|Budget 2008-09 (£000)
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 23 October 2008, Official Report, column 489W, on Government Office for the Regions: finance, for what reason the Government Office Network has stopped retaining records of the total programme expenditure of the Government Offices for the Regions; and which bodies audit the overall expenditure of the individual Government Offices. 
Mr. Khan: The Government office network does not undertake an annual exercise to review departmental programme expenditure that passes through the GOs since all programme budgets administered by the Government offices are the responsibility of the Secretaries of State for the relevant sponsor Departments. Departments can delegate authority to the regional directors, though all expenditure incurred is recorded in the accounts of the Department concerned.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 28 October 2008, Official Report, column 952W, on home information packs, if she will place in the Library a copy of the report of the working group. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 321W, on home information packs, if she will place in the Library a copy of the proposals submitted to her by the Stakeholder Panel on Home Buying and Selling. 
Mr. Iain Wright: No formal paper was submitted by the Stakeholder Panel on Home Buying and Selling. Following discussions at the panel in November, it became apparent that further work was needed. That is why my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing announced, on 8 December, the establishment of a working group to consider the issue of condition information.
Margaret Beckett: The new Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which was established on 1 December 2008, is the Government's key delivery partner in relation to housing and regeneration. It has the ability to acquire land in support of its statutory objects and in accordance with priorities established through its corporate planning process. The HCA can acquire land for a range of purposes, for example to unlock sites in fragmented ownership or to provide access enabling development to proceed.
In addition, the HCA is responsible for the management of the programme for the delivery of more and better homes on surplus public sector land, with a target of 200,000 homes by 2016, of which the aspiration is that up to 50 per cent. of homes delivered will be affordable homes. The HCA is working closely with landowning Departments to ensure that land is coming forward.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much of the Homes and Communities Agency's national affordable homes budget for 2008-09 has been (a) allocated and (b) spent. 
Margaret Beckett: Over £2.1 billion has been allocated from the Homes and Communities Affordable Housing Programme budget for 2008-09 by the end of December 2008. The HCA are accepting and assessing bids on a continuous basis as part of their continuous market engagement.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what planned capital expenditure on housing in future years by her Department and its agencies she is bringing forward. 
Margaret Beckett: On 2 September 2008 we announced a £1 billion market rescue package to increase confidence, stability and fairness in the housing market. On 24 November we brought forward additional capital spending as part of the 2008 pre-Budget report fiscal stimulus. Considering together the September housing announcement and the pre-Budget report, we are making £330 million, £1.195 billion and £55 million of capital available for expenditure on housing in years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively. A further £100 million is being brought forward for regeneration programmes in 2008-10. In addition, £95 million has been made available for 2009-10 and 2010-11 to support reforms to Support for Mortgage Interest announced in the September 2008 housing package.
This total package of £1.775 billion includes the additional flexibility offered by the Government, at the pre-Budget report, to the regional development agencies to bring forward £100 million of capital expenditure from financial year 2010-11 to 2009-10. Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform are currently working closely with the regional development agencies to take this forward.
It also takes account of the flexibility offered by the Government to local authorities in England to bring forward up to £175 million of planned major housing repairs expenditure from 2010-11 to 2009-10. Communities and Local Government will invite local authorities in England to bring forward up to this amount to enable councils to invest in a way which will maximise investment in the housing stock in 2009-10.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to Lord Berkley of 13 January, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA132, what assessment she has made of the likely effects on (a) churches and (b) listed buildings of implementing the EU proposal that member states will no longer be able to provide incentives for the construction or renovation of buildings which do not comply with minimum energy performance requirements. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether householders are required to obtain a certificate of lawfulness when paving over their front garden with permeable material; and what powers local authorities have to inspect the materials used. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Householders are neither required to seek specific planning permission nor obtain a certificate of lawfulness when paving over their front gardens using permeable materials. Local authorities have the right to inspect the materials used as part of their normal enforcement powers.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the mix-adjusted average price of a property purchased by a first time buyer was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government calculate monthly mix-adjusted average purchase prices of domestic dwellings bought by first time buyers based on data from the Regulated Mortgage Survey. This is available for the UK, by country and Government Office region back to February 2002 on our website at:
|Total pathfinder funding 2007- 0 8
|(1) The three wider lower demand areas.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties were (a) demolished, (b) acquired and (c) refurbished in each housing market renewal pathfinder area in 2007-08. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The way in which student halls of residence are treated for planning policy purposes and valuation purposes differs. Under the planning system, uses of land and buildings are categorised through reference to the Town and Country (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). It is for local planning authorities to determine, in the first instance, depending on the individual circumstances of each case, whether student halls of residence would fall under one of the residential use classes or would be considered sui generis' (i.e. does not fit into any of the specified use classes).
For valuation purposes, student halls of residence are treated as domestic property, and subject to council tax bandings. Where they form part of the same hereditament as a college, they will be treated as composite property. The value of the domestic element of a composite is apportioned out of the value of the whole. Though they
are banded, they are an exempt class under Class M of the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 (SI No 558), and no council tax is payable.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account is taken of (a) student halls of residence and (b) houses of multiple occupation in the process of establishing local authority targets for house construction. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) requires all local planning authorities to adopt an evidence based approach to assessing current and future levels of need and demand for housing. Local authority housing targets are set through Regional Spatial Strategies. Houses of multiple occupation are taken into account as a single dwelling when establishing local authority housing targets for construction. Student halls of residence are not included because they are not available on the open market for occupation and often provide only temporary accommodation during term time.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood (Mr. Pickles) and Ongar of 28 October 2008, Official Report, column 960W, on housing: students, what assessment she has made of the extent to which new additional student accommodation in university towns releases housing stock for non-student use; and if she will make it her policy to count such new accommodation towards regional spatial strategy building targets. 
As mentioned in my earlier answer, communal establishments, such as student accommodation, are not included in the regional spatial strategy housing targets. This is because they are not available for occupation on the open market and often provide only temporary accommodation during term time.