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7 Nov 2002 : Column 632W—continued

Housing (Overcrowding)

Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what legislation is in force relating to overcrowding standards in housing; and when each provision came into force. [80092]

Mr. McNulty: The current overcrowding standards are set out in Part X of the Housing Act 1985. The Room Standard is breached if two people of opposite sexes who are not living together as husband and wife must sleep in the same room. The Space Standard specifies the number of people who may sleep in a dwelling according to the number of rooms and their floor area. Both standards must be met. The 1985 Act is a consolidating Act. The standards were carried forward from the Housing Act 1957, which itself consolidates those which had originated in the Housing Act 1935.

In respect of houses in multiple occupation, local authorities also have powers under section 358 of the 1985 Act to serve an overcrowding notice where they are satisfied that there are, or there may become, an excessive number of people living in a property having regard to the number of rooms available. Such notice must specify the number of people who can occupy the property. Contravention of the notice is a criminal offence.

Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 284W, on overcrowding, if it is his policy (a) to end the practice of counting living rooms as rooms available to sleep in, (b) to end the practice of not counting babies under the age of one and (c) to lower the age at which males and females should no longer be expected to have to sleep in the same room for the purposes of determining overcrowding. [80093]

Mr. McNulty: We are considering whether overcrowding is best tackled through a modern set of standards—updating the present legislative framework—or through the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which we hope to introduce as a replacement for the housing fitness standard when Parliamentary time allows. It will be possible to assess and tackle hazards from crowding and

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space under HHSRS, but we would need to be satisfied that the problem is one that can be dealt with through this process alone.

Local Authority Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of spending by (a) Hampshire County Council, (b) Fareham Borough Council, (c) English county councils and (d) English district councils is to be financed by council tax payers in 2002–03. [80303]

Mr. Raynsford: Local authorities budgeted to finance the following percentages of revenue expenditure from the council tax in the year 2002–03:

Income from council tax as a percentage (%) of spending
Hampshire County Council33
Fareham Borough Council41
English County Councils32
English District Councils40

Source:

2002–03 Budget Estimate (RA) Return


Public Consultations

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what public consultations have been commenced by his Department in each month since 10 September; and what the (a) start date, (b) closing date and (c) website address of each were. [80279]

Mr. Leslie: Full details and the texts of public consultation exercises launched by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister since 10 September 2002 are set out on our website (www.odpm.gov.uk) in the section entitled ''What's New''.

Supporting People Programme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the impact of the introduction of Supporting People; and whether a community care assessment will be required for residents living in a leasehold sheltered housing scheme in order for its Department to meet the costs of its scheme manager and allied arrangements attributed as ''having related support'' as part of their income support. [80019]

Mr. McNulty: The Supporting People programme, which will be operational from 1 April 2003, will improve the quality of housing related support services for vulnerable people. It will provide an integrated policy and funding framework for the comprehensive review of support needs in a local area and for planning how those needs will be met.

Those leaseholders in sheltered housing schemes who currently receive Income Support need to obtain a community care assessment in order for the costs of support to continue to be met. After 1 April, these costs will be paid from the Supporting People grant. Those people who receive Income Support and who move into leasehold housing schemes after 1 April will not need a community care assessment in order to receive Supporting People money. Local authorities are currently mapping providers of support services and,

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after 1 April, leaseholders will be eligible for Supporting People money if they receive Income Support and are living in a scheme that has been mapped by local authorities as providing support services.

Guidance on how the Supporting People programme will apply to leaseholders was published in September and is available on the Supporting People knowledge web at: http://www.spkweb.org.uk/search/search—docdisplay.asp?doc—id=10996

Urban Regeneration

Mr. Flight: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to encourage urban regeneration. [80381]

Mr. McNulty: The Government's policies for urban regeneration were set out in the Urban White Paper ''Our Towns and Cities: the Future—Delivering an urban renaissance'' which was published in November 2000. Significant achievements have been made since then. My right Hon. Friend hosted an Urban Summit in Birmingham on 31 October and 1 November to review progress and identify what more needs to be done. Key messages from the Summit will be fed into the long term plan for sustainable communities which the Deputy Prime Minister will announce to the House in January 2003.

Mr. Flight: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many of the recommendations by Lord Rogers of Riverside's Urban Task Force have been implemented. [80380]

Mr. McNulty: The Government have endorsed the principles behind all of the recommendations in Lord Roger's report and in the majority of cases have accepted them in full or in part. Our response to each recommendation was set out in the Annexe to the Urban White Paper XOur Towns and Cities: the Future—Delivering an urban renaissance" which was published in November 2000. Significant progress has been made in delivering the measures laid out in the Urban White Paper. An Implementation Plan is available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website.

Fly Tipping

Mr. Love: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost of fly tipping to local authorities in (a) Greater London and (b) England and Wales in each of the last five years. [78084]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply

The Government do not hold any central data on the cost of fly tipping to local authorities. However, the Institute of Public Finance has produced a report entitled XWaste Collection and Disposal Statistics 2000–01 Actuals". The report states that in 2000–01, fly tipping resulted in costs to the waste collection authorities of #3,859,000 in the London Boroughs, #1,178,000 in the Metropolitan Districts and #3,941,000 in the Non Metropolitan Districts.

This report is available on the internet at: http://www.ipf.co.uk/sis/environmental/wastemanagement/2000–01/commentary.pdf.

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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Moscow Theatre Siege

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to establish whether the gas used by the Russian Government to end the Moscow theatre siege contained neuro-paralytic agents. [78567]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 4 November 2002.

EU Documents (Security)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions there have been breaches of security with respect to security covered EU documents in the last three years. [78123]

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Mr. Macshane: I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Consular Assistance (Tourist Resorts)

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many requests have been received for consular assistance during the last 12 months in (a) Tenerife, (b) Corfu, (c) Majorca, (d) Benidorm, (e) Malaga and (f) Ibiza; how many of these were as a result of UK visitors being arrested by the police; and, of those arrested, how many have led to court appearances. [76309]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The number of registered requests requiring consular assistance during the last 12 months are set out below. However, some consular work involves providing various types of routine information to British nationals. These requests are not always recorded.

Consular Assistance Requests Oct 2001—Sept 2002

Consular AssistanceDetentionsNotes
a) Tenerife4000303The Consulate receives more than 10,000 visitors per year.
b) Corfu110048The Consulate receives more than 3,300 calls per year.
c) Majorca1800197
d) Alicante1100302The Consulate receives 6,000 written enquiries each year.
Benidorm does not keep separate statistics: requests for assistance are channelled through the Consulate in Alicante, which requests the assistance of the Honorary Vice-Consul in Benidorm as required.
e) Malaga1150240The Consulate receives 27,000 written enquiries each year.
Figures for Malaga include Cadiz, Seville and Granada.
f) Ibiza3000135The Consulate receives 3,000 written enquiries each year.

We do not keep statistics on court appearances.



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