Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Wales

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department were on sick leave for (a) over 30 days, (b) over 50 days and (c) over 100 days in each of the last five years. (256337)

Records for sick absence are only available for each financial year since April 2004.

No staff were absent for more than 30 days in 2004-05 or 2005-06.

In 2006-07 and 2007-08 a very small number of staff were absent for more than 30 days. In line with Cabinet Office guidance, exact figures are not given in order to protect their privacy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the average number of days sick leave per staff member in his Department was in each of the last five years. (256391)

Figures for the level of sickness absence at the Wales Office are available for each financial year since April 2004.

The average number of days of sickness absence is as follows:

Days

2004-05

4.59

2005-06

3.36

2006-07

5.18

2007-08

19.27

1 Average is skewed by isolated incidents of long-term sickness absence.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 196W, on departmental drinking water, what reductions in the number of water coolers are planned. (257291)

We plan to reduce the overall number of water coolers by around 10 in the course of the next 12 months.

Departmental Press

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what newspapers his Department subscribed to in the last 12 months; and at what cost. (257261)

The Northern Ireland Office’s (excluding its Agencies and Executive NDPBs) total expenditure on newspapers in 2007-08 was £53,275. The information provided on the department’s finance system does not allow the identification of costs which relate to subscriptions.

Departmental Television

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 995W, on departmental television, what criteria are used to decide which television subscriptions to subscribe to. (257263)

Access is provided to TV channels to meet business requirements, and for Ministers and staff who are working away from home.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 995W, on departmental television, what criteria are used to decide which makes of television are purchased. (257265)

The televisions purchased by the Department were selected because they were fit for purpose and represented value for money.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, columns 995-6W, on departmental travel, how much was spent on hotels used by his Department’s staff in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. (257269)

Prior to 2007-08, the Northern Ireland Office recorded expenditure relating to hotels under the general expense heading of overnight subsistence. The extraction of hotel costs would require the manual investigation of transactions within the overnight subsistence heading which could be done only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2009, Official Report, column 729W, on departmental travel, how much was spent by his Department's agencies on (a) staff travel within the UK and (b) international staff travel in each year since 1997. (257274)

As each of the Northern Ireland Office's agencies maintain their own finance systems, there are differences in the information that can be provided.

Northern Ireland Prison Service

£

Within UK

Outside UK

Total

1997-98

1

1

948,884

1998-99

1

1

1,780,058

1999-2000

1

1

1,578,014

2000-01

1

1

1,453,299

2001-02

1

1

2,002,319

2002-03

1

1

1,383,910

2003-04

1,382,452

735

1,383,187

2004-05

1,791,044

645

1,791,689

2005-06

1,860,508

4,330

1,864,838

2006-07

1,634,440

3,805

1,638,245

2007-08

1,415,943

2,051

1,417,994

1 Not available.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service is able to provide a breakdown of UK and international travel expenditure from 2003-04 in the format required. To split the expenditure in the same way prior to this would involve a manual investigation of all claims which would incur disproportionate costs.

Compensation Agency

£

Within UK

Outside UK

Total

1997-98

1

1

12,474

1998-99

1

1

14,066

1999-2000

1

1

12,807

2000-01

1

1

16,533

2001-02

1

1

10,211

2002-03

1

1

24,413

2003-04

1

1

21,151

2004-05

1

1

17,281

2005-06

1

1

17,174

2006-07

1

1

13,342

2007-08

1

1

6,618

1 Not available.

Compensation Agency expenditure on travel is grouped under the same heading as subsistence. The figures therefore include both travel and subsistence. To provide separate costs and give details of whether the staff travel was within or outside the UK can be done only at disproportionate cost.

Youth Justice Agency

£

Within UK

Outside UK

Total

1997-98

1

1

1

1998-99

1

1

1

1999-2000

1

1

1

2000-01

1

1

1

2001-02

1

1

1

2002-03

1

1

1

2003-04

184,499

0

184,499

2004-05

173,318

0

173,318

2005-06

192,926

0

192,926

2006-07

244,107

535

244,642

2007-08

225,663

0

225,663

1 Not applicable

The Youth Justice Agency was launched on 1 April 2003.

Forensic Science Agency of Northern Ireland

£

Within UK

Outside UK

Total

1997-98

1

1

1

1998-99

1

1

1

1999-2000

1

1

1

2000-01

1

1

1

2001-02

1

1

1

2002-03

1

1

1

2003-04

1

1

1

2004-05

1

1

1

2005-06

1

1

1

2006-07

1

1

107,127

2007-08

1

1

111,182

1 Not available.

FSNI’s current finance system has only been in operation since 2006-07 and groups expenditure on travel under the same heading as subsistence. To provide the other information requested would involve a manual investigation of claims and could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 1996W, on departmental visits abroad, what the purpose was of each of the visits to the US. (257289)

My previous answer included official visits made by me, the Minister of State for Northern Ireland and officials.

The United States has played and continues to play a critical role in the political process. Their involvement is crucial in securing further progress towards the devolution of policing and justice and investment in Northern Ireland. Successive Secretaries of State have worked closely with the United States and have made regular visits to discuss policy. I continue this policy.

In addition officials have gone to the United States on official business for the purposes of learning and sharing knowledge (e.g. presenting evidence at the United Nations building).

All travel is undertaken in accordance with departmental rules and the Civil Service Management Code.

House of Commons Commission

Energy Performance Certificates

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what consideration the House of Commons Commission has given to displaying energy certificates at the public entrances to the Palace of Westminster in line with Government policy on public non-domestic buildings exceeding a floor area of 1000 square metres. (257006)

In line with good practice energy assessments were commissioned in July 2008. Energy certificates will shortly be displayed on the parliamentary estate.

Scotland

Baugur Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he plans to meet (a) Ministerial colleagues and (b) business leaders to discuss the risks to commercial activity in Scotland arising from the financial position of the Baugur Group. (256249)

My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues and business leaders on a wide range of issues.

By-Elections: Glenrothes

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the implications of the marked register from the Glenrothes by-election going missing for his responsibility for policy for the conduct of elections in Scotland; what discussions he has had with the Scottish Courts Service on the matter; when the marked register should have been lodged with the Courts Service; and if he will make a statement. (257818)

Following UK Parliament elections, certain election documents and records, including the marked register currently, must be sent to the relevant sheriff clerk for storage. After one year the records must be destroyed. Following a Scotland Office consultation last year, responsibility for the retention and supply of post-election documents and records for UK Parliament elections is to be transferred from sheriff clerks to returning officers. The amendment is being made through the Political Parties and Elections Bill currently before Parliament. This will bring Scotland more into line with the arrangements in England and Wales as well as with the existing arrangements for local authority and European Parliament elections in Scotland. The intention is to make similar provision for Scottish Parliament election records through secondary legislation.

I am aware that the Scottish Courts Service has commissioned an independent investigation into the particular circumstances of the loss of the marked register from the Glenrothes by-election and it would not, therefore, be appropriate for me to comment. Neither the Secretary of State nor I have had discussions with the Scottish Courts Service about the matter.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which ICT projects initiated by his Department were abandoned before completion in each year since 1997; what costs were incurred on each project; who the contractors were; what the date of (a) commencement and (b) abandonment was in each case; and if he will make a statement. (256655)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 68W, to the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell).

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a copy of his Department’s website accessibility plan. (257223)

The Scotland Office website accessibility plan will be published on our new website which is to be launched shortly. As part of this upgrade, our website will be updated from Level Single-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to Level Double-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0.

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many staff in his Department were on sick leave for (a) over 30 days, (b) over 50 days and (c) over 100 days in each of the last five years; (256333)

(2) how many staff in his Department were recorded as having been on sick leave for over 12 months on 31 December in each of the last five years.

All staff are on secondment from the Scottish Executive or the Ministry of Justice; who as parent Departments have absence management policies that apply to those of their staff working in this Office. We do not maintain a separate central record of sick absences. Such records are held by the parent Departments who publish their sick absence statistics.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many contacts there were between British forces and anti-coalition militia in Afghanistan in each month since June 2006; (251650)

(2) how many contacts between British and anti-coalition militia forces there have been in Helmand province in each roulement since June 2006.

The Ministry of Defence is currently collating and validating the data needed to answer this question. I will write to the hon. Member when this work is complete, and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces: Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on what dates he has had meetings with the Leader of Essex county council on the involvement of the Ministry of Defence in either a military academy school or a military vocational college at Colchester; and if he will make a statement; (256077)

(2) whether he has met the hon. Member for North Essex to discuss the involvement of his Department in a military academy school or a military vocational college at Colchester; and if he will make a statement.

