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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2009, Official Report, column 453W, on derelict land, how many (a) registered social landlords (RSLs) and (b) local authorities operated land banks in May 2009; what the estimated monetary value of such land held by (i) RSLs and (ii) local authorities was as at 31 May 2009; and in respect of how many such assets is development expected to commence in the next six months. 
Mr. Ian Austin [holding answer 22 June 2009]: The Tenant Services Authority (TSA), the independent regulator of the Registered Social Landlord (RSL) sector, does not monitor all RSL land banks on a comprehensive basis. The TSA does not register land banks held by RSLs. However, they do collect information on such holdings of undeveloped land for the larger developing RSLs.
Their latest figures, from April 2009, show that 100 associations have land yet to be developed with an overall value of £1.2 billion. They do not hold information on the amount of this land that is expected to be developed in the next six months.
With regard to local authority land, this Department does not hold this information centrally. However, we are working with the Homes and Communities Agency to develop a robust system of data collection so that we can identify and record what housing development is taking place on public sector sites. The Homes and Communities Agency is seeking the help of local authorities in establishing this database.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much and what proportion of disabled facilities grant funding has been spent on alternative accommodation during building work in each year since the scheme was introduced; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the average length of time between receipt of an application for a disabled facilities grant and the completion of the home improvements funded by the grant was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The information requested is not held centrally, day to day management of the disabled facilities grant programme is the responsibility of local authorities. Collection of the information requested is therefore a local matter.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the (a) implementation and (b) management of the home improvements disabled facilities grant scheme since its introduction. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The introduction of the disabled facilities grant has enabled many disabled people to continue to live independently in their own homes through the provision of adaptations. The programme helps about 38,000 households a year with a variety of adaptations to ease mobility in their homes. An independent review of the programme was carried out in 2004 and a consultation to modernise the programme followed in 2007. The Government announced their response to the consultation early in 2008-09 with a package of changes to improve the programme. This can be viewed on the following link:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review the operation of the disabled facilities grant scheme for the purposes of assessing (a) the effects on the operation of the scheme of changes in mechanisms for ring-fenced funding of the scheme and (b) progress towards the target of completing (i) the assessment by an occupational therapist required under the scheme within six months and (ii) adaptation work undertaken under that scheme within 12 months. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Following a review of the disabled facilities grant scheme published in 2007 a number of changes were implemented to the programme. Data collected from local authorities will give an indication as to the effect of the wider changes made to the programme such as the relaxation of the grant conditions. The effect of the removal of the grant ring fence is currently being piloted in nine local authorities; a full evaluation of the impact of the removal of the ring fence will be carried out before any decision is taken on removing the ring fence nationally.
Further work is currently being carried out to improve the delivery of the programme with an overhaul of the means test and application form. Data on the time it
takes an authority to deliver a disabled facilities grant are not collected centrally as circumstances will vary from case to case.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which agency is responsible for ensuring that the sequential test for flood risk zones outlined in Planning Policy Statement 25 is undertaken. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The sequential test set out in Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25), Development and Flood Risk, is a decision-making tool which aims to steer new development to areas at the lowest probability of flooding. It is the responsibility of the local planning authority to apply the sequential test when allocating land for development in development plan documents. The local planning authority is also responsible for applying the sequential test to applications made to them for development on land which has not been allocated, or which has not been sequentially tested, in a development plan document. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the evidence for their application to allow the planning authority to carry out the sequential test.
Mr. Ian Austin: Financial information regarding HMR funding is not collected centrally for local authority areas. However, Copeland DC is a partner authority of the West Cumbria Area of Wider Low Demand which was awarded £1.8 million of HMR funding for 2009-10.
Mr. Ian Austin: In 2006 we published Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3), which requires local authorities and regions to take a positive and active approach to setting housing provision figures for local planning authorities and housing market areas, and adopting targets for the delivery of affordable housing. PPS3 also confirms that local authorities in rural areas can use the Rural Exception Site policy to deliver solely affordable housing on sites which would not normally be used for housing, and for that housing to be kept as affordable in perpetuity.
In September 2007 the Prime Minister asked Matthew Taylor to conduct a review of the rural economy and affordable housing. Matthews report (Living Working Countryside) was published in July 2008. This included a number of recommendations on the delivery of rural housing. The Government published their response on
25 March 2009, broadly accepting almost all of the recommendations. We are now implementing those recommendations.
As part of our current £8.4 billion investment from 2008-11 for affordable housing, we have set the Homes and Communities Agency a target of the completion of 10,300 homes in smaller rural communities of under 3,000 people. This represents a real step up in comparison with previous delivery. To date there are forecast completions of over 6,600 units for this period. However, given current conditions, it is too early to predict outputs with certainty over this time period.
Mr. Ian Austin: The decent homes programme was launched in 2001. The figures in the table represent the estimated expenditure maintaining the condition of social housing stock, including the decent homes standard, since 1997 from statistical returns submitted by local authorities and registered social landlords.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were on a local authority housing waiting list in Milton Keynes on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding his Department has provided to the Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government in each of the last three years; and how much has been allocated for each of the next two years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Improvement and Development Agency receives Revenue Support Grant (RSG) funding from my Department to provide core services for local government improvement. Additionally we give additional money for specific projects. During the period 2006-11 has/will receive the following amounts:
|Improvement and Development Agency funding allocated|
|(1) Still subject to consultation and will be announced later this year.|
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government in spreading best practice amongst local authority housing professionals. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA) works for local government so councils can serve people and places better mainly focusing on partnership working, place shaping and tackling cross cutting issues. The IDeA produces annual reports which highlight their work with councils including local authority housing professionals which can be found at:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 12 March 2009, Official Report, column 744W, on LLM Communications, (1) how the contract for the work undertaken by LLM Communications was (a) tendered and (b) procured; 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Department for Communities and Local Government provided financial support to the Campaign for More and Better Homes which was a pre-existing cross-sector housing alliance. Campaign for More and Better Homes commissioned LLM Communications as their PR agency to deliver regional housing debates to help raise public awareness of the need for and benefits of housing growth.
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