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Housing

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of new affordable houses required in (a) the North West, (b) Cumbria and (c) Westmorland and Lonsdale in each year until 2020. (88856)

Local planning authorities are required to conduct a housing needs assessment and to consider the requirement for new affordable housing as part of the local development plan. The Regional Assembly is expected to assess the need for affordable housing to inform the Regional Housing Board decisions and the Regional Spatial Strategy. The Department has not conducted separate specific estimates.

Planning policy on affordable housing is set out at a national level in PPG3. Planning authorities are required to have regard to these policies when preparing their development plans and these policies may be material to individual planning decisions.

Regional policies on affordable housing are set out in Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the north-west of England, formerly known as RPG13. Policy in existing RSS states that development plans should make provision for a range of dwelling types, and sizes to meet the assessed need of all sectors of the community in both rural and urban areas based on up-to-date local housing needs studies. Regional policies provide guidance for local authorities when making decisions on the level of affordable housing in their local development plans; however they do not stipulate numbers for affordable housing. It is up to individual authorities to decide on the level of affordable housing required in their area in their local development plans in accordance with RPG13 and draft PPS3.

The RSS is currently in the process of being reviewed. The North West Regional Assembly published the revised Draft RSS for a 12 week consultation on March 20 2006. The responses to the consultation will be examined by a panel set up by the Secretary of State. The panel will then carry out an Examination in Public to debate selected topics, based on issues raised in the consultation responses, before making their recommendations to the Secretary of State. As RSS is being revised local authorities continue to refer to the existing RSS for regional policy on affordable housing until the publication of the final RSS document–which is expected to be late 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of new affordable homes required in the East Riding of Yorkshire in each year until 2015; and if she will make a statement. (91882)

The current Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for Yorkshire and Humber sets a target of 4,000 affordable homes per year in Yorkshire and Humber as a whole but does not break this down to individual local authority areas. The new draft RSS proposes to increase the regional target to 6,000 affordable dwellings per year and proposes to provide a figure for each local planning authority expressed in terms of the percentage of affordable homes on sites of more than 15 homes. For East Riding of Yorkshire council, it is suggested that there is a “high level of need” and that 40 per cent. of homes should be affordable on sites of more than 15 homes. This approach is currently being tested at the Examination in Public. The panel will make recommendations to the Secretary of State and the final RSS will be agreednext year.

Local planning authorities have responsibility for setting a numerical target for affordable housing provision in their area, taking account of relevant housing market assessments and local and regional strategies. The target should also take account of the anticipated levels of finance available for affordable housing, including public subsidy from the Housing Corporation and the level of developer contribution that can realistically be sought through Section 106 agreements. East Riding of Yorkshire council has set a target of providing 200 extra affordable homes per year to meet the loss of affordable homes and maintain the status quo. A Housing Needs Study has just been completed and is currently being assessed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of Government targets on void times on people seeking to move from the private rented sector into local authority housing; and if she will make a statement. (93517)

The Government have not set a target in respect of void times.

Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) BV212 measures the average time taken to re-let local authority housing. However, BV212 does not differentiate according to the type of tenure the person was in prior to the letting. Targets set against the indicator are determined by individual local authorities themselves.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless people there were in (a) England and (b) each local authority area in each of the last 20 years. (93795)

Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected in respect of households rather than persons. The number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need for each year in England since 1986-87, and the number of households in England in temporary accommodation arranged by the councils under homelessness legislation as at 31 March in each year, are in the following table.

The duty owed to a household accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep rough—that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night—and these are also presented in the table (mid-year estimates).

England

Households accepted1 as owed a main homelessness duty during the year

Households in temporary accommodation2 at end of year (31 March snapshot

Rough sleepers3, number of persons (June)

1986-87

102,790

22,060

4

1987-88

112,000

26,950

4

1988-89

114,360

31,510

4

1989-90

127,820

41,150

4

1990-91

139,290

50,000

4

1991-92

139,630

62,090

4

1992-93

136,230

61,380

4

1993-94

125,360

52,340

4

1994-95

116,850

46,350

4

1995-96

116,550

43,240

4

1996-97

110,610

41,250

4

1997-98

102,430

47,520

4

1998-99

104,260

56,580

1,850

1999-2000

105,580

65,170

1,633

2000-01

114,670

75,200

1,180

2001-02

116,660

80,210

703

2002-03

128,540

89,040

596

2003-04

135,430

97,680

504

2004-05

120,860

101,070

508

2005-06

93,980

96,370

459

2006-07

4

4

502

1 Households eligible under homelessness legislation, found to be unintentionally homeless and in a priority need category, and consequently owed a main homelessness duty. 2 Households in accommodation either pending a decision on their homelessness application or awaiting re-allocation of a settled home following acceptance. Excludes those households designated as "homeless at home" that have remained in their existing accommodation and have the same rights to suitable alternative accommodation as those in accommodation arranged by the authority. 3 Mid-year estimates. 4 Denotes data not collected/available Sources: DCLG P1E Homelessness returns (quarterly); and Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (annual) for Rough Sleepers data.

Information on acceptances and number of households in temporary accommodation at local authority level is available from 1997-98 onwards. The statutory homelessness data reported by local authorities has been placed in the Library, along with rough sleeper estimates from 1998 onwards.