I met the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin) and the Leader of Essex county council on 28 January 2009. No decision has been made regarding MOD involvement in an Academy school in the Colchester area and no proposal has been tabled by local authorities for any such initiative. Should an appropriate proposal be made, the Ministry of Defence would not be opposed in principle and would examine any proposal on its merits.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has allocated for staff bonuses in 2008-09. (252253)

The total paybill for staff below the Senior Civil Service (excluding Trading Funds) covered by the main pay awards is £l,827 billion of which up to 2.7 per cent. is for non-consolidated performance awards to staff. The median payment is £775.

The total paybill for permanent members of the Senior Civil Service (SCS) is £18.4 million of which 8.6 per cent. is for non-consolidated performance awards. The median payment is £8,000. This does not include fixed term employees at SCS level.

Non consolidated performance awards are designed to reward those deemed to have made the greatest contribution through specific in-year achievements such as the delivery of a major project, to departmental objectives or defence business more widely and overall costs must be contained within a set percentage of the pay bill. For the Senior Civil Service the size of the non-consolidated performance pay pot is based on recommendations by the independent Senior Salaries Review Body.

Departmental Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff working in his Department's main building lost their security passes in each month of 2008. (257690)

In 2008, 23 members of staff (including contractors) working in MOD Main Building reported their passes as lost or stolen. The monthly breakdown is tabled as follows:

Lost

Stolen

January

2

February

2

March

1

April

May

1

June

2

1

July

2

1

August

1

September

2

October

3

1

November

1

December

2

1

Once reported as lost or stolen, passes are disabled immediately, denying access to the building.

EU Battlegroups

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 1116W, on Netherlands: military exercises, whether the training exercise planned for 2009 will be used to meet the EU certification requirement for the UK's commitment to the EU Battlegroup for the first half of 2010. (257496)

No. There will be a separate training exercise in November 2009 which will be used to validate the UK commitment to the EU Battlegroup.

Ex-servicemen: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ex-service (a) men and (b) women living in the City of York have received Veteran's Badges. (257825)

The information is not held in the format that identifies how many ex-service men and women living in the City of York have received their Veterans Badges. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

We have however, identified that 1,391 veterans applying for the badge have included York in their address.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) service and (b) ex-service (i) men and (ii) women normally resident in York have received (A) medals for bravery or distinguished service, (B) mentions in despatches, (C) campaign medals and (D) other medals and honours for military service since 1997. (257828)

Middle East: Armed Conflict

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any unmanned aerial vehicles tested at Parc Aberporth have been deployed by Israel in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. (257361)

The MOD has not tested any unmanned aerial vehicles at Parc Aberporth.

QinetiQ

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Treasury Minute entitled The privatisation of QinetiQ issued in response to the Committee of Public Accounts' Twenty-Fourth Report of session 2007-08, what steps his Department has taken as a result of the findings of the review of QinetiQ's compliance regime undertaken by his Department's internal auditors. (257577)

As a result of the recommendations made by the Defence Internal Audit report, the following action has been taken by the Department:

Inclusion of Defence Equipment and Support senior commercial staff in the approvals process to ensure that risk assessments address interrelationships between projects and cover the totality of MOD's business.

Increased visibility of QinetiQ's oversight and implementation of the compliance regime through Defence Equipment and Support Director General Commercial involvement and inclusion in the QinetiQ Compliance Committee correspondence.

QinetiQ will provide Defence Equipment and Support with formal confirmation of their internal reviews and notify the Department of the findings, to enable a joint approach to managing risk.

Improvements to day to day operation of the firewall procedures including an update to QinetiQ's Compliance Manual to improve the firewall closure process.

Ongoing awareness training for Department commercial staff to ensure early identification of conflicts in the supply chain.

Development of a set of generic principles for dealing with conflicts of interest wherever they occur in the supply chain. These principles draw heavily on the QinetiQ compliance regime which is seen as effective and comprehensive.

Transport

Accessibility and Equalities Directorate

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 298W, on the Accessibility and Equalities Directorate, what timetable he has set for considering options for the management of his Department's business in relation to the work carried out by the Accessibility and Equalities Directorate. (258199)

I have not set a timetable. The Permanent Secretary is responsible for the effective management of staff and resources to achieve all departmental goals, including the promotion of greater equality of opportunity for all citizens.

Departmental Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many flights each Minister in his Department has made in each of the last five years; how many miles each Minister has flown in each of those years; how much in carbon dioxide emissions is attributable to these flights; and what the cost of the flights has been. (258162)

The detailed information requested is not held centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Since 1999 the Government have published a list of Cabinet Ministers' overseas travel over £500 along with the total cost for all ministerial travel. The list for 2007-08 includes a list of overseas travel over £500 undertaken by all Ministers. Information for the last financial year was published on 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 102WS. Copies of previous lists are available in the Libraries of the House. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Most Departments calculate their aviation emissions on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases UN-approved certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

A list of Government Carbon Offsetting Fund members, their emission figures and what activities they have offset through the fund is available online at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/carbonoffset/govt-list.htm

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many members of staff in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to his Department in each year since 1997. (248243)

The Department's seven Executive agencies and its Shared Service Centre have not found records of any instances of staff members being suspended or dismissed in relation to the loss of memory sticks, laptop computers, desktop computers or mobile telephones. To fully search the historical disciplinary data for the central Department would incur disproportionate costs.

Departments have taken urgent and decisive action across Government to improve data handing including minimising the amount of data put on removable media, encryption programmes for data and mobile devices that carry personal protected data and the introduction of training and education programmes to improve staff awareness of information risks.

The Government take data security very seriously which is why a report into data handling procedures across Government was commissioned and new measures to improve and strengthen controls in the protection of personal data were introduced.

Under Para 2.8 of the Data Handling Report published in June 2008, all Departments are required to:

“amend HR processes where necessary to make clear that failing to apply controls in handling personal data could amount to gross misconduct.”

The Department and its agencies are in the process of reviewing HR processes to ensure that they meet the requirements of paragraph 2.8 of the Data Handling Report.

Departmental Foreign Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals are employed by his Department. (256199)

There are a total of (a) 56 EU foreign nationals and (b) 27 non-EU foreign nationals employed in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. The Central Department, the Driving Standards Agency, the Government Car and Despatch Agency and the Highways Agency do not record these data separately and they can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Equality Impact Assessments

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many equalities impact assessments his Department has undertaken in the last 12 month period for which figures are available; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of such assessments. (255065)

The Department for Transport and its agencies have carried out over 100 Equality Impact Assessments in the last 12 months and are in the process of setting up a system to accurately monitor all assessments going forward. A cost estimate could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a copy of his Department’s website accessibility plan. (257225)

The Department for Transport intends to comply with Level Double-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (version 1.0 or the version 2.0 equivalent) by December 2009.

A summary of the online accessibility plan/policy for the Department’s website:

www.dft.gov.uk

is available at:

www.dft.gov.uk/accessibility

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has allocated for staff bonuses in 2008-09. (252258)

The Department for Transport comprises a central Department plus seven executive agencies each with its own pay and reward system. Information regarding non-consolidated performance pay has been collected from the central Department and all seven agencies.

The Department has allocated £12,336,194 for non-consolidated performance payments to staff in 2008-09.

The total paybill for the Department for 2008-09 is £606,890,207. Non-consolidated performance payments represent 2.03 per cent. of the paybill.

Non-consolidated performance pay is funded within existing paybill controls and has to be re-earned each year against pre-determined targets. It is paid in respect of exceptional overall performance or exceptional performance on a specific task or at a specific time and, as such, does not add to future pay bill costs.

Departmental Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many language translators are employed in (a) each of his Department’s Executive agencies and (b) its non-Ministerial department; and what the cost of translating services provided by such people was in the latest period for which information is available. (257145)

The central Department and its agencies do not employ any staff specifically for translation purposes. However, when such services are required they will be procured on an ad hoc basis.

The cost of such services are shown in the following table.

£

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

DfT(c)

18,100

22,600

22,400

34,200

23,900

DVLA

84,200

92,700

78,800

134,500

111,700

VOSA

19,000

55,000

37,000

56,000

56,000

VCA

1,300

1,400

2,100

2,100

800

MCA

8,500

4,700

7,700

20,100

12,200

DSA

1

1

4,900

100

3,200

HA

2

2

2

2

2

1 Data not available.

2 Data not available except at disproportionate cost.

Note:

Those for DfT(c) include interpretation as well as translation. Separate translation information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information on translations provided by the Department’s non-departmental public bodies (b) is held by the bodies themselves. This information is not held centrally.

Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what administrative financial penalties may be levied by his Department and its agencies. (253590)

The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. To answer this question fully would entail all policy units and agencies of the Department researching and providing the information.

