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|Number of rough sleepers in Reading borough council|
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was allocated to Reading borough council for tackling homelessness in each of the last 10 years; and what information her Department holds on how that funding has been spent. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Revenue funding for local authority homelessness services is principally provided through revenue support grant which is unhypothecated. The Government additionally provide homelessness grants to support all local housing authorities' strategies for tackling and preventing all forms of homelessness, including rough sleeping.
|Homelessness g rant (£)|
|(1) To date|
In 2003 every local authority was required to put in place a homelessness strategy to prevent homelessness and provide accommodation and support. It is for local authorities to decide how to use their homelessness grant to effectively deliver their strategies.
On 5 December 2007, we announced homelessness grant funding of at least £150 million over the three years 2008-11 to continue to support local authorities to tackle and prevent homelessness. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many rough sleepers there were in the Reading borough council area in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with the boards of housing review areas on new house building projects in their areas since 1 April 2008; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no meetings since April 2008 with representatives of Housing Market Renewal pathfinders to discuss new build projects. However, I have met with Housing Market Renewal pathfinders on three occasions since April 2008 to discuss a range of issues relevant to their work programme.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the proportion of unmet demand for housing which arises as a result of net immigration; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her most recent assessment is of the impact of net migration on housing demand in England over (a) the next 20 years and (b) periods beyond 20 years; and when she next expects to revise those assessments. 
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will provide a breakdown by funding stream of the £775 million being brought forward from the 2010-11 budget for affordable housing in each Government office region. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Over £8 billion has been allocated for the National Affordable Housing Programme over the Spending Review period 2008-11. £150 million is being brought forward from the 2010-11 budget and is being allocated to individual regions on a pro rata basis in line with the formulaic allocation of the funding over the whole 2008-11 period as follows:
These are indicative figures and do not impact on the overall three-year indicative allocations to regions. The spending of the allocations will be subject to appropriate bids being agreed and delivered through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Regional Development Agencies will consider bringing forward, from 2010-11, up to £100 million nationally to provide a fiscal stimulus to regional and economic development. They are working closely with the HCA to see how bringing forward funding can make the greatest impact, whilst representing best value on key regeneration schemes that have been highlighted as being at risk.
A further £80 million in 2009-10 will assist the HCA with continuing to bring forward land development schemes of national and regional importance. The HCA will ensure this additional funding is concentrated on those schemes which provide the greatest impact and value for money. The HCA is currently reviewing with my officials which schemes to assist. Decisions will be made in the new year about the process for bringing forward some £250 million Decent Homes and £175 million major repairs allowance funding from 2010-11.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many new build properties were built in each Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder area in 2007-08; and what amount of central grant contribution was made (a) towards each new build unit and (b) across the programme; 
(2) how many properties were refurbished in each Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder area in 2007-08; and what the average cost of refurbishment was (a) in each Pathfinder area and (b) across the programme; 
(3) how many properties were demolished in each Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder area in 2007-08; and what the average cost of demolition was (a) in each Pathfinder area and (b) across the programme; 
(4) how many properties were acquired in each Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder area in 2007-08; and what the average cost of acquisition was (a) in each Pathfinder and (b) across the programme. 
Mr. Iain Wright: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) on 4 June 2008, Official Report, column 990W. Information on average costs is not held in a readily available format and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support her Department is providing for home improvement agencies; what the contribution is of the Supporting People budget to the work of such agencies; and what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the resources available to assist people seeking to modify their homes in order to be able to remain resident in them. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government recognise the importance of adequate resources being made available to provide home adaptations enabling vulnerable people to remain living comfortably and safely in their homes. We have made additional funding of over £30 million available from 2009 which will go to support local agencies, such as home improvement agencies (HIAs), to help older people with minor repairs and adaptations. This is one of a number of initiatives for the promotion and development of HIAs and better home repairs and adaptations services included in Lifetime Homes, Lifetime NeighbourhoodsA National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society, published earlier this year, addressing the housing and related service needs of older people.
My Department has provided new funding for a three-year contract for a national body for HIAs from September 2008 for development of the HIA sector. We have also sponsored a future home improvement agency project, the findings of which were published in September. This project aims to set out a broad agenda for the evolution of the HIA sector to its next level. As a way of encouraging and developing HIAs and their work, it highlights what is already being done well by HIAs and suggests models for wider application.
The Government also recognise the importance of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) programme in enabling people to live as comfortably and independently as possible in their homes, which is why funding in this area has increased significantly. Funding since 1997 has more than doubled from £57 million to £146 million in 2008. The budget will rise by a further £10 million in the next two years increasing to £166 million by 2010, an increase of over 30 per cent. However, the DFG budget should not be seen as the sole source of funding for adaptations, and local authorities are expected to also contribute towards these costs as they have always done.
In addition, the Government's Supporting People (SP) programme allows local authorities to fund handy person schemes for their local area if an authority wishes to do so. In 2006-07 there was a local authority spend on HIAs through SP funding of over £15.413
million. The SP ring-fenced grant conditions will be removed from 2009-10 to enable local authorities to better meet the needs of vulnerable clients, including older people, by the use of more flexible innovative services.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the level of potential duplication between property information questionnaires and questions asked later in the conveyancing process. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The property information questionnaire will provide buyers, right at the start of the buying process, with the basic, useful information about a property that will help to inform their decision to view a property or make an offer. It will also act as a trigger' for seeking more information further down the line.
Mr. Iain Wright: Purchasers of new build homes in most cases are afforded protection through the provision of measures such as warranties. Under the terms of a typical warranty, the builder is responsible for putting right any defects caused by breaches of any technical requirements for the first two years (from completion). From years three to 10 the warranty provides insurance against the cost of repairing certain specified defects. In addition, existing contract law offers avenues of redress for purchasers of new build homes who are dissatisfied with the performance of the homebuilder under the terms of their contract. The buyer can either take action through the courts for monetary compensation or to have the contract performed properly.
However, a recent Office of Fair Trading report found room for improvement in the arena of new-build consumer protection. The OFT has since been working with the homebuilding industry to help it develop a new approach to self-regulation to improve consumer protection together with a new body to administer the protection process. This is intended to be fully operational by March 2010.
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