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13 Jan 2009 : Column 630W—continued


Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she has given to the need for further reform of legislation on rent reviews; and if she will make a statement. [246044]

Mr. Iain Wright: While the terms of commercial leases, including rents, are set by agreement between landlords and tenants, Government are concerned that lease terms should not constrain flexibility in the commercial property market. In 2007, at our request, the property industry introduced a revised stronger code of practice which, among other matters, makes recommendations to landlords about the arrangements for commercial rent reviews. This “Code for Leasing Business Premises in England and Wales 2007”, is voluntary. However, Government are monitoring the use and impact of the code, and will evaluate the outcome to see if it has made a difference to industry practice. Government remain committed to lease reform and has not ruled out legislation as an option.

Repossession Orders

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what dates she held meetings with (a) HBOS, (b) Nationwide, (c) Abbey, (d) Lloyds TSB, (e) Northern Rock, (f) Barclays, (g) RBS and (h) HSBC on the Government's repossessions policy before its announcement on 3 December 2008. [245610]

Mr. Iain Wright: Government held productive discussions with all eight lenders mentioned in the days ahead of the 3 December announcement and agreed with them their support in principle to the homeowner mortgage
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support scheme. We have since been working with these, other lenders and the trade bodies to develop the detail of the scheme.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 10 November 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA97, on housing: repossession, on what dates each regional summit was held; which local authorities attended each summit; and if she will place in the Library a copy of each of the handouts and presentations from the summits. [246037]

Mr. Iain Wright: On 2 September, the Government announced £200 million for a mortgage rescue scheme to help vulnerable people facing repossession remain in their home, where possible. Government are working closely with key delivery partners to ensure the scheme is operational as soon as possible.

Communities and Local Government has held a series of regional summits at Government office level to explain the mortgage rescue scheme. All local authorities were invited to attend on a voluntary basis. Regional summits were held on the following dates:

Presentations used at each regional summit were used to inform policy development. Government are currently consulting all local authorities on a guidance note providing a step-by-step guide on how to set up and operate the Mortgage Rescue Scheme. This will be issued in January 2009.

Right To Buy Scheme: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much local authority housing stock in (a) Bexley and (b) London has been sold under the right-to-buy scheme in each year since 1997. [244752]

Mr. Iain Wright: The London borough of Bexley transferred its housing stock to registered social landlords (RSLs) in February 1998. There have consequently been no sales of local authority housing stock under the right to buy scheme in Bexley since that date.

The preserved right to buy is available to tenants of RSLs who were formerly secure tenants of local authorities and have moved to RSL landlords with their homes under the terms of stock transfers. Figures for preserved right to buy sales alone are not available at local authority level, but combined figures for RSL right to buy, preserved right to buy and right to acquire sales are available, and the following table shows these figures for the London borough of Bexley:

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RSL sales of social housing in the London borough of Bexley















Regulatory and Statistical Returns from Registered Social Landlords to the Housing Corporation.

The following table shows the number of local authority right to buy sales and RSL social housing sales (preserved right to buy, right to buy, right to acquire) by London boroughs in each year since 1997-98:

Local authority right to buy sales in London( 1) RSL sales of social housing in London( 2)






























(1) PIB figures for London include imputed figures for missing quarterly returns from any of the local authorities in London.
(2) RSR figures include combined RSL sales through the right to buy, preserved right to buy and right to acquire schemes. Figures are not available for RSL social housing sales before 2001-02.
Quarterly PIB returns from local authorities, and Regulatory and Statistical Returns (RSR) from Registered Social Landlords to the Housing Corporation.

Sleeping Rough

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes have been made to the methodology used to (a) calculate and (b) count rough sleeping in the last 36 months; and what changes her Department is considering. [246049]

Mr. Iain Wright: Rough sleeping counts provide an effective tool by which we can monitor and demonstrate progress in reducing rough sleeping levels. They give us an indicator of the relative extent of the problem between areas and over time. In 2007, we consulted on and strengthened the methodology by, for example, introducing verifiers.

While we will keep the local counts as a useful measure, we know that they provide a limited snapshot. They should be the start of the process not the end. In the new rough sleeping strategy “No One Left Out” published in November 2008, we set out plans to launch a new approach to help local authorities monitor progress and track people sleeping rough, ensuring that counts are not just an opportunity to identify levels of need but more importantly to do something about it. It is important that we are clear that the headline figure is the total of the counts undertaken during the year. We will no longer ask local authorities that do not count to provide an annual estimate in their annual housing statistics return.

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Specialist Cohesion Team

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made in the roll out of Specialist Cohesion Team pilots; how much the teams (a) have cost to date and (b) are expected to cost in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11; how the pilots will be assessed; and if she will make a statement. [245544]

Mr. Khan: Specialist Cohesion Team (SCTs) pilots are under way in two local authorities: Breckland and Barnsley. Both pilots commenced in July 2008 and end January 2009. Both pilots are making good progress, according to their individual terms of reference.

CLG has allocated up to £200,000 in 2008-09 from programme funding to deliver and independently evaluate the SCT pilots. Costs for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are yet to be decided.

Separate reports will be produced for both areas in February 2009.

An independent evaluation of both pilots will commence in January 2009.

Temporary Accommodation: Peterborough

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) children and (b) adults in the Peterborough City council area were in temporary accommodation on 30 September (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007 and (iv) 2008. [245797]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information about English local authorities’ actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level, about households rather than individuals.

Data collected 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.

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 figures include: those households which have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty; those for which enquiries are pending; those being accommodated for a limited period because they have been found intentionally homeless and in priority need; those being accommodated pending possible referral to another authority, and those being accommodated pending the outcome of a local authority review or county court appeal.

The number of dependent children (or expected children) in these households is also collected, but data on the number of adults is not. The figures for total households, total number of families and total children in temporary accommodation, reported by Peterborough City council, as at 30 September in 2005 to 2008, are shown in the following table.

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Households in temporary accommodation, and number of children within these households, in Peterborough local authority as at 30 September, 2005 to 2008

Total households in TA arranged by authority Total number of households with dependent children Total children (and expected children) within these households

















Tenants: Greater London

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of levels of satisfaction amongst (a) private rented sector tenants and (b) other tenants in London. [246599]

Mr. Iain Wright: Based on the Survey of English Housing, the estimated levels of tenant satisfaction in London during 2006-07 amongst (a) private tenants and (b) social tenants were as follows:


Proportion of tenants satisfied with their landlord Proportion of tenants satisfied with their accommodation

(a) Private tenants in London



(b) Social tenants in London



Survey of English Housing, 2006/07

Travelling People

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of unauthorised Traveller sites in England. [246370]

Mr. Iain Wright: In July 2008 local authorities recorded 981 unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller sites in England.

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in respect of which areas reviews of Green Belt and the provision of Traveller sites are recommended in draft regional spatial strategies. [246371]

Mr. Iain Wright: There are currently four draft regional spatial strategies (RSS) undergoing revisions.

East Midlands :

The Government are currently considering representations made on the Proposed Changes and are working towards the final issue of the RSS in 2009.

Review of Green Belts recommended

Provision of traveller pitches recommended

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