Railways: Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on rail replacement bus services in the North East in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (257534)

Railways: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 5 February 2009, Official Report, column 50WS, on rail services, whether the fund for the provision of rail services promoted by local authorities or passenger transport authorities will come from the rail budget; how many projects he estimates will meet his Department’s criteria for funding in this manner; what representations he has received from local authorities on the number of projects that are likely to meet his Department’s criteria; whether capital projects designed to enhance capacity on the rail network will be applicable for such funding; and whether he plans to allow private sector organisations to bid for capital projects on the railways under the fund. (256765)

A fund for supporting rail services initially funded by local authorities and passenger transport executives (PTEs) will be formally established at the time the high level output specification for the period 2014-19 is published in 2012. As the fund has only just been announced, we have yet to receive representations from local authorities and therefore have no precise number of the projects likely to meet the Department for Transport’s criteria for funding from this initiative in the period 2014-19. This fund does not include capital funding for projects. Local authorities and regions can already recommend to Ministers that regional funding allocations can be used for investment in rail schemes.

Railways: Pennines

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Transpennine Express train services on the Manchester to Hull line scheduled to run at peak hours ran according to the timetable in each year since 1997. (257400)

This is an operational matter for Network Rail as the custodian of timetable and performance data for the rail industry. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail's Chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question:

Ian Coucher

Chief Executive

Network Rail

40 Melton Street

London, NW1 2EE.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the schedule for de-trunking of each road in the non-core network in the next five years is. (257397)

The 1998 Transport White Paper, “A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone”, set in hand a programme of de-trunking to allow the Highways Agency to concentrate on the operation of a strategic road network that links the main centres of population and major transport hubs.

There are four road sections remaining in this de-trunking programme as follows:

The A38 from Minworth (Birmingham) to its junction with the A5 at Weeford Island.

The A63/A19 between the Boot and Shoe roundabout at Micklefield and Loftsome Bridge.

The A65 from M6 junction 36 to the Lancashire/North Yorkshire boundary.

The A40 from Ross-on-Wye to the county of Herefordshire/Gloucestershire boundary.

These road sections are expected to be de-trunked by the end of March 2009 and the de-trunking programme will then be completed.

There are no plans to initiate any similar programme of de-trunking in future years, as distinct from individual de-trunking orders that may be required as a matter of routine following a new road opening, or for operational reasons.

TransPennine Express: Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ensure that extra carriages for TransPennine Express will be manufactured in England. (257990)

The Department for Transport’s procurement procedures conform to European Union procurement directives and UK regulations which prohibit the selection of suppliers on the grounds of country of origin or manufacture. The Department’s process in evaluating bids does not therefore incorporate such criteria.

The winning bidder for new rolling stock procured by the Department will be selected on the basis of compliance with the technical specification, deliverability and value for money for the taxpayer.

Treasury

Banks: Accountancy

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what dates the auditors of banks regulated by the Financial Services Authority who issued a qualified audit report on the 2007-08 accounts of a bank informed his Department of their plans to issue such reports. (256999)

The auditors of banks that are regulated by the FSA have a duty to report to the FSA if they intend to issue a qualified audit report. The auditors do not have a duty to report such matters to HM Treasury.

Capital Gains Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate what the cost to the Exchequer would be of exempting from capital gains tax business owners who sell their businesses upon retirement up to the value of (a) £100,000, (b) £200,000, (c) £300,000, (d) £400,000, (e) £500,000 and (f) £1,000,000 in each financial year from 2009-10 to 2014-15. (257645)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the former Financial Secretary (Jane Kennedy) on 22 May 2008, Official Report, column 435W.

Child Care Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many parents were claiming child care tax credit in respect of children aged (a) between four and 11 and (b) over 11 years old in each of the last three years. (257386)

The information requested is available only at a disproportionate cost.

However, estimates of the number of families, by age group of children, benefiting from the child care element of working tax credit at selected dates, are published in table 4.4 of the HMRC publication “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics” for each year. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department were on sick leave for (a) over 30 days, (b) over 50 days and (c) over 100 days in each of the last five years. (256336)

The following table shows the total staff on sick leave in each of the last five years.

Over 30 days

Over 50 days

Over 100 days

2004

12

13

12

2005

18

15

11

2006

11

20

7

2007

11

17

12

2008

7

10

7

Excise Duties: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the extra revenue which would be raised in 2008-09 by increasing the rate of duty on cider to that levied on beer. (257504)

HM Revenue and Customs publishes estimates of the revenue effects of alcohol duty rate changes on its website:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_expenditures/table1-6.pdf

The duty rate on still cider and perry exceeding 1.2 per cent. abv and not exceeding 7.5 per cent. abv is £31.21 per hectolitre of product. The duty rate on beer is £16.15 per hectolitre per cent. of alcohol in the beer. Hence, the duty rate on beer will vary depending on its alcoholic strength, whereas cider pays the same amount of duty regardless of its strength within the 1.2 per cent.—7.5 per cent. strength band. Any beer with abv in excess of 1.93 per cent. will pay higher duty per hectolitre than cider between 1.2 per cent. abv and 7.5 per cent. abv.

Job Creation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 28 January 2009, Official Report, column 588W, on public expenditure, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the 100,000 jobs which will go to British workers; and how many of these jobs he expects to arise in relation to eco-friendly projects. (256550)

The public sector capital investment brought forward in 2009-10, which was detailed in the pre-Budget report, will create jobs in sectors and communities across the UK. A number of areas in which capital will be brought forward are focused on environmental goals, including the Warm Front programme and spending to improve household energy efficiency.

Non-Domestic Rates: Business

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department carried out of the effect on businesses of the planned increase in national non-domestic rates in April 2009; and if he will make a statement. (256252)

I have been asked to reply.

Government policy on Impact Assessments is that they are not required where a predetermined formula, such as the rate of inflation, changes the rate of a tax.

www.berr.gov.uk/files/file44544.pdf

Non-Profit Making Associations

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Office of Government Commerce is taking to implement the recommendations of the Glover review. (257847)

In response to the recommendations of the Glover report, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is working on a number of projects to make it easier for small and medium sized enterprises to supply the public sector. Work is underway to deliver all of the recommendations by the end of 2010, though many will be delivered sooner. An update of progress will be provided at Budget 2009. Government will continue to work closely with SMEs and business representative groups to ensure that the impact of the recommendations is positive.

Public Expenditure: Small Businesses

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department monitors the proportion of Government spending on public sector contracts which goes to small businesses. (257845)

HM Treasury does not currently monitor this. However, the Glover report, “Accelerating the SME Economic Engine” published on the HMT website in November 2008, made 12 recommendations to improve SMEE access to public procurement including:

“The committee recommends that all central Government departments should report annually on the value of their contract spend with SMEs.”

Government are currently implementing all the recommendations of the Glover report.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training the Office of Government Commerce provides for public procurement managers on dealing with consortia of small businesses tendering for public contracts. (257846)

In response to the recommendations of the Glover report, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is working on a number of projects to make it easier for small and medium sized enterprises to supply the public sector. One of the projects to be delivered this year has a specific focus on advising and training procurers and will cover the issue of consortia bidding. This area is also covered in OGC’s supply chain management guidance which is available on the OGC website.

Regional Planning and Development: Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the timetable is for the next regional finance allocation for each region; and what scrutiny processes apply to the allocations. (258139)

The allocation of resources to Government Departments is determined through the regular spending review framework. The allocation of spending to the English regions by Government Departments is determined by a large number of factors taking into account the needs and circumstances of each region.

Revenue and Customs

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of the closure of HM Revenue and Customs' office, Chaucer House, Mansfield; and by what date he expects such costs to be recouped by anticipated savings resulting from the closure. (257072)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of the closure of the HM Revenue and Customs office in Burton-on-Trent; and by what date he expects such costs to be recouped by anticipated savings resulting from the closure. (257537)

Reliable figures for the costs of closing both offices will only be established once workable options have been found for all staff prior to the buildings being vacated. It is not possible to give a date by which costs would be recouped by anticipated savings from specific closures because HM Revenue and Customs' efficiency savings from business restructuring will be recognised at a department-wide level and not at individual office levels.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in the amount of travel allowance paid in each month to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff who are to relocate following the closure of the HMRC office in Burton-on-Trent. (257538)

The daily travel allowance that will be paid to staff as a result of the closure of Crown House, Burton on Trent cannot be estimated at this stage. The actual amounts payable depend on a number of factors which cannot be calculated in advance. These can include the mode of transport, the working pattern of the employee, availability of season tickets and cost of fuel, among others. Staff who have been working at this locality will be moving to Derby, Nottingham or Birmingham.

It is not yet certain where all employees currently working at Crown House will relocate to, as the redeployment opportunities we offer include help in moving to other Government Departments, retraining for posts in the wider public sector or other early release schemes.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the total cost of redundancy payments for HM Revenue and Customs staff who are leaving the service following the closure of Chaucer House, Mansfield. (257027)

HMRC has not estimated redundancy payments for the staff at Chaucer House in Mansfield. While it has announced the vacation of the building, with the exception of the Enquiry Centre, by March 2010 HMRC is working with the staff and managers involved to identify redeployment opportunities.

Managers are meeting individually with staff to discuss their personal circumstances and the full package of options and assistance which are available.

