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Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when the report of research undertaken by Heriot Watt University into housing supply and future housing need was presented to his Department; and when he expects the report to be published; 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Department received a first draft report of the housing need research commissioned from Heriot-Watt University in October 2009. The report will be finalised after academic peer review. A publication timetable has not yet been fixed.
Mr. Ian Austin: The use of sprinklers and other fire suppression technologies in dwellings was considered in the review that led to the 2006 revision of Approved Document B. This document provides guidance on compliance with Part B (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations. The extensive review that preceded the development of this new guidance considered a four year research project looking at the issue from both an effectiveness and cost/benefit perspective.
Sprinklers have been shown to be an effective measure in reducing fire deaths. However, the review, which included public consultation, concluded that it would not be cost-effective to provide sprinklers in all new homes but that it would be reasonable to provide them in blocks of flats over 30 metres in height where the risks were shown to be greater. A provision to this effect was, therefore, included in the revised Approved Document.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the cost of refurbishing an average home to meet the lifetime homes standard. 
Mr. Ian Austin: In "The Future of the Code for Sustainable Homes-Making a Rating Mandatory", page 51 para. 3.3 sets out the range of costs for building to the Lifetime Homes Standard as being between £545 and £1,615. Revised costs are included in the impact assessment supporting the forthcoming consultation on the Code for Sustainable Homes which will be published shortly.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 7 December 2009, what other sources of data will be used to produce the report on the nation's civic health; which Department has lead responsibility for that report; what the budget is for that programme; and whether he plans to commission new research for that report. 
The full list of data sources for the civic health report is still under consideration by the Department for Communities and Local Government (which has lead responsibility for its production). The
budget for the programme is dependent on the exact nature of the report and is consequently undetermined at this stage. Nonetheless, the report will not require the collection of new data and so should prove relatively inexpensive to compile.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what new burdens placed on local authorities since the adoption of the New Burdens principle have not resulted in associated compensation for councils. 
Barbara Follett: The Government are committed to ensuring that all new burdens falling on local authorities are fully and properly funded so that there is no upward pressure on council tax bills. Where appropriate, funding is provided through the formula grant system or through specific grants.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the assumed share of the council tax base for the purposes of the local government finance settlement was for (a) police services and (b) fire and rescue services in each year since 1997-98. 
|Share of council tax base|
|Upper-tier services||Police services||Fire and rescue services||Lower-tier services|
During the period 1997-98 to 2002-03, the shares of council tax base were set on the basis of national shares of total standard spending assessments for the services that each provides, using the control totals set out in annexe E of the Local Government Finance Report (England) for that year.
In addition, during the period 1997-98 to 1999-2000, the figures for inner London boroughs and the receiver for the Metropolitan police district were adjusted to allow for expenditure on probation and magistrates courts.
From 2003-04 onwards, the shares of council tax base have been set so that the percentage increase in grant for each damping group of authorities is broadly proportional to the underlying percentage increase in formula spending share/relative needs formula for that group. In 2003-04, the resulting shares for shire county councils and shire district councils in two-tier areas were adjusted to reflect in part the combined impact of raising the assumed national council tax from about £769.16 for 2002-03 to about £1,037.46 for 2003-04 on the distribution of council tax income for these two groups of authorities are taken together.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 14 October 2009, Official Report, column 972W, on local government services: elderly, how much funding from each programme budget will be drawn from the reprioritised central budgets; and what estimate he has made of the monetary value of the (a) efficiency savings and (b) funds released by reprioritisation by local authorities. 
Barbara Follett: The commitment to offer free personal care at home to those with highest needs is expected to cost up to £670 million in a full year. The Government, through the Department of Health, will provide the bulk of this funding (£420 million in a full year). The Government believe that it is right that councils play their part alongside central Government to help deliver the free personal care commitment and to contribute £250 million in a full year to the cost, through efficiencies and reprioritisation. It is for councils themselves to make decisions on how to deliver those further savings.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many requests were received by local authorities under the Freedom of Information Act in each of the last five years; and how many requests to local authorities under the Freedom of Information Act were responded to within 20 days in each such year. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what mailings and communications the Audit Commission has sent to prospective parliamentary candidates about comprehensive area assessment in the last 12 months; and for what purposes. 
The Audit Commission sent an email to prospective parliamentary candidates of all parties on 18 November 2009. The email advised them of information about their local authority areas to be published on the new Oneplace website on 9 December 2009 and gave them the url of sample web pages.
The message noted the interest that their prospective constituents might take in impartial assessments of services and quality of life in local areas. The Commission's Managing Director, Communication and Public Reporting, sent a further email to prospective candidates on 9 December 2009 informing them that the Oneplace website was up and running and giving them its web address.
A copy of this letter will be placed in Hansard.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many holders of buy-to-let mortgages in each region have defaulted on their mortgage repayments in each of the last 10 quarters. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Council of Mortgage Lenders collects and publishes data on the numbers of buy-to-let mortgages that are in arrears. However these data are only available for the United Kingdom as a whole.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households in (a) Ashford constituency and (b) Kent have taken up the Homeowners Mortgage Protection Scheme. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households have received financial support under the (a) Mortgage Rescue Scheme and (b) Mortgage Homeowner Support Scheme in each local authority to date. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people in Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency have received assistance through the Mortgage Protection Scheme. 
John Healey: We have acted rapidly in conjunction with lenders and money advice agencies to put in place a range of help and support for households struggling with their mortgage at every stage, and launched a campaign to ensure households have clear information about the help available. Most borrowers experiencing difficulties are able to agree a solution with their lender. In addition, the Government schemes provide a valuable backstop for those people who need further support. Over the last year over 330,000 homeowners have received help and advice with their mortgage.
Financial Services Authority figures show that in quarter 2 of this year 135,000 households were benefiting from an arrangement agreed with their lender, an increase of 74 per cent. on the previous year.
The proportion of the mortgage market now committed to offering the Government-backed scheme or similarly extended forbearance without the need for
Government guarantee is now more than 90 per cent. UK wide management information collected from these lenders and money advice agencies shows:
Over 33,000 loans were benefiting from extended forbearance where lenders were accepting less than contractual monthly payments or where loans had been modified to make monthly payments more affordable for the borrower;
6,000 of these loans were deferring interest as part of an arrangement equivalent to the Homeowners Mortgage Support scheme, and only 15 have so far needed the formal backstop of HMS and have been registered for the Government-backed guarantee following the five-month qualification period.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been spent by his Department on (a) the set up and ongoing costs of the Mortgage Help website and (b) publicity for the initiative since its launch. 
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