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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Figures for numbers in bed and breakfast as at March 31 2002 will be available on 17 June. As at 31 December, there were 12,110 homeless households in bed and breakfast in England. Of these, 8,700 were in London and 1,270 in the South East. The Bed and Breakfast Unit has estimated that there are some 6,500 homeless households with
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions recently announced a new commitment to ensure that by March 2004 no family with children will be placed in B&B other than in an emergency. This was accompanied by changes in housing benefit subsidies to make leasing self-contained temporary accommodation more cost-effective, and an additional £35 million from DTLR to help local authorities find alternatives to B&B.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Bed and Breakfast Unit (BBU) has undertaken a national consultation exercise, including a conference, and a number of regional good practice seminars. Examples of good practice have also been identified and shared through a newsletter and are posted on the BBU pages of the DTLR website. Shortly, the first action advice teams will go into authorities to audit procedures for getting people out of B&B.
In March this year my right honourable friend the Secretary of State announced a £35 million programme to ensure that by March 2004 no homeless family with children is in B&B for more than six weeks. In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions has made changes to housing benefit subsidy arrangements making the leasing of self-contained property for homeless households more financially viable. High B&B using authorities are producing action plans showing how they will reduce numbers and length of stay for homeless families with children in B&B over the next two years to meet the Secretary of State's commitment.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Based on the latest information supplied by local authorities in England, gross expenditure on bed and breakfast provision in 2000-01 was £193 million. Net expenditure, after taking into account income arising from charges to clients and housing benefit subsidy, was £74 million.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions recently announced a new commitment to ensure that by March 2004 no family with children will be placed in B&B other than in an emergency. This was accompanied by changes in housing benefit subsidies to make leasing self-contained temporary accommodation more cost-effective and an additional
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: We have today published a policy paper and draft regulations setting out the Government's intentions for regulations making provision about access to and sale and supply of electoral registers.
The approach we are adopting strikes a balance between the individual elector's right to privacy and the needs of others to receive the data to carry out their functions. There will be two versions of the register, the data in which will have been compulsorily obtaineda full one and an edited one containing particulars about only those electors who have not requested that their details be removed from the edited register.
The full register will be available for electoral purposes, for law enforcement and crime prevention and for other purposes where there is a strong public interest in preserving availability. These include checking identity for credit purposes. The edited register will be available for sale to anyone for any purpose.
Both the policy statement and the draft regulations have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and on the Internet for public comment on the regulations. Our aim, subject to parliamentary approval, is to make the regulations to have effect from the 2002 canvass.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My right honourable friend has today laid before Parliament a statutory instrument: The Town and Country Planning (Major Infrastructure Project Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2002. A departmental circular (DTLR Circular 02/2002) is also being issued today to accompany the new statutory instrument. This circular explains the new procedures for handling inquiries into those major infrastructure projects in England, as defined in the schedule to the rules. Copies of the statutory instrument and the circular have been placed in the House Libraries.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Government do not collect centrally information detailing the quantity of litter on England's roads. However, the national annual local environmental quality survey currently being developed will assess the quantity of litter on main roads (excluding motorways), rural roads and other highways.
The Highways Agency aims to secure continuous improvement in its routine maintenance through a move towards performance related procurement for all new contracts. One of the performance criteria of these new contracts is an environmental amenity index that examines the overall appearance of the road taking account of litter and debris, grass cutting, weed growth, cleanliness and visibility of signs.
The Government are also committed to undertaking a review of litter legislation that will examine how effective the current cleansing powers are under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
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