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11 Jun 2009 : Column 989W—continued


Overseas Students: Entry Clearances

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what effect the implementation of Tier 4 of the points-based system for immigration has had on applications from abroad to UK independent schools. [278676]

Mr. Woolas: I have been asked to reply.

The Home Office Data Systems records the number of applications made by child students applying under the points-based system, but it does not record the number of those studying at UK independent schools. This information could be obtained only by manually cross-checking a large number of individual case files, which could be completed only at disproportionate cost.

It is therefore not possible to generate a report to compare the number of applicants coming to study at UK independent schools, before or after the introduction of Tier 4. It should also be borne in mind that Tier 4 was introduced on 31 March, and its impact will not have settled down yet.

Schools: Internet

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding the Government have allocated to the development of internet or e-based learning in schools in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point in each year since 1997. [279332]

Mr. Coaker: The Department does not keep records of data on funding allocations in the form requested.

Communities and Local Government

Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment
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he has made of the effect of Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 on the maintenance of high hedges; and if he will make a statement. [278483]

Mr. Ian Austin: No formal assessment has yet been made of the effect of part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, which came into force on 1 June 2005. Informal feedback suggests that the legislation is helping to end the misery caused by overgrown hedges, and many disputes are being resolved voluntarily.

Commonhold and Leasehold Act 2002

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation his Department has undertaken with leaseholders on sections 152 and 153 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Act 2002 referring to statements of account in the last two years. [279435]

Mr. Ian Austin: The latest consultation exercise on section 152 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (statement of account) took place in July 2007. Consultation exercises were carried out prior to this in November 1998, August 2000, and June 2004.

These exercises have informed the amendments to the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which are contained in schedule 12 to the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

Consultation on section 153 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (Notice to accompany demands for service charges) last took place in August 2006. Prior to this consultation took place in October 2002 and June 2004. This provision came into force from 1 October 2007 and requires landlords to send a summary of tenants' rights and obligations relating to service charges with demands for service charges, to contain information prescribed in regulations.

Council Tax: Valuation

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average change in the level of Band D council tax was in (a) England, (b) Devon and (c) East Devon in each year since 1997. [278345]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Details of the changes in the level of Band D council tax in (a) England, (b) Devon and (c) East Devon in each year since 1997 are available on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Eco-towns: Finance

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 14 May 2009, Official Report, columns 996-97W, on eco-towns, how much his Department plans to spend on stage 2 of the Financial Viability Study of the eco-towns programme; and if he will make a statement. [276533]

Mr. Ian Austin: Our external advisers will shortly be completing stage 2 of their work to support the assessment of the economic viability of the shortlisted eco-town
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locations. Given that this work has not been completed it would not be appropriate to provide a total cost at this stage.

Eco-towns: Publicity

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Welwyn, Hatfield of 23 February 2009, Official Report, columns 108-10W, on eco-towns: expenditure, what his Department’s expenditure on communications, marketing, public relations, design and media on eco-towns has been to date. [276964]

Mr. Ian Austin: The Department will publish a breakdown of expenditure in relation to promoting the eco-towns public consultation on its website in conjunction with the publication of its next annual report.

Empty Property: Essex

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of properties in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point were vacant in each of the last five years. [279040]

Mr. Ian Austin: Vacant dwellings as a proportion of all residential dwellings in Castle Point and Essex in each of the last five years are shown in the following table.

Percentage

Castle Point Essex

1 November 2004

1.8

2.6

10 October 2005

2.0

2.8

9 October 2006

2.2

2.9

8 October 2007

2.4

2.8

6 October 2008

2.4

3.1


Data for Essex are the proportion of all dwellings in the individual billing authorities including Castle Point but excluding figures for Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock unitary authorities.

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.

Flood Control

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made in implementing a service level agreement to ensure co-ordination between the recovery operations of different authorities during a flood; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the agreement. [278294]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government offices in the regions have the responsibility of ensuring coherence and co-ordinating between recovery operations of different authorities during a flood. The ‘Core Regional Resilience Capability’ document, which formalises this role, was agreed in December 2008 and is now in force.

I am today placing a copy of this document in the Library.


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Home Information Packs

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what guidance his Department issues on the continued marketing of a home with a home information pack which lacks (a) a local property search and (b) leasehold information after 28 days from the first day of marketing have elapsed; [277013]

(2) what guidance his Department has issued to home information pack (HIP) providers on the provision of HIPs in (a) hard and (b) electronic copy. [277026]

Mr. Ian Austin: The Procedural Guidance on the Home Information Pack (No.2) Regulations 2007 provides guidance on these matters. The guidance is available on the CLG website at:

The explanatory note on section 156 of the Housing Act 2004 provides further guidance on the rules governing the provision of copies of the HIP. The explanatory notes on the 2004 Act are available at

Homes and Communities Agency

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 April 2009, Official Report, columns 1505-06W, on the Homes and Communities Agency, what the keywords or search terms monitored in the press by (a) the Homes and Communities Agency and (b) the Tenant Services Authority were in each of the last three months. [271179]

Mr. Ian Austin: The keywords or search terms used by (a) the Homes and Communities Agency and (b) the Tenants Services Authority in each of the last three months are shown in the following lists:

February 2009

Tenant services authority

Homes and Communities agency


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March 2009

Tenant Services Authority

Homes and Communities Agency

April 2009

Tenant Services Authority

Homes and Communities Agency

Homes and Communities Agency: Finance

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what transfers of underspend in one Government office region the Homes and Communities Agency has allocated to other Government office regions in respect of 2008-09. [270238]

Mr. Ian Austin: The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) was established from 1 December 2008. From that date until 31 March 2009, for those programmes which transferred to the HCA from Communities and Local Government, the HCA did not make any transfers of funding between regions. Nor were there any transfers of funding between regions in 2008-09 within the HCA’s Property and Regeneration programme (this programme
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was delivered by the former English Partnerships in 2008-09 prior to 1 December 2008). There were however transfers of funding between regions during 2008-09 within the National Affordable Housing programme (this programme was delivered by the investment arm of the Housing Corporation in 2008-09 prior to 1 December 2008); this information is being collated and will be placed in the Library shortly.


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