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Elderly people, too, are often affected by the lack of mobility, if they want to move closer to their families or to smaller homes. So we will consult on changing the reasonable preference criteria to benefit older people who want to downsize.

Finally, there will be an independent, comprehensive review of the private rented sector and we will set out further details in the new year.

Improving social mobility with greater opportunities to work and to own

Social housing in the 21st century needs to offer people much greater opportunity to progress. As John Hills identified, many social housing estates have high levels of worklessness.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions have already announced a £1.5 billion programme targeted at areas with high levels of deprivation and worklessness. We will be working to ensure that social landlords and tenants are closely involved in tackling this.

A programme run with the Department for Work and Pensions will sponsor five areas over the next three years to develop a new approach to promote wide-ranging advice on housing options alongside employment and training advice.

We also want to make sure that we offer greater choice to tenants in social housing—not just about

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where they live, but with options to move into other types of tenure. More social tenants should have the opportunity to progress into homeownership. We have been running a pilot scheme known as social homebuy to offer those who cannot buy outright a stepping stone on to the property ladder. We will be continuing the pilots. Many tenants have been put off by the costs of taking on full maintenance, and so we will work with social landlords to develop options for shared maintenance costs before assessing the next steps to promote wider access to shared ownership among social tenants.

Supporting mixed-income communities

Finally, John Hills found that single tenure estates in deprived areas were particularly associated with social problems and high levels of tenant dissatisfaction. We want to promote the development of mixed and stable communities, characterised by a mix of tenures.

We want the Homes and Communities Agency to look further once it is established at how to promote mixed income communities in existing areas. We will also set out a communities fund. The fund will work with local communities on how to develop greater mix of tenures. Details of how this programme will work will be announced in the new year.

Housing: Revenue Account Subsidy

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing a review of the housing revenue account subsidy system to be led jointly by officials in my department and in HM Treasury, reporting to Ministers in both departments.

In the housing Green Paper, Homes for the Future: More Affordable, More Sustainable, published in July, we said that we wanted to examine the case for change to the redistributive housing revenue account subsidy system. The purpose of the review is to ensure that we have a sustainable, long-term system for financing council housing and that this system is consistent with wider housing policy, including the establishment of a regulator of social housing.

This system should be fair to both tenants and taxpayers. It should be transparent, giving a clear and accurate picture of the balance of support from local and central government. It should enable delivery of agreed standards of service and accommodation. It should recognise that social rents should help tenants gain and retain work, while acknowledging the need for landlords to improve the quality and efficiency of services. And it should be affordable and not expose government to unacceptable fiscal risks.

The review will build on the work of the pilots we have conducted with six local authorities which looked at the costs and benefits of councils operating outside the housing revenue account subsidy system. It will consider evidence about the need to spend on management, maintenance and repairs. It will consider rent policy, including the relationship between council

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rents and rents set by other social housing providers. It will also consider how the self-financing model developed in the pilot exercise would fit with the aims of the review and, if it is consistent with these, how it could be implemented. And it will consider whether the rules which govern the operation of the HRA need to be changed in order to fit with a new system of financing.

The review will make its final report in spring 2009, setting out a way forward for the subsidy system, rents policy across all social housing, and spending needs for council housing. It will be followed by a period of consultation. This will enable its findings to be considered in the next spending review. It will also be asked to provide earlier advice in 2008 to inform decisions about council rents and subsidy determinations in the remaining two years of the current spending period.

The report will also support our aim of a single regulator for social housing across all providers by developing a policy framework of rents and standards for the regulator of social housing. This output will also be delivered in 2008.

The review team will establish its own detailed working methods. This will, however, include opportunities for practitioners and stakeholders to put forward their views.

Terrorism Act 2000

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing (Tony McNulty) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House of a recent error in processing an application for Section 44 stop and search powers under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The application by Sussex Police, dated 3 September 2007, did not follow the recognised procedure. Forces submit applications to the National Joint Unit (NJU) at the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) which are then sent to the Home Office for ministerial authorisation. This must occur within 48 hours of the request being signed by an officer of the rank of assistant chief constable or above—commander in the MPS—in the relevant force. In this case, due primarily to a process failure, the application was not passed to the Home Office for ministerial authorisation but the force continued to use the powers for the period up to 25 September when the next authorisation was submitted to the NJU. Sussex Police have confirmed that 259 stop and searches were carried out at Gatwick Airport during the unauthorised period. This relates to the period between the previous authorisation expiring and the next one being signed by the force.

This error was identified on 25 September 2007, when an application for Section 44 powers was received by the Home Office making reference to the previous authorisation for Sussex Police. I met officials at the Home Office on 27 September to discuss the matter. Officials were in contact with both the then chief constable of Sussex Police and the NJU to establish where and how the failure took place, and to put in

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place more robust systems to ensure that there was no repeat of this error. On 25 October I subsequently wrote to the new chief constable of Sussex Police outlining my concern that this error had occurred. I also wrote to Lord Carlile in his role as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. Lord Carlile replied on 9 November to indicate that he would be recording this incident in his annual review, which I expect to be published in spring 2008. A note from ACPO (TAM)—the Association of Chief Police Officers, Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee—was disseminated to all forces on 14 November outlining the more robust Section 44 process.