HMRC has not used compulsory redundancy to date and will maintain this policy where it is reasonably practical to do so.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change to the total amount of travel allowance paid to HM Revenue and Customs staff who are to relocate following the closure of Chaucer House office, Mansfield. (257177)

The daily travel allowance that will be paid to staff as a result of the closure of Chaucer House, Mansfield cannot be estimated at this stage. The actual amounts payable depend on a number of factors which cannot be calculated in advance. These can include the mode of transport, the working pattern of the employee, availability of season tickets and cost of fuel, amongst others.

It is not yet certain that all employees currently working at Chaucer House will relocate to Castle Meadow as the redeployment opportunities we offer include help in moving to other Government Departments, retraining for posts in the wider public sector or other early release schemes.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of redundancy payments for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff who are leaving the service following the closure of the HMRC office in Burton-on-Trent. (257536)

HMRC has not estimated redundancy payments for the staff at Crown House in Burton upon Trent. It plans to vacate the building with the exception of one floor containing an inquiry centre by 31 March 2010. HMRC is working with the staff and managers involved to identify redeployment opportunities.

Managers are meeting individually with staff to discuss their personal circumstances and the full package of options and assistance which are available.

HMRC has not used compulsory redundancy to date and will maintain this policy where it is reasonably practical to do so.

Revenue and Customs: Standards

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will call for a report from HM Revenue and Customs as to the percentage of tax returns received by 31 October 2008 which had been processed by 31 January 2009; and if he will make a statement. (257375)

Of 2.74 million paper tax returns received by the new deadline of 31 October 2008, less than 1 per cent. remained unprocessed at 5 February, the nearest date to 31 January for which HMRC has a precise count.

Smuggling: Tobacco

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much HM Revenue and Customs spent on information campaigns relating to the smuggling and supply of illegal and counterfeit tobacco in each of the last five years. (256863)

HM Revenue and Customs spend by year on targeted media campaigns to support their anti-smuggling strategy was:

£

2003-04

672,449

2004-05

83,368

2005-06

556,382

2006-07

91,993

2007-08

55,000

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much HM Revenue and Customs spent on reducing levels of smuggling and supplying of illegal and counterfeit tobacco in the latest period for which figures are available. (256864)

Tax Allowances

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide tax relief to all forms of media using public interest criteria. (257200)

The Government have no plans to provide additional tax relief to all forms of media.

The Government have clear objectives for the tax system, which include minimising distortions. For the introduction of any special reliefs the Government will need to be satisfied that there is clear evidence of the benefits, and that these outweigh the costs of the introduction of the measure.

VAT: Catering

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of reducing to five per cent. value added tax on the supply of restaurants and catering services, exclusive of services relating to the sale of alcohol. (257505)

VAT: Disabled

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review the rules relating to value added tax relief for people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement. (257258)

VAT zero-rating currently applies to a wide range of goods and services supplied to disabled people for their personal use. Under the VAT agreements with our European partners signed by successive governments, we can retain our existing VAT zero rates, but we may not extend them or introduce new ones. It is therefore not possible to remove VAT from additional goods and services purchased by disabled people.

The same VAT agreements allow EU member states to introduce reduced rates of VAT of not less than 5 per cent. on a prescribed list of goods and services. All taxes are kept under review, but given the wide range of the UK's zero rates we see little scope within the reduced rate list for the introduction of further VAT reliefs that would benefit disabled people.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of (a) the total value of value added tax (VAT) relief on goods and services for people with disabilities, (b) the number of sold goods for disabled people which were VAT zero-rated and (c) the number of disabled people who have received goods and services that have been VAT zero-rated in each year since 1997. (257259)

Estimates of the value of the VAT zero rate on vehicles and other supplies to people with disabilities are published in Table 7 of the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs, available on the HM Treasury website at:

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pbr08_taxreadyreckoner_287.pdf

These estimates are based on expenditure data only. HM Revenue and Customs does not collect information on the number of such goods sold, or on the number of disabled people receiving them.

VAT: Museums and Galleries

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with HM Revenue and Customs officials on changes to the interpretation of the rules on the recovery of value added tax for libraries and museums; and if he will make a statement. (257349)

There have been no discussions about changing the interpretation of the rules governing the scheme that provides for the recovery of VAT by libraries and museums under the provisions of section 33A of the VAT Act 1994.

The scheme was introduced as a part of the Government's commitment to make access to the main museums and galleries free. Because VAT can be recovered only on purchases relating to taxable business activities (such as charging for admission), abolishing admission charges could have left museums and galleries bearing the cost of irrecoverable VAT. The scheme refunds this VAT, but it is confined to museums and galleries. The National Libraries are included in it, but only in relation to their permanent collections on free public display.

Welfare Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many and what proportion of (a) new claims, (b) renewals and (c) change of circumstances claims for tax credits have been processed (i) within and (ii) after the target time in each month since the introduction of tax credits; (257185)

(2) how many and what proportion of tax credit payments have been made (a) within and (b) after the target time for payments in each month since their introduction;

(3) what targets his Department has set for the time taken to process (a) a new application for tax credits and (b) an application to renew a tax credits claim; how long on average it has taken to process (i) a new claim for tax credits and (ii) an application to renew a tax credits claim (A) in each year since the scheme's introduction and (B) in each of the last 12 months; how many new claims for tax credits have been received by the Tax Credit Office in each month since their introduction; and if he will make a statement.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sets its tax credits processing targets annually.

Performance outturn for all new claims, renewals and changes of circumstances for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 can be found in the Department's autumn performance reports which are available at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/reports.htm

(a) Information relating solely to new claims for 2006-07 and 2007-08 is provided in the following table:

Percentage

Target

86% in five working days

95% in 30 working days

2006-07

Outturn

80

91.7

2007-08

Outturn

81

91.7

In 2008-09 the Tax Credit Office (TCO) aims to pay 60 per cent. of all tax credits claims in 15 calendar days and all new tax credit claims in 20 calendar days In light of the difference to previous years' targets, HMRC is working hard to identify how resources can be most effectively deployed to achieve these revised aims. Separate information about the time taken to make payments in earlier years is not available.

(b) Information relating solely to renewals for 2006-07 and 2007-08 is provided in the following table:

Percentage

Target

86% in five working days

95% in 30 working days

2006-07

Outturn

43.7

85.3

2007-08

Outturn

74.7

90

In 2008, HMRC had an internal measure that aimed to process 85 per cent. of tax credits renewals in 15 working days over the renewal period. Around 99 per cent. of renewals cleared from April 2008 to September 2008 inclusive were processed within the target time with an average processing time of around three days.

(c) For information about change of circumstances I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) on 28 January 2009, Official Report, column 591W. Detailed information about the number of change of circumstance notifications received and processed is not available in the format requested.

For the number of new tax credits claims received from January 2006 to November 2008 inclusive, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry) on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 792W and the answer my hon. Friend the Exchequer Secretary gave the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) on 10 December 2008, Official Report, column 198W.

The number of new claims received from households in each month November 2002 to December 2005 inclusive, and in December 2008 and January 2009 are shown in the following table:

Number of new claims

2002

November

765,225

December

357,684

2003

January

519,982

February

674,744

March

487,319

April

419,484

May

484,326

June

361,554

July

329,014

August

146,102

September

129,534

October

125,468

November

110,497

December

71,990

2004

January

98,088

February

105,397

March

109,432

April

108,802

May

133,170

June

141,319

July

136,006

August

119,116

September

162,325

October

156,743

November

138,198

December

108,783

2005

January

107,655

February

121,839

March

113,983

April

114,908

May

111,586

June

127,140

July

115,555

August

127,774

September

147,331

October

164,764

November

175,523

December

70,068

2008

December

97,522

2009

January

109,046

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of tax credit payments were made (a) into bank accounts and (b) by other payment methods in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (257187)

The information requested is provided in the following table.

Method of payment

Percentage of total payments

2008

BACs (Thousand)

Cheque (Thousand)

BACs

Cheque

Total payments (Thousand)

February

15,970

369

97.74

2.26

16,339

March

15,994

354

97.83

2.17

16,298

April

17,670

380

97.89

2.11

18,050

May

17,997

396

97.85

2.15

18,393

June

17,762

397

97.81

2.19

18,159

July

20,176

465

97.75

2.25

20,641

August

15,895

356

97.81

2.19

16,251

September

17,175

381

97.83

2.17

17,556

October

18,022

397

97.84

2.16

18,419

November

15,858

355

97.81

2.19

16,213

December

20,137

415

97.98

2.02

20,552

January

16,330

359

97.85

2.15

16,689

Total

208,936

4,624

97.83

2.17

213,560

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions the Tax Credit Office has been notified by claimants of a delay in receiving payments in each of the last 12 months. (257190)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on public expenditure of removing the second income threshold on tax credits and applying a consistent taper rate of 44 per cent. while increasing the first income threshold of tax credits to (a) £6,750, (b) £7,000, (c) £7,500, (d) £8,000, (e) £8,500, (f) £9,000, (g) £9,500 and (h) £10,000 in each of the next six years; if he will estimate the number of people who would have an entitlement reduced to zero in each case; and if he will make a statement. (257195)

Electoral Commission Committee

Constituencies

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission has made estimates of the likely impact of under-registration on the size of the electorates in new constituencies proposed by the Boundary Commissions. (257305)

Electoral Register

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission has undertaken research on the effect of recent changes in the law that allow local authority electoral registration officers to consult local government databases. (257311)

The Commission informs me that it has undertaken no such research. However, its performance standards for electoral registration officers include the requirement to check council tax, housing benefit and any other council records that would help them to carry out their registration duties. The Electoral Commission will publish an assessment of the performance of electoral registration officers in respect of this standard in spring 2009.

