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Further to the publication of the Joseph Rowntree report on rural housing, whether they have considered enabling county and rural districts
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Local authorities already have powers under Section 32 of the Housing Act 1985 to dispose of properties they have had developed with a discount to priority purchasers. They may also dispose of land to registered social landlords for the development of affordable housing.
Our new HomeBuy scheme will expand the opportunity for home ownership to over 100,000 households by 2010, including through the first-time buyers initiative, which uses public sector land. The shared equity task force has been established to examine further ways to increase the number of people able to benefit from shared equity products and the case for government intervention. As part of its work, the shared equity task force will be evaluating the costs and benefits of different models for delivering affordable housing, including the use of public sector land. The task force is due to report at the end of 2006 to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review decisions in summer 2007.
Further to the publication of the Joseph Rowntree report on rural housing, whether they have considered enabling county and rural districts to acquire, from developers and others holding land in rural areas, sites suitable for use for the construction of affordable homes.[HL6133]
Baroness Andrews: There is nothing to prevent local authorities from acquiring sites in rural areas that are suitable for the construction of affordable homes. We are encouraging local authorities to
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The rural exception site policy allows local authorities to allocate small sites in and around small rural communities for affordable housing to meet local needs, in locations which may be subject to policies of constraint such as green belts.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Guidance to Ofwat on social and environmental matters has not yet been issued. We are preparing draft guidance and expect to start inter-departmental discussions in the autumn.
What was the total consumption of water in cubic metres, including a breakdown of consumption per occupant, in the headquarters of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) in each of the past 10 years.[HL6226]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is a tenant of a building occupied by a number of companies. It is not possible to give separate figures.
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