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Further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Yvette Cooper, on 20 June (HC Deb, 840W), whether the reduction in the number of local authority dwellings between 31 March 1997 and 31 March 2004 is due to the right to buy scheme; whether the increase in housing association dwellings is due to newly built dwellings; and what is projected to happen to the respective totals in the period 31 March 2004 to 31 March 2009. [HL1314]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Baroness Andrews): The reduction in local authority dwelling stock results from large-scale voluntary transfers to housing associations, right to buy sales and demolitions. The increase in housing association dwelling stock results from large-scale voluntary transfers, new build and other acquisitions.
Housing association dwelling stock is expected to increase where there are future large-scale voluntary transfers and the planned delivery of 75,000 social rented homes by 2007-08 most of which will be through housing associations.
Further to the Audit Commission report Financing Council Housing, what proportion of the 18 per cent. of housing authorities in receipt of subsidy under the national system are classed as rural authorities; and how much of the £630 million collected from the remaining 82 per cent. of housing authorities is spent on support for rural housing. [HL1289]
Baroness Andrews: The latest data available to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister show that 3 per cent. of the local housing authorities entitled to housing revenue account (HRA) subsidy are both classed as rural and are receiving positive HRA subsidy.
The HRA subsidy system does not differentiate between rural and urban authorities. All local housing authorities are treated equally under the system, and receive allowances calculated under national formulae to manage and maintain their stock.
Further to the Audit Commission report Financing Council Housing, whether the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting's regulations are wholly consistent with their assumption that achievement of the Decent Homes Standard will be funded from capital expenditure. [HL1290]
Baroness Andrews: The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting does not make regulations. Rather, it is its accounting principles and statements of operating practice that are referred to by capital finance regulations. These accounting principles and statements of operating practice are consistent with the assumption that achievement of the Decent Homes Standard will be funded from capital expenditure.
Further to the Audit Commission report Financing Council Housing, whether they plan to ensure that rent income is spent locally to upgrade council housing rather than being used to subsidise housing authorities in other areas. [HL1291]
What is their response to the statement in the Audit Commission report Financing Council Housing that "while housing rents are rising in real terms in all areas, in most areas this will not result in extra spending on services". [HL1292]
Baroness Andrews: Government support to local authorities for housing has already doubled and is set to rise further. There were 6 per cent. real-terms increases in management and maintenance allowances in each of the past two years. The Government are
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committed to making all social housing decent by 2010including dealing with a £19 billion investment backlog. This will mean improvements to the standard of many people's homes.
How many farmers are still awaiting delivery of the Rural Land Registry maps to enable them to complete their applications for the entry-level scheme under Countryside Stewardship; what is the current date by which such completed applications have to be received by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and by what date they expect all maps already applied for to be delivered. [HL1516]
Lord Bach: Farmers and landowners can apply to join Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) at any time. With the move to monthly start dates for new agreements announced in May there are now no formal ELS application deadlines; the Rural Development Service will process applications received as soon as possible and offer the first available start date.
By 20 July, 43,378 ELS application packs had been requested. Of these, 34,272 had been issued, 5,490 were being held pending the processing of new land registrations by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and 3,616 were held up by difficulties in printing the maps which are integral to the application process. Up to 15 July, all customers with outstanding land registrations confirmed as essential to progress an ELS application were identified to the RPA and these registrations are being processed as the agency's highest priority; it is expected that the great majority will have been completed by the end of August. We are also working hard to address the printing problems in the Genesis IT system and the backlog of maps awaiting printing is being reduced. Changes to the computer code are scheduled for mid-August, which are expected to significantly further improve the situation.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The parliamentary estimate of expense submitted with the Crossrail hybrid Bill estimates the cost of Crossrail to be £10.292 billion in quarter one 2002 prices. The cost will be some £15 billion or £16 billion in cash terms. Financing costs will depend on funding arrangements. We intend to bring forward proposals on the funding arrangements for Crossrail during the passage of the Bill.
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Lord Adonis: The Department for Education and Skills, along with other central government departments, takes part in annual research carried out by the Home Office to record the amount of funding awarded to voluntary and community organisations. For the period 2003-04, the provisional figure recorded by the Department for Education and Skills is £403 million. Provisional 2004-05 figures will be available in 2006.
The Department for Education and Skills does not have projected spend figures for voluntary and community organisations for the periods 2005-06 and 2006-07 and to collate that information would amount to a disproportionate cost to the department.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Her Majesty's Government assess the cost effectiveness of road and rail improvements through application of the Department for Transport's new approach to appraisal (NATA) and value for money guidance. Both sets of guidance are published on the web and can be found at www.webTAG.org.uk and www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dftabout/documents/page/dftabout033477.hcsp respectively.
The value for money of road schemes and rail schemes depends on the particular scheme in question, its effectiveness in achieving transport and other objectives, its design and its cost. Rail schemes vary considerably, as do road schemes. There is no simplistic conclusion that one mode generally performs better than the other: it varies according to the circumstances.
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