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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2006, Official Report, column 1834W, on the departmental staff survey, when he will place in the Library a copy of the narrative report. 
Yvette Cooper: Information on the number of domestic properties placed on the market for sale is not collected centrally. However information on the number of properties so!4 since 1996 is available from the Land Registry and published on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website at:
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will take steps to ensure that the money allocated to local authorities to cover the cost of the free bus travel policy announced in the Budget is spent solely for that purpose. 
Mr. Woolas: Government funding for the cost of free bus travel, as for many other services provided by local authorities, is distributed through the unhypothecated formula grant. This enables councils to take their own decisions on local funding priorities, accountable to local people. The Government are considering the implementation of the national scheme for free bus travel, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the whole issue of the efficiency and effectiveness of current arrangements for bus travel, in the context of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of choice-based housing lettings policy by local authorities; if he will provide additional guidance on how councils should determine between housing choice and need in their allocation schemes; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: An independent evaluation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister-funded choice-based lettings (CBL) pilot scheme was carried out and a report published in May 2004. The evaluation report showed that the pilots were successful in offering increased choice to social housing applicants and that applicants largely welcomed the move to CBL, feeling that it gave them greater choice and control and increased the transparency of the lettings process. Local authorities were also very positive about their experience of CBL. In order to build on the evaluation and assess the longer term impacts of CBL, ODPM has commissioned Heriot Watt University to undertake further research which is currently underway and scheduled to complete by summer 2006.
ODPM is committed to producing statutory guidance to local authorities on choice based lettings. This will include advice on how to frame a CBL scheme which offers applicants a choice of accommodation while continuing to meet the statutory obligation to ensure that priority for social housing goes to those in greater housing need. The guidance will also be issued for consultation later this year.
Mr. Woolas: When the Government introduced new powers for local authorities to reduce the council tax discount on long term empty homes in 2003 we concluded that, to ensure that any decision to reduce the discount was made on housing grounds not for financial reasons, the additional resources raised should be distributed nationally. We have no plans to change the current arrangements.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authorities have used the discretionary powers contained in the Local Government Act 2003 to abolish the council tax discount on (a) second homes and (b) empty homes. 
These figures are generated using the CTB1(S) form, which was completed by 353 billing authorities (that is, all authorities with the single exception of Wandsworth, which has therefore been excluded from the figures).
|City of London||85,052||86,929||88,806||92,503||101,051||116,301||121,278||125,061|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||148,850||159,107||168,927||180,845||190,898||213,397||223,648||230,169|
|Kensington and Chelsea||120,870||127,582||136,376||142,022||152,609||175,652||176,988||184,014|
|Barking and Dagenham||136,439||153,355||168,827||181,277||193,347||223,681||223,364||237,538|
|Kingston upon Thames||75,483||80,037||86,752||94,245||96,829||109,459||115,155||124,820|
|Richmond upon Thames||75,758||81,937||94,629||100,260||106,081||116,903||118,025||122,849|
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