The Electoral Commission further informs me that it will also review the use and effectiveness of local government databases as part of its longer term research programme into the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what representations the Electoral Commission has received on electoral registration officers using central government databases to improve their electoral registers. (257313)

The Commission informs me that in its 2002 consultation “Electoral registration: a review of the process”, it specifically sought views on whether better data-sharing between local and central Government databases would help electoral registration officers improve the accuracy of electoral registers. The Commission received 32 representations addressing this issue, from electoral registration officers, political parties and other organisations.

The Commission further informs me that many respondents to the consultation supported the principle of better gathering of data to improve the accuracy of electoral registers. However, there was considerable variance in views on, or understanding of, the extent to which this would be possible under existing law.

Electoral Register and Postal Votes

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how much funding the Electoral Commission has provided for research into (a) under-registration and (b) postal vote fraud in each year since it was established. (257312)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold this information in the requested format. However it regularly conducts research into both registration and the security of postal voting. The following table sets out the costs of all public opinion research projects that have addressed these subjects.

UK

Financial year

Cost (£)

2001-02

60,000

2002-03

89,065

2003-04

346,332

2004-05

343,706

2005-06

229,933

2006-07

284,071

2007-08

278,459

2008-09

122,850

The Commission has also conducted research using electoral registers to review the extent of under-registration. Costs for this are as follows:

UK

Financial year

Cost (£)

2001-02

2002-03

39,405

2003-04

40,185

2004-05

146,064

2005-06

29,500

2006-07

95,704

2007-08

86,574

2008-09

69,818

In addition to expenditure on research, the Commission also works to identify and analyse the scale and frequency of postal voting malpractice, through monitoring electoral petitions and prosecutions for electoral offences and liaison with the police, prosecuting authorities, and electoral registration and returning officers.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how many meetings Electoral Commission officers have (a) initiated and (b) attended on (i) postal ballot fraud and (ii) electoral registration in each of the last five years. (257715)

The Commission does not hold this information in the requested format. However, it informs me that over the past five years, Commission staff initiated or attended a number of briefings, seminars and meetings involving electoral registration officers, electoral administrators, academics, political parties, the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, Government officials and elected representatives, at which postal ballot fraud and electoral registration were discussed.

The Commission further informs me that in 2007 it hosted 10 dedicated seminars covering electoral registration across England and Wales for electoral registration officers and administrators. It has also held four national and two regional seminars for Single Point of Contact (SPOC) police officers on reducing and preventing electoral fraud, including postal ballot fraud.

Electoral Register: Marketing

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effectiveness of its advertising campaign to raise electoral registration levels. (257321)

The Commission informs me that it measures the effect of its advertising campaigns through direct response statistics such as the number of voter registration forms ordered through its telephone helpline or downloaded from its website. The Commission also undertakes independent tracking research to measure the reach of its campaigns among target audiences.

The 2006 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General to the Speaker’s Committee entitled “Is the Public Aware of Democracy” concluded that

“the Commission has used its resources in raising public awareness in general effectively when judged by measures such as recall rates and other industry measures for its advertising. There does too, seem to have been an overall positive effect on voter registration”.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Electoral Commission has taken to encourage the use of doorstep canvassing in increasing levels of voter registration. (257462)

Electoral Register: Standards

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Electoral Commission has taken to measure the effectiveness of electoral registration officers in increasing levels of voter registration. (257461)

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to him of 21 October 2008, Official Report, column 151W. The Electoral Commission informs me that it is in the process of assessing EROs against the published performance standards and will publish an assessment in spring 2009.

Pay

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how many bonus payments were made in 2007-08 to (a) senior civil servants and (b) other staff of the Electoral Commission; and how much was paid in total. (257745)

The Electoral Commission informs me that there were 15 bonus payments to staff during 2007-08, totalling £23,145. The Electoral Commission is independent of Government and its staff are not civil servants.

Communities and Local Government

Council Housing: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2009, Official Report, column 1278W, on council housing: Greater London, what data her Department routinely collects on the number of people (a) on housing waiting lists and (b) in housing need; and if she will make a statement. (256663)

Local authorities report summary information about their housing waiting list in Section C of their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) returns. The latest available data are at April 2008. These include the total number of households (rather than people) on the housing register and a breakdown of their bedroom requirements. A question was recently added requesting the number of households on the waiting list in any reasonable preference category. Information is collected at local authority level.

A link to the table presenting the number of households on the housing waiting list in each local authority is as follows:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/table600.xls

Further information on the number of households on the local authority housing waiting lists for England, including the full HSSA datasets, can be accessed from the statistical release ‘Local Authority Housing Statistics England: 2007-08: Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) and Business Plan Statistical Appendix (BPSA)’. This was published on 22 January 2009 on the Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/lahousing200708

Copies of the statistical release and live table have been deposited in the Library.

Not everyone on the waiting list is necessarily in urgent housing need. The waiting list includes those who consider social housing as their preferred or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move house—particularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time. The size of the waiting list is not an indicator of absolute need, it is only useful as a broad indicator of housing demand in an area.

Currently no information is collected on housing need. A new analytical model is currently being developed to improve the Department's capacity to estimate the number and type of households with some form of housing related need.

Council Housing: Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people are on local authority housing waiting lists in (a) Hemel Hempstead and (b) Hertfordshire; and what the equivalent figures were (i) five and (ii) 10 years ago. (256490)

Information is available on numbers of households rather than people. The number of households registered on local authority housing waiting lists in each local authority, as at 1 April each year, is published on the Communities and Local Government website in Table 600. The latest available data are at April 2008. The link for this table is given as follows:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/table600.xls

Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. Hemel Hempstead is included under Dacorum district council. The number of households on local authorities’ waiting lists in Hertfordshire and Dacorum is given in the following table.

Number of households on the council house waiting list (excludes households looking for transfers)

April

1998

2003

2008

Dacorum

3,274

3,465

4,794

Hertfordshire

18,601

19,677

26,891

Source:

Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA).

Further information on the number of households on the local authority housing waiting lists for England, can be found in the statistical release “Local Authority Housing Statistics England: 2007-08: Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) and Business Plan Statistical Appendix (BPSA)” This was published on 22 January 2009 on the Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/lahousing200708

Copies of the statistical release and live table have been deposited in the Library.

The accuracy of the local authority housing waiting list depends on the extent to which housing authorities keep the register up-to-date, e.g. some households might already have found housing, yet remain on the list. It is also important to bear in mind that not everyone on the waiting list will necessarily be in urgent housing need. It will also include those who consider social housing as their preferred choice, or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move house—particularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time.

Council Housing: Lambeth

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions the Minister for Housing has had with Lambeth Council on rent increases from 1 April 2009. (255822)

No such discussions have taken place. Communities and Local Government issued rent guidelines for each council within the Housing Revenue Account Determination on 18 December. Councils have the discretion to set their own rent levels. They are not set by central Government.

Council Housing: Rents

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will estimate the effect on the change in the level of rents in each local housing authority in 2009-10 if the relevant month for the purpose of including inflation in her Department’s guideline rent increase was (a) October, (b) November and (c) December 2008. (255372)

No. Decisions on rent levels are a matter for each local housing authority.

The national average guideline rent increase within the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) subsidy determination for 2009-10, consulted upon in October and issued on 18 December 2008, was based upon Government policy for social rents and on information available at the time, with full consideration of affordability for tenants. It would not be appropriate to estimate in retrospect the possible impact of changing inflation rates on individual guideline rents for local authorities.

Council Tax: Second Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what percentage of houses were registered as second homes for council tax purposes in each county in each year since 1997. (256458)

Details of the number of properties registered as second homes for council tax purposes, and the percentage of the total number of homes this represents, in each county in England since 2004 are given in the following table. Information for previous years is not available.

