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|Jonathan Shaw MP: Minister for the South East|
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Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what use (a) her Department and (b) service providers under contract to her Department make of (i) 0844 and 0845 telephone numbers and (ii) revenue-sharing telephone numbers for calls from members of the public; for which services such numbers are used; what prefixes are used for revenue-sharing numbers; how much revenue has accrued from revenue-sharing numbers in each of the last five years; what consideration her Department has given to introducing 03-prefixed telephone numbers for calls to all such services; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: Communities and Local Government do not require the public to make telephone calls on numbers which charge more than the national rate. Neither Communities and Local Government or its service provider (Siemens) generate any income from calls. The only 0845 number used is the Neighbourhood Renewal helpline (0845 0828383). However, calls to this number are diverted to the main Communities and Local Government switchboard and are charged at a local rate to the caller. Later this year, CLG will introduce the new 0300 number range when it commences a new contractual telephony arrangement.
Mr. Khan: Provisional figures show that in 2007 there were 190 accidental dwelling fire deaths in England, down 18 per cent. from the 2006 figure of 233 accidental dwelling fire deaths. This is the lowest figure for accidental dwelling fire deaths in England since 1981.
The fire safety campaign has been running under the Fire Kills brand for the last 10 years and has been a pivotal part of the Government's success in reducing domestic fire deaths. The success of the Fire Kills campaign has been largely due to a series of national advertising campaigns, focused on the use and maintenance of smoke alarms. There is strong evidence that the public respond positively to the campaign's messages, and have bought smoke alarms as a result of them.
The most recent campaign, Pull Your Finger Out, first ran from January to March 2008. The smoke alarm industry reported a significant increase in sales during this period, while pre- and post-tracking research has shown that the percentage of people who could recall fire safety advertising without being prompted rose from 46 to 64 per cent.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to publish the Audit Commissions comprehensive performance assessment reports for 2006 on fire and rescue services in England. 
Mr. Khan: The Audit Commission undertook a comprehensive performance assessment of fire and rescue authorities in 2005, the results of which were published in July 2005. The Commission followed this up with annual performance assessments of each fire and rescue authority, determining the extent of improvement or deterioration in service delivery over the previous year, how well the authority manages its finances and how effectively it plans and responds to emergencies and incidents.
The performance assessment for 2006 was published in April 2007 and the one for 2007 in January 2008. I understand that Commission is proposing to publish the annual performance assessment for 2008 next month.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the effects of the cost of home information packs on people seeking to sell houses. 
Margaret Beckett: The most recent assessment made of the effects of the cost of home information packs on people seeking to sell houses was independent research carried out by Europe Economics, published in November 2007. They found no evidence of any impact of HIPs on transactions and prices and only a short-term impact of HIPs on new listings which would be marginal compared to wider factors.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the effects on levels of homelessness of the economic downturn; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We allocated over £200 million to local authorities and the voluntary sector between 2008-09 to 2010-11 to tackle homelessness effectively. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness and rough sleeping services. The latest statutory homelessness statistics were published on 11 December 2008, and includes statistics up to the July to September quarter. This showed that local housing authority homelessness acceptances fell compared to the previous quarter and year, with 14,340 during the quarter, and the number of households placed in temporary accommodation has continued to fall, for the twelfth consecutive quarter, to 72,130 by the end of September.
We also recently announced a £200 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme to help vulnerable homeowners. This scheme is available to all local authorities and will aim to help up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households
avoid the trauma of repossession and possible risk of homelessness over the next two years. This scheme is now operational.
Alongside this, the new Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme, which was announced in the Queens Speech, will enable households that experience a significant and temporary loss of income as a result of the economic downtown to defer a proportion of interest payments on their mortgage for up to two years. The Government will guarantee the deferred interest payments in return for banks participation in the scheme.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were recorded as homeless in (a) Leeds, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) the UK in each of the last five years. 
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. The Department does not hold statistics for the devolved Administrations. Local authorities within West Yorkshire are as follows; Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield.
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.
Summary tables showing the total number of households (a) accepted as owed a main homelessness duty and (b) in temporary accommodation for each year since 1997-98, and (c) rough sleeper estimates for each year since 1998, for each local authority, were provided in my answer given to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1499-1500W, and are available in the Library. An extract showing data for the last five years for the local authorities within West Yorkshire is provided in the following tables:
|Table A: Number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty during the year, in local authorities within West Yorkshire local council, 2003-04 to 2007-08|
|Table B: Number of households in temporary accommodation, in local authorities within West Yorkshire local council, March 2004-March 2008|
|Table C: Number of rough sleepers (persons), in local authorities within West Yorkshire local council, 2004-08 (mid-year estimates)|
|(1 )Denotes data not reported by local authority|
(2 )Figures that include estimates of missing data
Figures for acceptances and temporary accommodation can be found in our quarterly statistical release on statutory homelessness. This is published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter. The latest release was published on 11 December 2008, and provides national and regional acceptance figures in table 3, and temporary accommodation figures in table 7, both back to 1997-98:
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