No arrests occurred as a result of these stop and searches; however, Sussex Police will shortly be writing to all of the individuals concerned to apologise. Since this error came to light, it has been brought to my attention that this is not the first time that Sussex Police have used these powers without proper authorisation. Regrettably, a similar incident occurred in June 2003. All steps have now been taken to ensure, with the NJU, that such regrettable and serious omissions do not occur again.

In light of this, Home Office officials are reviewing previous Section 44 authorisations to identify any other occasions where the power has been used in error. Officials will keep Lord Carlile and me informed and I will report back to the House as appropriate.

Terrorism: Control Order Powers

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing (Tony McNulty) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Home Secretary to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

Control orders continue to be an essential tool to protect the public from terrorism, particularly where it is not possible to prosecute individuals for terrorism-related activity and, in the case of foreign nationals, where they cannot be removed from the UK.

During the period 11 September 2007 to 10 December 2007, there were no new control orders and no control orders have been revoked, or renewed, or expired.

As stated in previous quarterly Statements on control orders, control order obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and are based on the terrorism-related risk that each individual poses. Each control order is kept under review to ensure that obligations remain necessary and proportionate. The Home Office continues to hold control order review groups (CORGs) every quarter, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under

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regular and formal review and to facilitate a review of appropriate exit strategies. During this reporting period, six review groups were held in relation to the orders currently in force. In addition, further meetings were held on an ad hoc basis as specific issues arose.

In total, 14 control orders are currently in force, eight of which are in respect of British citizens. Four of the individuals live in the Metropolitan Police Service area with the rest living within other police force areas.

During this reporting period, 47 modifications of control order obligations were made. Fifteen requests to modify a non-derogating control order obligation were refused. A right of appeal exists in Section 10(l) and (3) of the 2005 Act against decisions by the Secretary of State to modify an obligation imposed by a non-derogating control order, without consent, and to refuse a request by a controlled person to modify any such obligation. Appeals have been made in respect of two modification requests that were refused. One modification appeal made by a controlled individual was heard on 25 September 2007 and it was dismissed by the High Court. The other modification appeal has not yet been heard.

There have been no prosecutions of controlled persons for breaches completed during this reporting period. An individual who is not subject to a control order was, however, found guilty on 10 September 2007 of assisting an individual to breach his control order.

Judgments relating to a number of control orders were handed down by the House of Lords on 31 October 2007. The House of Lords had heard the cases of JJ and others, MB, AF and E in July and considered both Articles 5 (Right to Liberty) and 6 (Right to a Fair Trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In relation to E, the House of Lords also considered the extent, if any, of the Home Secretary's duties under Section 8 of the 2005 Act.

The House of Lords upheld the control orders regime and the effect of the judgment is that no existing control orders need to be weakened. Furthermore, their Lordships did not find that the review process in the cases before them had necessarily been unfair.

In relation to Article 5, the House of Lords agreed unanimously that control orders with curfews of up to 14 hours did not amount to a deprivation of liberty under Article 5. It was held by a 3:2 majority that control orders with 18-hour curfews do amount to a breach of Article 5. The Home Secretary is disappointed that the House of Lords found against control orders containing 18-hour curfews, which she feels are necessary, in certain circumstances, to protect national security. The Home Secretary believes that the ruling does, however, allow us to impose curfews of up to 16 hours.

In relation to Article 6, the House of Lords unanimously held that a non-derogating control order does not amount to a criminal charge. It was further held by a majority of 4:1 that procedures for the courts to review non-derogating control orders—in particular the procedures for withholding closed material—do not inevitably amount to a breach of the civil limb of Article 6. It will now be for the High

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Court to review the cases of AF and MB in light of their Lordships' decision and determine whether they are Article 6-compliant.

In the case of E, the House of Lords upheld the Home Secretary's arguments that it is not a pre-condition to the making of a control order that she must consult with the chief of the police force about whether there is evidence available that could realistically be used to prosecute the person for a terrorism-related offence, and that there must be an absence of a reasonable prospect of prosecution for such an offence. It found that the duty to consult with the police with regard to prosecution would only lead to the control order being quashed in exceptional cases.

There have been no substantive reviews during this quarter, since the Section 3(10) review for GG and NN, which commenced on 9 November 2007 and was adjourned on 12 November 2007.

Third Sector Organisations

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Ivan Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today the department is to launch a consultation on proposals for a strategic framework for funding and investment support to third sector organisations. The document has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members in the Vote Office.

The purpose of the review, informed through the consultation process, is to develop a framework for strategic investment in the sector by the department and transform the current, rather piecemeal, arrangements for funding the sector into a strategic portfolio of investments that will more explicitly support the delivery of the department’s objectives and priorities for health and social care. This consultation document sets out the vision of a more strategic approach to the department’s investment in the sector that reinforces the sector’s value in a way that reflects the department’s role in creating the conditions for innovation and improvement in service delivery across health and social care.

The consultation proposals are set in a coherent framework with four key objectives to:

allow more coherent investment;support evaluation of outcomes and benefits;increase value for money; andreinforce the sector’s integral role.

The consultation process will help to further the Government’s aim of supporting the development of a strong and sustainable third sector, and will have the benefit of not only promoting and supporting the third sector’s role in delivery of the health and social care agenda more effectively, but also promoting strong and sustainable communities through both community involvement and volunteering.

The consultation will run until 20 March 2008 with a view to the department setting out proposals, based on the responses we receive to the consultation, in a document to be published in summer 2008.


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