November 2004October 2005October 2006October 2007October 2008

Second homes

Percentage of total

Second homes

Percentage of total

Second homes

Percentage of total

Second homes

Percentage of total

Second homes

Percentage of total

Bedfordshire

461

0.3

527

0.3

812

0.5

720

0.4

732

0.4

Buckinghamshire

1,028

0.5

978

0.5

995

0.5

1,014

0.5

1,078

0.5

Cambridgeshire

2,163

0.9

2,240

0.9

2,072

0.8

2.043

0.8

2,064

0.8

Cheshire

1.548

0.5

1,760

0.6

2,122

0.7

2,543

0.8

2.595

0.8

Cornwall

13,509

5.7

13,221

5.6

13,040

5.4

13,201

5.4

13,603

5.5

Cumbria

7,865

3.4

7,906

3.4

8,372

3.6

8,084

3.4

8,196

3.5

Derbyshire

1,792

0.5

1,759

0.5

1.794

0.5

1,733

0.5

1,896

0.6

Devon

12,191

3.7

12,015

3.6

11,550

3.5

11,233

3.3

11,214

3.3

Dorset

6,178

3.3

6,385

3.4

6.342

3.4

6,257

3.3

6,439

3.4

Durham

651

0.3

799

0.4

615

0.3

707

0.3

700

0.3

East Sussex

5,049

2.2

4,969

2.1

4,834

2.1

4,749

2.0

4,730

2.0

Essex

4,429

0.8

4,279

0.7

4,585

0.8

4,621

0.8

4.458

0.8

Gloucestershire

3,124

1.2

3,049

1.2

3,040

1.2

3,133

1.2

3,200

1.2

Hampshire

4,311

0.8

4,603

0.9

4,430

0.8

4,436

0.8

4,581

0.8

Hertfordshire

2,123

0.5

2,493

0.6

2,433

0.5

2,509

0.6

2,611

0.6

Kent

7,192

1.2

6.672

1.1

6,466

1.1

6,255

1.0

8,287

1.3

Lancashire

2,799

0.6

3,098

0.6

2,861

0.6

2,795

0.5

2,799

0.5

Leicestershire

1,038

0.4

1,273

0.5

1,585

0.6

1,501

0.6

1,387

0.5

Lincolnshire

2.942

1.0

3,103

1.0

2,952

1.0

2.649

0.9

Z627

0.8

Norfolk

11,444

3.0

11,857

3.1

11,776

3.1

11,686

3.0

11,933

3 1

North Yorkshire

6,690

2.6

7,024

2.7

7,057

2.7

7,055

2.6

7,390

2.7

Northamptonshire

1.196

0.4

1,087

0.4

1,084

0.4

1,057

0.4

1,071

0.4

Northumberland

2,766

2.0

2,805

2.0

2,798

2.0

2,767

1.9

2,887

2.0

Nottinghamshire

888

0.3

1,152

0.3

1,234

0.4

1,250

0.4

1,326

0.4

Oxfordshire

3,062

1.2

3.035

1.2

3,106

1.2

3,382

1.3

3.201

1.2

Shropshire

1,206

1.0

1,246

1.0

1,229

1.0

1,194

0.9

1,207

0.9

Somerset

3,007

1.3

2,973

1.3

2,925

1.3

2,820

1.2

2.858

1.2

Staffordshire

654

0.2

695

0.2

685

0.2

682

0.2

695

0,2

Suffolk

5,443

1.8

5,414

1.8

5,337

1.7

5,387

1.7

5,455

1.7

Surrey

3,534

0.8

4,090

0.9

3,623

0.8

3,424

0.7

3,574

0.8

Warwickshire

981

0.4

997

0.4

1,747

0.8

1,846

0.8

1,831

0.8

West Sussex

5,756

1.7

6,266

1.8

6,241

1.8

6.118

1.8

6,204

1.8

Wiltshire

1,835

1.0

1,983

1.0

2,199

1.1

2,161

1.1

2,139

1.1

Worcestershire

1,444

0.6

1,359

0.6

1,338

0.6

1,328

0.5

1,389

0.6

Total

130,299

1.3

133,112

1.3

133,279

1.3

132,340

1.3

136.357

1.3

The data are from a snapshot taken each year and are as recorded by each local authority in Council Tax Base returns submitted annually.

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of maintaining the databases owned and managed by (a) her Department and (b) its agencies was in (i) 2006, (ii) 2007 and (iii) 2008. (256149)

A full answer to the question could be given only at disproportionate cost. However I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 2 November 2006, Official Report, column 619W.

Empty Dwelling Management Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty dwelling management orders have been issued since the Housing Act 2004 came into force. (256651)

To date, 17 Interim Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) have been approved by the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS) since the legislation came into effect in April 2006. However, local authorities claim that in many cases the threat of an EDMO has been sufficient to make owners take action to bring long-term empty homes back into use.

We are confident that the legislation is beginning to work well. We always intended that the legislation should be used only as a last resort where other measures have proved unsuccessful. We want to encourage voluntary re-occupation of empty homes but this can only work well where there is realistic compulsion to back them up. EDMOs provide this compulsion and should therefore be a key component of a comprehensive empty property strategy.

We are keen for local authorities to make use of EDMOs, where appropriate, and are supporting the independent Empty Homes Agency’s new guidance on EDMOs. The guidance, which is currently being tested, is internet based and interactive and will take local authorities through the EDMO process step by step. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning is providing a foreword for the guidance.

We are also hosting a seminar at which I will address local authorities encouraging them to take action and to share best practice on tackling empty homes, including the use of EDMOs.

Homelessness

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people who applied to local authorities for housing have been assessed under homelessness criteria as priority need in the last (a) six months, (b) 12 months and (c) two years; and how many of those applicants were (i) ex-service personnel, (ii) ex-prisoners and (iii) asylum seekers. (258036)

Information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include the number of applicants accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). These households are known as 'accepted' households.

In addition, some applicants may be found to be in priority need, but are not accepted as owed a main homelessness duty because they were found to be intentionally homeless. For these cases we do not hold the reason for priority need centrally.

During the last six months for which data are available (April to September 2008), 34,640 applicants were assessed as being homeless and in priority need. 30,020 of these were accepted as owed a main homelessness duty, of which 20 were vulnerable through having previously served in HM forces, 140 through having previously been on remand or in custody, and 40 through having previously been an asylum seeker (note that since April 2000, asylum seekers have been ineligible for assistance under the homelessness legislation, with certain exceptions where an asylum claim had been made prior to 3 April 2000).

The following table summarises the data for the most recent six months, and also shows figures for the most recent 12-month and two-year period:

(a) April to September 2008 (last 6 months)

(b) October 2007 to September 2008 (12 months)

(c) October 2006 to September 2008 (2 years)

Applicants found to be homeless and in priority need

34,640

69,900

147,170

Of which: accepted as owed a main homelessness duty

30,020

60,690

127,730

Of which: applicant vulnerable as a result of:

(i) having served in HM Forces

20

40

80

(ii) having previously been on remand or in custody

140

270

630

(iii) being a former asylum seeker

40

100

220

However it is important to note that some applicants who had previously been in the HM forces, on remand or in custody, or are a former asylum seeker, may have been accepted with alternative primary priority needs (for example through having dependent children or being a pregnant woman) and so will not be shown as being priority need for these reasons.

Homelessness: East Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for housing assistance under homelessness legislation were made in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex in each of the last five years. (257084)

Information about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is collected by the Department. Authorities provide data on the number of applications for housing assistance (including those by ineligible households), as well as the number of households who are accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty.

Figures are collected at local authority level. The following table shows the number of applicants who have applied for housing assistance in each local authority within East Sussex (which includes Eastbourne).

Applications for housing assistance under homelessness legislation in local authorities within East Sussex (including ineligible households), 2003-04 to 2007-08

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Eastbourne

524

331

424

374

384

Hastings

1,101

943

690

546

287

Lewes

365

202

106

120

125

Rother

1

437

172

127

139

Wealden

491

418

404

226

176

1 Data not reported by local authority

Homelessness: Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for housing assistance under homelessness legislation were made in (a) Winchester and (b) Hampshire in each of the last five years. (258225)

Information about local housing authorities’ actions under homelessness legislation is collected by the Department. Authorities provide data on the number of applications for housing assistance (including those by ineligible households), as well as the number of households who are accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty.

Figures are collected at local authority level. The following table shows the number of applicants who have applied for housing assistance in each local authority within the county of Hampshire (which includes Winchester).

Applications for housing assistance under homelessness legislation in local authorities within Hampshire (including ineligible households), 2003-04 to 2007-08

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Basingstoke and Deane

194

187

166

135

54

East Hampshire

480

460

259

193

80

Eastleigh

376

232

175

127

123

Fareham

443

195

177

82

68

Gosport

677

578

359

286

192

Hart

89

113

1

16

12

Havant

736

741

816

769

672

New Forest

244

134

155

188

179

Rushmoor

210

130

44

51

40

Test Valley

233

196

135

50

30

Winchester

145

71

1

47

46

Hampshire (administrative)

3,827

3,037

1

1,944

1,496

Portsmouth UA

2,040

1,467

954

470

456

Southampton UA

1,089

829

705

450

265

1 Data not reported

Homelessness: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households in York were accepted as statutorily homeless in each of the last 15 years. (257832)

Information about English local authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

A summary table which includes the total number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty in each year between 1997-98 and 2007-08, for each local authority, including York, was provided in response to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1499-1500W, and placed in the Library. Figures for York are shown in the following table:

Households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty in York local authority,1997-98 to 2007-08

Number

1997-98

280

1998-99

1

1999-2000

282

2000-01

499

2001-02

418

2002-03

409

2003-04

460

2004-05

424

2005-06

414

2006-07

213

2007-08

258

1 Denotes data not reported.

Acceptance data at local authority level prior to 1997-98 are not held electronically.

