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Ms Keeble: The scheme for 100 per cent. capital allowances for flats over shops was introduced in the Budget. Spending on the renovation or conversion of vacant or under-used space above shops or other qualifying commercial premises, to provide flats for rent, can qualify under the scheme from 11 May 2001.
Information about the amount of spending qualifying under the measure will not be available until 2003, when property owners and occupiers who have incurred expenditure have sent in their tax returns for the first tax year in which the scheme has been in operation.
9 Nov 2001 : Column: 460W
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many children were made homeless in (a) 1997 and (b) 2001 to date; and what proposals the Government have to counter this problem. 
Ms Keeble: Summary information on activity under statutory homelessness provisions is reported to the Department by local authorities in England. This includes the number of households accepted under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts as being eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and identifies those households containing dependent children.
|Total households accepted||102,410||59,530|
|of which containing dependent children||58,780||33,800|
|Estimated number(9) of dependent children||105,000||58,000|
(8) January to June
(9) Rounded estimatesprecise data are not collected
DTLR Quarterly P1(E) housing activity returns
9 Nov 2001 : Column: 461W
Under the Children Act 1989, social services have a duty to assist any child under 16 who is in need. Monitoring by the rough sleepers unit by outreach workers shows there are very few under 18-year-olds sleeping rough. Children under 16 found on the streets by agencies, including police or homelessness workers, are helped from the streets and referred to social services. The social exclusion unit is currently leading an exercise looking at improving services available to young runaways.
Homeless acceptances represent households in need who are helped by local authorities into accommodation. The provisions of the Homelessness Bill will require housing authorities to take a more strategic, multi-agency approach to the prevention of homelessness and the rehousing of homeless households; ensure that everyone accepted by housing authorities as unintentionally homeless and in priority need must be provided with suitable accommodation until they obtain a settled housing solution; and allow housing authorities greater flexibility to assist non-priority homeless households, principally through a new power for housing authorities to secure accommodation for such households where they have the scope to do so.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when the Government will publish (a) a response to the homelessness consultation, (b) the Vulnerable Groups (Definition) Guidelines, (c) proposals to deal with rogue landlords in the social housing sector, (d) proposals to license houses in multiple occupation, (e) proposals on the future of the Rough Sleepers Unit and (f) new regulations to extend the right to priority temporary social housing to those with an institutionalised background. 
Ms Keeble: The Government have recently consulted on proposals for a national strategy to tackle homelessness. A summary of responses will be placed on the DTLR internet site on 7 December. The consultation responses are being considered and the Government will announce their response in due course.
We have consulted on a draft order which would extend the groups of people who have a priority need for housing, under the homelessness legislation. This includes applicants who the local authority are satisfied are vulnerable as a result of an institutionalised background. We are considering the public consultation responses to the order, and will take decisions on implementation shortly. Guidance relating to the priority needs categories will be issued alongside the order.
9 Nov 2001 : Column: 462W
I believe that the hon. Member has in mind our proposals on dealing with unsatisfactory private landlords, rather than landlords in the social sector. We published on 20 October a consultation paper on selective licensing of private landlords.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent research has been carried out by his Department on the causes of homelessness in relation to (a) violence in the home and (b) drug abuse. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many planning decisions the Secretary of State called in from local planning authorities, and in what categories, during the last year. 
|Type of development||Number of applications called-in|
|Community, health and education||3|
|Recreation and leisure||14|
|Offices and studios||1|
|Transport, utilities and communication||12|
|Wholesale, storage and distribution||3|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many (a) planning appeals before the Planning Inspectorate and (b) planning appeals being considered by the Secretary of State there were in (i) June 1997 and (ii) June 2001; and what was the average length of time taken to determine them in each case. 
|Planning Inspectorate||Appeals received|
Target 199798: issue 80 per cent. of appeals decisions within 20 weeks for written representations, 33 weeks for hearings, 44 weeks for inquiries. The Inspectorate's performance for each was 21, 40 and 52 weeks respectively.
9 Nov 2001 : Column: 463W
Target 200001: issue 80 per cent. of decisions within 17 weeks for written representations, 23 weeks for hearings, 33 weeks for inquiries. The Inspectorate's performance against appeals targets for each was 17, 21 and 31 weeks respectively.
|Secretary of State||Appeals recovered|
Target 199798: issue 80 per cent. of decisions within eight weeks and 100 per cent. within 13 weeks from receipt of Inspector's report. Performance: 51 per cent. in eight weeks and 76 per cent. in 13 weeks.
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