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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of four bedroom properties likely to be placed for sale on the housing market between 1 August and 31 December 2007; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many owner occupiers in each of the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders in England have had their properties demolished and are now in a new home with greater mortgage or loan costs than before. 
Since the Housing Market Renewal programme began, over 38,000 properties have been refurbished and approximately 9,000 demolished. The Pathfinders operate a wide range of loan and grant schemes to support those who relocate.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what resources have been provided for the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit to deliver its mission; how many staff are employed in the unit; whether there are any plans to expand the units staffing; and what assessment she has made of the unit's performance to date. 
Yvette Cooper: The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit was established on 7 November 2006 and became fully operational in March. An expert board of six members is steering the work programme of a small technical unit of 12, which includes Economists, Planners and Statisticians. There are no current plans to alter this staffing arrangement.
The Units first publication, Affordability Matters, was released as part of the Units official launch on
7 June 2007. This document is welcomed by government, and provides compelling evidence of the need to increase housing supply to address affordability problems across the country.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether Ministers agreed the target of 25 per cent. of new affordable homes for the Strategic Commission areas in West Newcastle set by the Newcastle Gateshead Pathfinder. 
Yvette Cooper: No. Decisions on detailed affordability targets for specific areas within a pathfinder are taken locally, and are agreed by the relevant local authority, in this case Newcastle city council.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to increase the effectiveness of the housing private finance initiative programme. 
Yvette Cooper: Since the early Pathfinder schemes were accepted onto the Housing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) Programme, the Department has made a number of changes, both to regulations and in respect of internal resourcing, to increase the effectiveness of the programme.
We have made two legislative changes, one to allow the sub-contracting of housing management functions and the other to provide new financial freedoms to build new social housing in Housing Revenue Account PFI schemes.
We have improved the guidance and tools available for PFI by publishing the Housing PFI Procurement Pack and issuing a new housing PFI financial model, increasing certainty about costings and affordability and streamlining the data required from authorities. In addition, more emphasis is now placed on improving the scoping and costings of proposals at an early stage.
We have also established a departmental Central Private Finance Unit (CPFU) to strengthen PFI governance, ensure consistency in programme management and provide commercial and management advice and support to PFI policy teams.
We are in the process of reviewing the costs of new build housing PFI schemes and we are currently undertaking further work with a number of local authorities and the Housing Corporation on new build costs.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the outstanding arrears of rent on council-owned (a) residential and (b) commercial property are in each London borough. 
Yvette Cooper: The outstanding arrears of rent on council-owned residential property in each London borough are available in the following table. This information for council-owned commercial property is not collected centrally.
|Outstanding arrears of rent on council-owed residential property in each London borough, as reported by local authorities|
| All or most of the local authority stock has been transferred to the registered social landlord sector, so the rent arrears is no longer applicable.|
n/a = Data not provided by the London borough of Sutton.
Communities and Local Government Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Subsidy Form, 2nd Advance.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will provide financial or other resource support to members of the public and voluntary stakeholder groups to participate in the consultation on draft national policy statements on infrastructural planning. 
Yvette Cooper: Paragraph 1.44 of the White Paper, Planning for a Sustainable Future (cm 7120) states that, alongside the introduction of the new infrastructure planning system, the Government intend to increase grant funding for bodies such as Planning Aid to ensure members of the public get the advice and support they need to get involved on site-specific proposals in national policy statements, and in the planning inquiries on major infrastructure projects.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) Gershon Review and (b) annual efficiency savings were set for local authorities in each year since their introduction. 
Mr. Woolas: The Gershon Review identified scope for 2.5 per cent. per annum efficiency gains in local government during the 2004 Spending Review period, and this figure was adopted by the Government as a target for every local authority. This equated to £1 billion of new efficiency gains from councils in each year. At least half of these gains had to be cashable, i.e. release cash that could be reallocated by councils to meet local priorities. The Gershon Review set no targets for headcount reduction in local authorities.
Councils reported that they achieved £1.2 billion of new efficiency gains during 2005-06, of which £0.9 billion were cashable. They are due to report on the new gains achieved during 2006-07 in the summer. Information on the efficiency targets for individual councils, and the gains they have achieved so far, is available on the Departments website at:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department is planning to produce a formal response to the Lyons inquiry; and what the timetable is for considering the report's recommendations. 
Ruth Kelly: Sir Michael Lyons' work played a major contribution in the development of the Local Government White Paper, which is being implemented through the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill. His report and recommendations will continue to inform the development of Government policy.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if the Government will provide additional financial assistance to central London local authorities with large numbers of arrivals from A8 nations. 
Mr. Woolas: The Government have made available over £600,000 to central London local authorities in recognition of the pressures on their homelessness services caused by A8 nationals. In particular to support work to tackle rough sleeping.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has received recommending local government restructuring in Greater London in the last 12 months. 
Ruth Kelly: Local authority pension funds in England and Wales underwent an actuarial valuation of their funds from 31 March 2007, as required by the Schemes regulations. The outcome for each fund will not be known until later in the current financial year. Details of individual fund valuation results may be requested directly from each local authority who has responsibility for a pension fund.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the Treasurys estimate was in 1997 of the financial cost to the Local Government Pension Scheme per year of abolishing tax credits on dividends; 
(2) what estimate she has made of the gross financial cost to the Local Government Pension Scheme in (a) England and (b) Wales of the effect of the abolition of dividend tax credits in each year since 1999-2000. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account was taken of the local election purdah period in setting the timetable for the consultation on local government restructuring; and what guidance has been produced for local authorities on statements that may be made on such restructuring during the purdah period. 
Ruth Kelly: In deciding the consultation period, the Secretary of State had regard to the date of the local elections. The code of practice on local authority publicity makes it clear that local authorities should not at any time use public funds to mount publicity campaigns whose primary purpose is to persuade the public to hold a particular view on a question of policy, and that authorities must take particular care when publicity is issued immediately prior to an election. In particular, where publicity is used to comment on the proposals or policies of central Government or other local authorities the content should be objective, balanced, informative and accurate.
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