Housing: Braintree

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans have been made for the (a) provision and (b) development of affordable housing in Braintree. (255309)

Braintree district council is part of the Greater Haven Gateway sub-region which has an indicative allocation for the period 2008-11 of £76.8 million. For the period up to 31 December 2008 the homes and communities agency has allocated Braintree district council a grant of £3.49 million which will deliver 86 units for rent and 16 units for sale.

Housing: Low Incomes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to increase (a) the supply of and (b) access to affordable housing in rural areas in the North East. (257535)

The Homes and Communities Agency has been set a national target to provide 10,300 affordable homes in smaller rural communities from 2008-11 for both social rent and low cost home ownership. Grant from the £8 billion National Affordable Housing Programme is allocated through a competitive bidding process based on four main criteria: deliverability, quality, value for money and fit with national, regional and local priorities.

A number of rural communities in the North East will be supported through the Homes and Communities Agency’s investment in North East former Coalfields areas.

The Government are committed to helping the development of a viable, well managed and financially robust Community Land Trust sector. Community Land Trusts have the potential to get the weight of the community behind the development of affordable housing and bring forward land for development, particularly in rural areas. We recently published a consultation on the development of a viable Community Land Trust sector and we have received 63 responses from a wide range of stakeholders which we are currently analysing. We will publish the results in the near future.

The Homes and Communities Agency has built links with the Community Land Trust movement in the North East and aims to deliver more new rural housing through this route.

Access to social rented housing is determined by the allocations legislation. This is designed to ensure the widest possible access while ensuring that priority goes to those people who are in the greatest housing need. Access to low cost home ownership schemes funded through the Affordable Housing Programme is open to first time buyers with an annual household income of £60,000 or less who are unable to buy a home in the market.

The Prime Minister commissioned a report from the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) who has been looking at how land use and planning can better support rural business and deliver affordable housing in rural communities. His report, published in July 2008, provides a comprehensive review of the issues that our rural communities face, including access to affordable housing, and provides a number of practical recommendations. We are looking at the report in detail and will publish a full response shortly.

Housing: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of properties (a) in the private rented sector and (b) under owner occupation in each (i) region and (ii) London local authority area are deemed to be below the Decent Homes standard. (257384)

The English House Condition survey provides national estimates of the number and proportion of homes below the Decent Homes standard in each of the main tenures.

The survey can provide estimates for each tenure only by grouped regions. The number and proportion of private rented and owner occupied homes assessed to be below the Decent Homes standard by the English House Condition survey are provided for three regional groups by averaging three years of survey data (2005-06 to 2007-08) to establish reasonably robust results for each tenure in Table 1 as follows. Taking into account margins of error associated with the sample survey, the table indicates.

For the private rented sector, south east regions (London and South East regions combined) have below average proportions of non-decent homes, but there is no significant difference between other regional groups and the national average for this sector.

For the owner occupied sector, there is no significant difference between any of the regional groups and the national average for this sector.

Table 1: Number and percentage of privately rented and owner-occupied homes that are non- decent by regional group, 2006

Number (Thousand)

Percentage of regional group

Private rented

Northern regions

329

51.0

South east regions

426

40.5

Rest of England

480

49.1

All regions

1,235

46.2

Owner occupied

Northern regions

1,589

35.3

South east regions

1,480

33.0

Rest of England

2,248

34.5

All regions

5,317

34.3

Regional groups:

Northern regions include North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber; south east regions include London and South East; rest of England includes East of England, East Midlands, West Midlands and South West.

Note:

Results are based on data collected from March 2005 to April 2008. They are based on the updated definition of the Decent Homes standard which incorporates the Housing Health and Safety Rating System as its statutory criterion.

Source:

2005-06 to 2007-08 English House Condition Surveys.

Information for London local authorities is not available.

Housing: Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many bed spaces have been completed in purpose-built communal housing for students and key workers in each local planning authority area since 2004; and what assessment her Department has made of the effects of such accommodation on local housing markets. (258010)

Mobile Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many residential park homes there are on licensed park home sites in (a) St Ives constituency, (b) Cornwall and (c) England; (257357)

(2) how many licensed sites for park homes are registered in (a) St Ives constituency, (b) Cornwall and (c) England.

The Department does not routinely collect statistics on the number of park homes or the number of park home sites. However, an ad hoc survey of local authorities in England carried out in 2006 suggested the following:

Approximate number of residential park home sites

Approximate number of residential park homes

Constituency of St. Ives

30

856

Cornwall

86

4,102

England

1795

83,753

Property Development: Floods

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what analysis she plans to undertake of the 16 recent planning applications on which the Environment Agency advised against proceeding but which went ahead on flood plains under Planning Policy Statement 25; and if she will make a statement. (257332)

We continue to work closely with the Environment Agency, local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure our policies in Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25), “Development and Flood Risk”, are delivered on the ground. The Environment Agency’s latest annual ‘Development and Flood Risk’ report, produced jointly with local government, sets out how the Agency’s technical advice was taken into account in local authority planning decisions during the period April 2007 to March 2008. The report lists 16 ‘major developments’ (residential development of 10 dwellings or more, or other new building of 1,000 square meters or more) that were granted planning permission against Agency advice on flood risk. The report notes that six of the cases were in areas of high flood risk but that in eight cases the developments were located in areas with a low risk of flooding. The report sets out the Agency’s advice and how the relevant local authority responded.

Rented Housing: Regulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will establish an independent watchdog for tenants renting managed properties via letting agencies. (256848)

Last year the Government commissioned an independent review of the private rented sector from Julie Rugg and David Rhodes of the centre for housing policy in the university of York. The review reported in October 2008. As part of its proposals to improve quality and professionalism within the sector, it recommended that letting and managing agents should be subject to mandatory, independently-led regulation. Such a regime would include independent redress for consumers and policing of the sector. We are currently considering the proposals in the review with key stakeholders and will be responding formally later this year.

Rented Housing: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been spent on building and repairing (a) council and (b) housing association homes in City of York constituency in each year since the creation of the unitary authority. (257830)

The following table shows the grant funding through the Homes and Communities Agency's Affordable Housing Programme in each financial year by registered social landlords (RSLs) in the City of York local authority area on the provision of affordable housing. This includes both new build and acquisition and refurbishment. This does not include expenditure that RSLs may have invested through their own resources.

£ million

1997-98

1.28

1998-99

1.71

1999-2000

1.31

2000-01

2.50

2001-02

2.15

2002-03

1.51

2003-04

2.77

2004-05

3.29

2005-06

1.04

2006-07

1.12

2007-08

2.86

Source: Homes and Communities Agency.

RSLs as independent private organisations are responsible for the maintenance of their properties. Information on the spend by RSLs on maintenance of their stock in the City of York local authority is not held centrally.

Data on the cost of building council homes are not collected but no new council homes have built in the City of York since 1996. Capital spend on council housing stock is captured from the Business Plan Statistical Appendix. These data have been collected only since 2001.

Capital expenditure on Housing Revenue Account stock in the City of York

£000

2001-02

4,318

2002-03

4,364

2003-04

5,491

2004-05

5,683

2005-06

5,981

2006-07

7,332

2007-08

6,378

Total since 2001

39,547

Rents: Wimbledon

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the change in rental rates for (a) business and (b) council tenants in Wimbledon constituency arising from her Department's decisions on the rental increase formula for 2008-09. (256617)

No estimate has been made. Local authority rents are set by the councils themselves, not central Government. We do not estimate rent increases that might be made by individual councils.

The guideline rent formula used in the housing revenue account subsidy determination does not impact upon business rents.

Rough Sleepers: Eastbourne

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many rough sleepers there were estimated to be in Eastbourne in each year since 1990. (257094)

Annual rough sleeping figures for Eastbourne have been collected since 1998. The figures are based on local authority street counts and estimates where a street count did not take place.

Rough sleepers in Eastbourne

Number

1998

11

1999

3

2000

1

2001

0

2002

0

2003

0

2004

3

2005

3

2006

6

2007

6

2008

0

Rough Sleepers: Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many rough sleepers there were estimated to be in Winchester in each of the last five years. (258226)

Annual rough sleeping figures are based on local authority street counts and estimates where a street count did not take place.

