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Planning: Obligations and Charges

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Government published a consultation document Contributing to sustainable communities: a new approach to planning obligations on Thursday 6 November proposing a two-fold approach to the reform of planning obligations: first, a new policy to improve negotiated planning obligations; and secondly, legislation to enable the Government to establish a new optional planning

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charge, as an alternative to negotiated planning obligations.

The proposed optional planning charge would give developers the option to pay a charge, set in advance by the local authority, instead of entering into negotiations. It would offer developers the benefits of speed and certainty. Equally, developers would still have the option of negotiating, if they preferred to do so. So our proposals offer developers more flexibility and choice.

Homeless Households: Temporary Accommodation

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will announce the outcome of their recent consultation on improving standards of temporary accommodation for homeless households.[HL5570]

Lord Rooker: My honourable friend the Member for Pontefract & Castleford has announced today that in the light of positive responses to the public consultation on the Government's proposals to improve standards of temporary accommodation for homeless households the Government intend to:

    make an order under Section 210 of the 1996 Housing Act to come into force on 1 April 2004 to end the long-term (defined as more than six weeks) use of bed-and-breakfast (B&B) accommodation as temporary accommodation for homeless families with children or where a member of the household is pregnant;

    issue statutory guidance to bring together and restate existing minimum standards for all temporary accommodation used by housing authorities to accommodate homeless families and individuals under the legislation;

    issue statutory guidance on additional standards that should apply to B&B accommodation where this is used by housing authorities to accommodate homeless families and individuals under the legislation; and

    issue statutory guidance on the arrangements that should be put in place to ensure that all households placed in temporary accommodation by housing authorities under the legislation receive support to ensure that their health, education and welfare needs are met.

A summary of responses to the consultation will be made available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website—

Overseas Students

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in deciding the fees to be charged for applications for extensions of leave to remain by temporary residents in the United Kingdom:

    (a) they gave special consideration to the needs of international students;

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    (b) they had consultations with universities and organisations representing students; and

    (c) they estimated that, in the light of the Prime Minister's initiative to promote United Kingdom higher education internationally, the charges would encourage or discourage prospective international students.[HL5014]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Special arrangements are in place for students under the Student Batch Scheme. The Student Batch Scheme was conceived in 2000 in consultation with United Kingdom COSA to provide a service that chimed with the Prime Minister's initiative to attract overseas students to the UK. Under the terms of the scheme, universities and colleges of further and higher education can send applications in batches, and students benefit from personal contact with the international student advisers who submit the batches.

To date this autumn the vast majority of Student Batch Scheme applications have been completed within three weeks of receipt. To cope with the very large number now coming in, extra casework teams have been devoted to these applications.

We will be reviewing the fee annually and as such consideration will be given to improving the way the charging system is operated and the feasibility of differential charges. We will consult with the education sector on those areas where we have flexibility.

We do not believe the charge will act as a disincentive when set against the other costs which students incur.

We recognise the contribution overseas students make to the UK but do not accept that the general taxpayer should subsidise their applications. The benefits are, after all, reciprocal.

Asylum Reform

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have asked for responses by 17 November 2003 to the proposals for changes to the law on asylum, in the document New legislative proposals on asylum reform, issued on 27 October, when the Cabinet Office code of practice on written consultation, issued in November 2000, says (Criterion 5, page 16) that a minimum of 12 weeks should be allowed except in cases where there are "circumstances which unavoidably require a consultation period less than 12 weeks"; and why the document does not state "Ministers' reasons for departing from the code; and what special measures . . . have been taken to ensure that consultation is nevertheless as effective as possible", as further required by the code.[HL5295]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: As my right honourable friend the Home Secretary first announced on 22 May this year, the Government are intending to introduce further legislative measures to

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address the specific problems of abusive appeals and undocumented applicants in the asylum system which continue to undermine the credibility of the system. As stated in the letter we sent to stakeholders, we consider that these are urgent measures and are therefore seeking to introduce them as soon as parliamentary time allows. While we are seeking the views of key stakeholders on the new provisions we believe that further reform is needed quickly if we are to capitalise on the success of our measures to date. Further dialogue is taking place with stakeholders on specific measures and a copy of the letter to stakeholders has been placed on the website of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate so that it is available to the public.

Anti-social Behaviour Orders

Baroness Walmsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many anti-social behaviour orders have been issued against young people in rural areas (as defined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister); and[HL5351]

    How many anti-social behaviour orders have been issued against young people in rural areas (as defined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) as a proportion of the total number of orders issued; and[HL5352]

    How many anti-social behaviour orders have been issued against young people in rural areas (as defined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) have been breached.[HL5353]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The table gives information on the number of notifications received by the Home Office of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) granted within England and Wales, by rural local authority area (as defined by the Countryside Agency) and by age group, from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003 (latest available). This information is reported by the Magistrates' Court Committees (MCCs) and the Crown Court and from copies of the orders received we have been able to identify the local authority areas involved. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) does not have a definitive list of individual rural areas.

Statistics on breaches of ASBOs are not collected centrally at this level of detail.

The number of ASBOs, as notified to the Home Office by Magistrates' Courts Committees and the Crown Court, by rural local authority area (as defined by the Countryside Agency) and age group, England and Wales, 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003

Total issued Age 10-17
Rural local authority area(100%)Total%
Avon & Somerset5360
County of Avon
South Somerset DC5360
Huntingdonshire DC22100
Chester DC11218
Congleton BC100
Crewe & Nantwich BC100
Allerdale BC200
Copeland BC5240
South Lakeland DC100
Devon & Cornwall200
County of Cornwall
Carrick DC100
County of Devon
North Devon DC100
Purbeck DC11100
Wear Valley DC2150
Hampshire & Isle of Wight11100
Isle of Wight Council11100
Canterbury CC33100
Sevenoaks DC2150
Pendle BC33100
East Lindsey DC100
South Kesteven DC2150
Northampton CC100
North Yorkshire11100
Harrowgate BC11100
Suffolk CC2150
Waveney DC7229
County of East Sussex
Rother DC3267
Wealden DC11100
County of West Sussex
Chichester DC100
Crawley BC11100
Thames Valley4250
County of Buckinghamshire
Aylesbury Vale DC3133
County of Oxfordshire
Cherwell DC11100
Stratford upon Avon DC100
West Mercia9222
County of Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council4125
County of Shropshire
North Shropshire DC200
South Shropshire DC11100
County of Worcestershire
Malvern Hills DC100
Carmarthenshire CC100
Ceredigion CC100
North Wales4375
Conwy County BC3267
Gwynedd County BC11100
England and Wales1586742

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