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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the (a) set-up cost and (b) annual running cost of the Homes and Communities Agency. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The costs of the Homes and Communities Agency are set out in the Housing and Regeneration BillImpact Assessment. This states that the one-off cost of setting up the Homes and Communities Agency will be £20 million over three years and identifies substantial synergies that will be released by the creation of a single housing and regeneration delivery body.
The HCA will be a merger of English Partnerships, the investment arm of the Housing Corporation, the Academy for Sustainable Communities and key housing and regeneration programmes delivered by the Department. It will inherit a running cost budget (i.e. central and regional staff costs, accommodation, IT, etc.) from them of the order of £99 million per annum. This excludes revenue and capital Programme budgets and cost of capital.
Mr. Iain Wright: The HCA will combine the delivery responsibility of English Partnerships, the investment arm of the Housing Corporation, the Academy for Sustainable Communities and key housing and regeneration programmes delivered by the Department, including Thames Gateway and Housing Market Renewal. The programme budgets the HCA is inheriting from them will give the HCA a combined budget, under current planning assumptions of:
for 2009-10 £4.6 billion; the HCA will advise the Department on the distribution of supported capital expenditure for the Arms Length Management Organisation programme of some £800 million;
for 2010-11 £3.8 billion; the HCA will also advise the Department on the distribution of supported capital expenditure for the Arms Length Management Organisation programme of some £800 million;
the HCA will also advise on the distribution of some £1.8 billion of PFI credits over the comprehensive spending review period (2008-09 to 2010-11).
Mr. Iain Wright: The constitutional documents of housing associations (for example, the Memorandum and Articles of Association for a company limited by guarantee) give them the power to borrow money in such manner as they think fit and to give such security as the company shall think fit. However, housing associations must operate in furtherance of their objects (which must be consistent with the permissible purposes specified in the Housing Act 1996). Section 9 of the Housing Act 1996 requires that the association must obtain the consent of the Housing Corporation to any disposal of its land by way of charge. In future, the consent of the Tenant Services Authority, the successor to the Housing Corporation as regulator of housing associations, will be required for the disposal of social housing, under section 172 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment the Housing Corporation has made of the aggregate financial value of the reserves of housing associations that it regulates. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Housing Corporation analyses the financial statements of (i) individual housing associations through its review of associations viability and (ii) at an aggregate level in its annual publication, the Global Accounts of Housing Associations. This is available on the Corporations website, at:
Of those reserves, a majority, £8.1 billion, relate to revaluation reserves, as a minority of housing properties are recorded at value rather than cost in the balance sheet. Of the remainder, £5.3 billion are reserves generated from historic surpluses. These surpluses are not represented by cash held by associations and have been invested in housing properties on the balance sheet.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate she has made of the net number of new build dwellings which will be (a) completed and (b) started in (i) the calendar year 2008 and (ii) the financial year 2008-09. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government do not publish forecasts of housing supply. The latest house building statistics published in August 2008 showed that new build completions for England in the 12 months to June amounted to 161,100. New build starts over the same period totalled 147,500.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what records (a) her Department and (b) the Housing Corporation holds relating to the housing debt of (i) local authorities and (ii) housing associations. 
Communities and Local Government does not hold records of the housing debt of housing associations. Information from the annual accounts of associations provides information on the amount of outstanding short-term and long-term debt as at the association's year end, typically 31 March, and is then submitted to the Housing Corporation.
In response to the present economic situation, the Housing Corporation collects quarterly information from a selection of associations that provides an update on current debt levels, the projected requirements for debt over the coming 12 months and access to debt funding.
The corporation also collects long-term financial forecasts covering a 30-year timeframe which provides information on longer-term debt requirements for each association based on its projected business activities.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average length of time taken was for a household to be provided with suitable housing after joining the socially provided housing waiting list in (a) Southampton and (b) Test Valley borough in each of the last two years; and how many households were on the socially provided housing waiting list in (i) Southampton and (ii) Test Valley borough in each of the last 10 years. 
Information about social housing waiting lists is collected in respect of households rather than families. 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.
A table showing the number of households on local authorities' waiting lists for all local authorities in England from 1998 to 2007 is placed in the Library of the House. It is also published on the Communities and Local Government website in Table 600 at:
|Number of households on local aut horities' housing waiting: 1998 to 2007|
|Number of households on the waiting list (excludes households looking for transfers)|
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)
The size of the waiting list is not an indicator of absolute need; it is only useful as a broad indicator of housing demand in an area. Not everyone on the waiting list is necessarily in urgent housing need. The waiting list includes those who consider social housing as their preferred or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move house.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of changes in (a) the availability of mortgages for first-time buyers and (b) trends in house prices on the rate of take-up of the Government's (i) shared equity and (ii) shared ownership products. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made by (a) her Department and (b) the Housing Corporation of the effect of the state of the housing market on low cost home ownership sales by social landlords. 
Affordability remains an issue in many parts of the country. Our understanding is that mortgages are still available for first-time buyers under the Government's shared equity products, and there has been no slowdown in purchases related to these products. The following table shows take-up rates of shared equity products over the past 12 months.
|Take-up rates of shared equity products|
The picture on shared ownership is more mixed and reflects wider market conditions for new build homes. Registered social landlords (RSL) are reporting that this is leading to longer sales times for shared ownership products. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has issued a disclosure of incentive form which has been welcomed by the RSL sector as it should improve simplicity and transparency to prices, and increase lender's confidence.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield of 15 September 2008, Official Report, column 2086W, on housing: low incomes, and with reference to the answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 665W, on housing: low incomes, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the change in the number of housing associations offering Social Homebuy to their tenants between the dates of the answers. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Originally 77 housing associations were awarded funding allocations by the Housing Corporation to offer the voluntary social homebuy scheme to their tenants during the two-year pilot period from April 2006. However, due to mergers and partnership arrangements, eight of these housing associations are not now recorded separately by the Housing Corporation, though they continue to offer the scheme.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of social housing dwellings are currently recorded on the National Register of Social Housing; and what the targets are in relation to data held. 
Mr. Iain Wright: As at 24 October 2008 the National Register of Social Housing contained records of 1,949,759 units of social housing representing 48 per cent. of stock. This is 65 per cent. of local authority owned stock and 34 per cent. of housing association stock. The target is that all local authority stock and all stock owned by the larger housing associations should be captured by April 2009.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the National Register of Social Housing will include property attributes from non-social affordable housing. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The National Register of Social Housing will include non social rented dwellings provided by local authorities, housing associations or other agencies delivering affordable housing through Housing Corporation programmes. This includes Key Worker Housing and properties in shared ownership. The attributes collected will be the same as for social rented properties.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many completed transactions there were under each HomeBuy scheme in each month since April 2006, broken down by local authority area. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Tables have been deposited in the Library of the House which show completions by month and location local authority for each HomeBuy scheme in 2006-07 and 2007-08 through the Housing Corporations Affordable Housing Programme.
The New Build HomeBuy figures include those homes completed through the previous Shared Ownership scheme. Social HomeBuy figures do not include those homes provided by local authorities operating this scheme.
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