Number of rough sleepers in Winchester:

Number

2004

1

2005

0

2006

0

2007

0

2008

0

Social Rented Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many social housing tenants received payments under cash incentive schemes in each (a) English region and (b) London local authority area in each year since 1990. (257383)

The Department for Communities and Local Government collects information from local authorities on cash incentive schemes intended to support social tenants who wish to buy property in the private sector, releasing social housing for other households in need. Figures are only available from 1997-98 onwards.

The total number of grants given in each English region is provided in the following table.

Total number of cash incentive scheme grants

Region

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

North East

71

17

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

North West

474

256

15

126

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Yorkshire and the Humber

130

100

18

6

3

0

1

0

12

8

8

East Midlands

283

280

177

12

3

6

5

0

2

15

6

West Midlands

389

222

52

35

83

34

29

27

31

27

7

East of England

483

297

120

89

91

53

89

57

55

77

50

London

2105

1418

630

403

382

386

425

345

365

373

493

South East

611

376

195

95

65

53

30

16

34

17

22

South West

346

292

94

61

43

39

32

30

58

63

30

ENGLAND

4892

3258

1301

827

670

571

611

475

557

580

616

Source:

HSSA (2001-02-present), HIP Annual Plan (1997-98-2000-01) as reported by local authorities

The total number of grants given in each London local authority is provided in the following table.

Total number of cash incentive scheme grants

London local authority

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Barking and Dagenham

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Barnet

53

34

23

31

32

36

33

30

30

18

21

Bexley

17

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Brent

68

46

0

0

0

31

32

11

0

0

0

Bromley

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Camden

28

15

10

50

33

20

13

19

14

9

3

City of London

13

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

4

0

Croydon

162

156

135

44

49

48

46

27

48

51

43

Ealing

95

48

3

0

0

0

36

13

31

10

1

Enfield

91

68

53

41

49

31

37

21

46

28

28

Greenwich

74

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Hackney

158

105

0

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

241

Hammersmith and Fulham

50

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

Haringey

84

68

16

25

18

21

28

24

0

18

0

Harrow

45

22

14

10

1

0

0

23

30

32

16

Havering

35

18

132

4

12

9

0

0

0

0

0

Hillingdon

52

31

36

20

16

19

21

9

12

12

3

Hounslow

89

45

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Islington

96

79

0

0

7

9

1

0

0

0

0

Kensington and Chelsea

28

9

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kingston upon Thames

29

24

18

14

16

17

8

8

11

15

19

Lambeth

0

25

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

24

Lewisham

31

13

0

13

34

27

35

24

29

34

15

Merton

42

21

9

10

9

9

6

7

0

0

0

Newham

113

73

22

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Redbridge

14

10

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Richmond upon Thames

70

57

24

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Southwark

224

171

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sutton

38

12

9

7

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tower Hamlets

118

84

46

36

36

56

71

62

56

27

14

Waltham Forest

52

43

23

21

19

6

9

8

5

4

0

Wandsworth

88

86

38

42

35

32

35

42

32

31

30

Westminster

48

32

16

23

15

15

14

16

17

80

26

LONDON

2105

1418

630

403

382

386

425

345

365

373

493

Source:

HSSA (2001-02-present), HIP Annual Plan (1997-98-2000-01) as reported by local authorities

No figures are collected centrally on schemes providing incentives for social tenants to move to smaller socially-rented properties.

Social Rented Housing: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of social housing in (a) London, (b) Birmingham, (c) Liverpool, (d) Leeds, (e) Sheffield, (f) Bristol, (g) Manchester, (h) Leicester, (i) Coventry, (j) Kingston upon Hull, (k) Bradford, (l) Stoke-on-Trent, (m) Wolverhampton, (n) Nottingham, (o) Plymouth, (p) Southampton, (q) Reading, (r) Derby, (s) Dudley and (t) Newcastle upon Tyne (i) met the decent home standard (A) in December 2007 and (B) in December 2008 and (ii) is expected to meet the standard by 2010. (249779)

The following table provides the information requested. This is drawn from the Business Plan Statistical Appendix—Annual Monitoring data from Local Authorities for 2007-08 published by CLG last month. The RSL data is from the Regulatory Statistical Return (RSR) for 2007-08 published by the Housing Corporation (now Tenant Services Authority) last autumn.

Percentage of Social Housing meeting the Decent Homes Standard

Local authorities

RSLs

2007

2008

2010

2007

2008

Birmingham

65

78

100

90

93

Bradford

1

1

1

84

89

Bristol

86

88

97

90

92

Coventry

1

1

1

94

95

Derby

99

100

100

84

90

Dudley

83

86

97

98

99

Kingston-upon-Hull

35

50

81

97

95

Leeds

65

68

98

92

94

Leicester

85

91

97

92

92

Liverpool

1

1

1

86

77

London

65

69

83

89

90

Manchester

32

46

81

82

81

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

10

30

74

92

93

Nottingham

65

69

69

92

95

Plymouth2

50

44

15

95

90

Reading

88

91

97

92

96

Sheffield

48

66

92

85

80

Southampton

75

81

96

94

98

Stoke-on-Trent

75

78

93

94

96

Wolverhampton

43

55

73

91

95

1 No current stock.

2 Housing transfer to new RSL November 2009.

Decent Homes forecasts by local authority for registered social landlords’ property is not available.

Social Rented Housing: Sustainable Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many social rented homes she expects to be built in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010; and to what level under the Code for Sustainable Homes she expects such homes to be built. (257533)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 20 January 2009, Official Report, columns 1278-79W, to the hon. Member for Solihull (Lorely Burt).

Standards of Living

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the 10 per cent. (a) most and (b) least deprived lower level super output areas are in (i) London and (ii) Sutton and Cheam constituency. (257174)

A table that lists the most deprived 10 per cent. and the least deprived 10 per cent. Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in London has been placed in the Library of the House. This table also lists the 10 per cent. most and least deprived LSOAs in the parliamentary constituency of Sutton and Cheam.

Supporting People Programme: Learning Disability

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to her answers of 2 April 2008, Official Report, column 1902W, on supporting people programme: learning disability, and 3 April 2008, Official Report, column 1306W, on learning disability: adults, what proportion of the supporting people budget has been allocated to people with learning disabilities in each of the last five years. (257502)

The Supporting People programme is administered at the local level by the relevant administering authority. It is for the authority to decide which services to fund, informed by the local needs and priorities identified in their five year Supporting People Strategies. The following table sets out the amount spent on Supporting People services for people with a learning disability, as reported to the Department by administering authorities. It will not identify all funding spent on people with a learning disability who access Supporting People services: some may have a different service classification (for example, people with a learning disability may access support from Supporting People services that help them move on from domestic violence or homelessness).

Spend reported on services for people with a learning disability (£)

Proportion of the total reported spend (percentage)

2003-04

426,362,116

23.5

2004-05

396,596,732

23.4

2005-06

388,760,777

23.1

2006-07

367,435,288

22.4

2007-08

346,626,291

21.3

Theology Board of Muslim Scholars

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who has been appointed to the Theology Board of Muslim Scholars; how many workshops the board has held; and when she expects the Board to publish its recommendations to the Government. (256965)

This initiative is now called the ‘Contextualising Islam in Britain’ project. Cambridge university, with participation from the universities of Exeter, Glasgow and Westminster are hosting a series of independent symposia to engage in academic debate and discussion about Islam in a British context. As the project is being delivered through a series of seminars, contributors are being invited by Cambridge according to their specific expertise and views. There are no formal appointments being made, and it is for Cambridge university to decide on who should contribute to the symposia.

The discussions and debates hosted by Cambridge will be captured in a report and published by Cambridge university in summer 2009.

Travelling People

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Shipley of 22 February 2008, Official Report, column 1098W, on Travelling people, what (a) financial and (b) other support her Department has given to developing services for Gypsies and Travellers in each year since 2005. (258059)

The Department for Communities and Local Government has given no financial or logistical support to an annual conference called Developing Services for Gypsies and Travellers. An annual conference on this topic is arranged by the private sector and Ministers and officials have supported it by attending as speakers.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate his Department has made of the potential taxpayer liability for (a) fines disallowance and (b) other penalties as a result of late payment under the single farm payment scheme and other precursor common agricultural schemes since 1997; (241252)

(2) what (a) fines, (b) disallowance and (c) other penalties the Government has incurred as a result of late payments under the single payment scheme and other precursor common agricultural schemes since 1997; and from which budget each penalty was paid.

DEFRA financial corrections incurred as a result of late payments on the single payment and other common agricultural policy schemes have been £144.8 million since 1999. This is based on EU Commission Ad Hoc Decisions from February 1999 to November 2008.

To analyse the data prior to February 1999 would involve a disproportionate cost.

These corrections have been met from a separate ring fenced disallowance budget.

It is not possible at this stage to say what further decisions may be published this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent steps the Government has taken to assist arable farmers; (256933)

(2) what recent steps the Government has taken to assist livestock farmers.