent

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration was given to including (a) the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway and (b) the Dolphin Barge Museum in the vision framework set out in her Department’s Green Cluster Study for Milton Creek; and if she will make a statement. [227431]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Green Cluster Study for Milton Creek was commissioned via Greening the Gateway Kent and Medway to provide a brief strategic statement of the opportunities for creating green space north of Sittingbourne town centre, along Milton Creek to the Swale. It has no planning status, and is purely intended to set out an overall vision.

The study does include Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway. Both the Light Railway and the Dolphin Barge Museum are acknowledged in contributing to the development of the vision. However, the purpose of the publication is not to describe in detail individual schemes or stakeholders, but to present a broad assessment of opportunities in the area.

Next Section Index Home Page