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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are applied in determining applications to work in the UK from (a) non-EU nationals resident in the UK, (b) EU nationals resident in the UK and (c) nationals of Commonwealth countries resident in the UK. 
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued for (a) doctors and (b) nurses and auxiliary nurses from each African country in the last two years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 2009]: The following table provides numbers of work permits issued to nationals from each African country for occupations containing the word nurse or doctor for the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2008.
|(1) Indicates one or two|
(2) Indicates nil
1. The figures do not equate to the number of individual nationals who were granted permits because they include those applications approved to extend or amend an existing permit or where the individual has moved to another job with a different employer. Not all those who were granted a permit took up the job and some may have been refused entry clearance or further leave to remain.
2. The term doctors/nurses refers to the occupation description containing the word nurse or doctor.
3. Numbers exclude persons admitted under the highly skilled migrant programme or the points-based system.
4. Figures are rounded to nearest five
5. Because of rounding figures may not add up to totals shown.
The figures quoted are not provided under National Statistics protocols and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. Industry sectors used are not consistent with the Standard Industrial Classification.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the extent to which Lambeth council's proposed rental charges from 1 April 2009 comply with her Department's guidance to local authorities on social rents. 
The Government want the rents charged by social landlords to be fair and affordable. But, ultimately authorities are free to make their own decisions about the actual levels of their rents, in consultation with their tenants, and may decide not to follow the Government's advice.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what average percentage change in the level of council housing rents her Department is (a) expecting and (b) recommending for 2009-10 over the previous year. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department expects local authorities to follow its policy for social rents, but does not recommend specific rent increases to landlords. Guideline rents for each local authority form part of each years Housing Revenue Account Subsidy determination for the purposes of making assumptions about a local authoritys income, and its entitlement to subsidy.
Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people are on the council house waiting list in (a) Barnsley and (b) Doncaster; and what the equivalent figures were (i) five and (ii) 10 years ago. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Information is available on numbers of households rather than people. The number of households registered on council housing waiting lists in each local authority, as at 1 April each year, is published on the Communities and Local Government website in Table 600. The latest available data is at April 2008 and can be found on our website at:
Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. The number of households on local authorities' waiting lists in Barnsley and Doncaster are given in the following table.
|Number of households on the council house waiting list (excludes households looking for transfers)|
|April 1998||April 2003||April 2008|
Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA)
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 on to the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move houseparticularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time. 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.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the High Court ruling in the case of Merseyside Valuation Tribunal and Wirral borough council v. Farthing, whether she plans to amend council tax regulations to allow full-time students on a condensed course of study to be eligible for a student council tax discount for the duration of their study. 
Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many empty dwellings there were in the eastern region in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Iain Wright: The number of empty dwellings in local authority areas covering the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency, and in the eastern region, in each year since 2004 are shown in the following table. Information for years prior to 2004 is not available.
|Bedford B.C.||Mid-Bedfordshire D.C.||Eastern region|
The data are as reported annually to Communities and Local Government on the CTB and CTB (supplementary) forms that are completed by all billing authorities in England. The data relate to particular dates in the autumn of each year.
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