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Railtrack

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress made to establish a company limited by guarantee to bid for ownership of Railtrack and its assets, indicating by what date he expects the new company to be fully legally operational. [26292]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North and Leith (Mr. Lazarowicz) on 9 January 2002, Official Report, column 859W.

New Deal for Communities

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much new deal for communities funding has been earmarked for expenditure on (a) building new homes and (b) repairing and improving existing stock in each of the new deal for communities areas. [25922]

Ms Keeble: The information is not available in the requested form.

The 39 NDC partnerships have been allocated a total of £2 billion over the next 10 years. All partnerships have proposals to build and improve housing stock within their neighbourhoods. As part of the NDC Evaluation Programme and reprofiling exercise, partnerships are currently reviewing their delivery plans with the aim of ensuring that their programmes will achieve the desired outcomes. It is therefore not the best time to collect this data from NDC partnerships in the form requested.

Planning Conditions

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what procedures he operates to check that conditions attached to planning appeal decisions are carried out; and if he will make a statement. [25968]

Ms Keeble: Responsibility for checking that planning conditions are complied with rests with the relevant local planning authority. They have powers to enforce their compliance.

Homelessness

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the assistance given to the homeless who are trying to get a permanent home; and what new measures have been introduced since 1997. [26632]

Ms Keeble: Local authorities have a duty to provide appropriate advice and assistance to anyone who is homeless. In addition, there are provisions in the Homelessness Bill to ensure that each local authority formulates and publishes a homelessness strategy. This will help ensure that accommodation will be available for people who are, or may become homeless, as well as helping to prevent homelessness in the first place.

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Assistance is also provided for former rough sleepers in England through the work of the Rough Sleepers Unit. The RSU is ensuring that a further 1,000 permanent homes are available for former rough sleepers, bringing the total to more than 4,500. Most of these homes have already been provided with the remainder becoming available by late 2002.

The RSU's strategy has also ensured that services have been developed to support individuals through the transition to permanent housing. The unit funds services which:





I am also very concerned about the rising number of homeless households being placed in bed and breakfast accommodation. We have now established a Bed and Breakfast Unit which will shortly be announcing targets to reduce numbers placed in B&B over the next two years.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what help is available to homeless people who have mental health problems and other health difficulties. [26630]

Ms Keeble: Local authorities have duties towards homeless people with mental health problems and other health difficulties under the Housing Act 1996. Under Part 6, reasonable preference must be given in the allocation of social housing to households who need settled accommodation on medical or welfare grounds. Under Part 7 of the Act, a local housing authority must secure accommodation for a person who is unintentionally homeless and vulnerable through mental illness or handicap or physical disability.

The Supporting People programme, which comes onstream on 1 April 2003, will provide housing-related support to vulnerable groups, including homeless people with mental health problems and other health difficulties.

The programme will provide support, with resettlement and rehabilitation, and will also help them to maintain tenancies, and prevent a recurrence of homelessness.

Supporting People will be based on partnership working, and the programme will be planned and delivered in collaboration with local health and social care agencies. Through Supporting People, service users with additional needs will be helped to access other specialist services.

The Rough Sleepers Unit (RSU), working closely with the Department of Health, funds services in England to help rough sleepers with mental health and substance misuse problems. These include specialist workers operating across all RSU funded services, and a range of hostels, specialist beds and permanent homes targeting those with mental health and substance misuse problems.

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All homeless people, including rough sleepers, are eligible to access health care and advice and register with a GP. The Department of Health has also funded Personal Medical Services (PMS) pilots, some of which are targeted specifically towards homeless people.

The National Service Framework for Mental Health (NSF) is a 10-year programme spelling out national standards for mental health, what they aim to achieve, how they should be developed and delivered and how to measure performance. The standards in the NSF apply equally to the homeless. Specifically, Standard 1 relating to Health Promotion identifies rough sleepers as a "vulnerable" population.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will investigate the problem of homelessness in rural areas with specific reference to the single homeless. [27131]

Ms Keeble: The Countryside Agency is planning to publish research on preventing homelessness in rural areas in the next few months. This research investigated homelessness in rural areas including single homelessness and will provide good practice on what works in preventing homelessness and the delivery of services to homeless people in rural areas.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the levels of homelessness were in rural areas in each of the last five years, broken down by district. [27132]

Ms Keeble: I have placed the information requested in the Libraries of the House.

Vehicle Emissions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what regulations are in place to control vehicle emissions; and what measures there are to enforce them. [25933]

Mr. Spellar: Separate sets of regulations to control vehicle emissions exist for new vehicles and for vehicles after sale.

Statutory regulations specify the standard to which new model types must be constructed before vehicles can enter service. These regulations apply European directives which specify emissions limits and detailed test procedures. The relevant regulations are the Motor Vehicles (EC Type Approval) Regulations 1998, the Motor Vehicles (Type Approval) (Great Britain) Regulations 1984, the Motor Vehicles (Type Approval for Goods Vehicles) Regulations 1982, and the Motor Cycles Etc (EC Type Approval) Regulations 1999, as amended. These are enforced by the Vehicle Certification Agency.

The Motor Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2001 apply similar standards to those of type approval mainly for small numbers of imported cars and light goods vehicles (new or used) that are not type-approved at the manufacturing stage and these are enforced by the Vehicle Inspectorate Executive Agency (V.I.). Other vehicles not subject to type, or single vehicle, approval are regulated under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (C&U).

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When in use vehicles must comply with emissions standards specified in the C&U Regulations. Compliance with C&U is assessed during a vehicle's annual roadworthiness inspection. In the case of heavy vehicles this is carried out by the V.I. and for passenger cars and light vans by privately operated (M.O.T) test centres under the supervision of the V.I. Roadside spot checks are also carried out by the V.I. and by local authorities.

Local Authority Asset Sales

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what amount of asset sales have been realised (a) by each local authority and (b) in total by local authorities in each of the last three years; [26143]

Dr. Whitehead: The total value of the sale of local authority fixed assets in England in each of the last four years is as follows:

Sale of fixed assets

£ million
1997–982,135
1998–992,350
1999–20003,227
2000–013,107

Source:

Capital Outturn Return (COR2) for 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, Capital Payments and Receipts (CPR4) for 2000–01


I am placing in the Libraries of the House the corresponding figures for individual local authorities in England for each of the relevant four years.


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