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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which of her Department's (a) Executive agencies and (b) non-departmental public bodies have regional offices; and where each such office is located. 
The Audit Commission, classified as a public corporation, has regional offices in Leicester, Solihull, Cambourne and London for central region; Bolton, Gateshead and Leeds for northern region; and Bristol and Exeter for southern region.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) was established on 1 December 2008, and currently has regional offices in the following locations: Ashford, Birmingham, Bracknell, Bristol, Cambridge, Croydon, Exeter, Gateshead, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Telford, Warrington and Wolverhampton. Its offices in Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham are co-located with Government offices for the regions. The HCA is undertaking a review of the office accommodation it inherited from its predecessor bodies.
The Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS) currently has 11 regional offices in the following locations: Werrington, Peterborough; Whitechapel, London; Witham, Essex; Bolton; Doncaster; Preston; Leamington Spa; Nottingham; Stafford; Horsham, Surrey; and Plymouth. Under the VTS's current estates' review, the offices at Leamington Spa, Nottingham and Horsham are due to close by the end of June 2009.
Mr. Khan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell) on 10 October 2007, Official Report, column 662W, and the answer given to the right hon. and learned Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 717W.
The Department has spent £240,931 on hospitality in the last financial year 2008-09. The Department does not record expenditure for entertainment on its finance system and the figures in this reply relate to the broader category of hospitality. All expenditure on hospitality is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons information on the expenditure of Executive agencies is not included in her Departments proposals for local spending reports under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. 
Mr. Khan: Taking responses to the first phase of consultation on this subject into consideration, the first arrangements for the production of the first local spending report were made using information which is currently available to the Government and which do not impose significant costs on other bodies. We are still consulting on how the reports should develop over time through the second phase of the consultation which closes on 15 May 2009. We will publish a response to the second phase later in the summer when we will outline our plans for the longer term development of the local spending reports including the scope for extending the reports to include other agencies. This will enable the Government to develop local spending reports which are useful and whose cost is likely to justify their benefit.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department and its predecessor has spent on IT training for its staff in each of the last five years. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what statistics (a) her Department and (b) its agencies collect on the level of vacant (i) commercial and (ii) industrial property. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Data collection on vacant properties was reinstated recently on the national non-domestic rates (NNDRl) Supplementary form. Data from this are being validated and are intended to be published shortly.
Mr. Iain Wright: Details of the number of dwellings in each region in England that were empty for a period of longer than six months on specific dates in 2004 and 2005, are given in the following table. For details of long term vacant dwellings in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and the latest estimate of the number empty dwellings, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 27 April 2009, Official Report , column 1107W.
|Long term empty properties by regions|
|1 November2004||10 October 2005|
The data are from snapshots taken in the autumn of each year and are as reported to communities and local Government by all billing authorities in England on their annual council taxbase (CTB) and CTB (Supplementary) returns.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty dwelling management orders have been enforced in each local authority area since the inception of such orders. 
Mr. Iain Wright: To date, 24 Interim Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) have been approved by the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS) since the legislation came into effect in April 2006. However, local authorities claim that in many cases the threat of an EDMO has been sufficient to make owners take action to bring long-term empty homes back into use.
We always intended that the legislation should be used only as a last resort where other measures have proved unsuccessful. We want to encourage voluntary re-occupation of empty homes but this can only work well where there is realistic compulsion to back them up. EDMOs provide this compulsion and should therefore be a key component of a comprehensive empty property strategy.
|Local authority||Number of interim EDMOs authorised|
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 137W, on housing: sales, what the average contribution made from the public purse to a home purchased under the First-Time Buyers Initiative was in each of the last three years; and what percentage of the average cost of a home purchased under the initiative this represented in each such year. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The following table sets out the average contribution from the public purse, and what that represented as a percentage of the average cost, of a home purchased under the First Time Buyers Initiative.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) of 30 March 2009, Official Report, column 972W, on housing associations: finance, which six associations are graded at three. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to page 130 of Budget 2009, in what manner Housing and Planning Delivery Grant has been amended to provide a £20 million efficiency saving. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
In our November 2008 allocation announcement and in the supporting papers to the Local Government Settlement which was laid before
Parliament in January 2009, we set out our intention to review options for the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant in light of changing economic circumstances.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much housing and planning delivery grant funding has been allocated to the London Borough of (a) Redbridge and (b) Waltham Forest for 2009-10. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department will be consulting on the formula for HPDG and undertaking a data collection exercise to establish the number of authorities who qualify for each element of grant. We will publish provisional allocations in July 2009 and final allocations of grant will be published and paid in the autumn.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department and its agencies have issued to local authorities on (a) interest rates on home appreciation loans, (b) repayment terms and equity charges relating to home appreciation loans and (c) the use of contractors for works funded by home appreciation loans. 
The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 gives local authorities wide powers to provide assistance for repairs, improvements, adaptations and to demolish and re-construct homes. This assistance may take the form of a grant, loan, equity release, or more practical assistance such as home surveys or small repairs services. Local authorities must have policies in place setting out how they will use these powers and they must make summaries of their policy available. ODPM Circular 05/2003 explains the purpose and content of the regulatory reform order.
The Department published Mortgage Sales Guidance for Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords in November 2005 which sets out the procedures that both registered social landlords and local authorities must follow when providing mortgage finance under the regulatory reform order.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average construction cost of a home built (a) for social rent and (b) for affordable housing with support from the Homes and Communities Agency and its predecessors was in each year since 1997. 
Homes and Communities Agency
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