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9 Jan 2008 : Column 546W—continued


Racially Aggravated Offences

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of crimes recorded as racially motivated were perpetrated against asylum seekers in the last (a) year, (b) five years and (c) 10 years. [177042]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not available centrally. The Home Office collects and publishes data on the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police. However, no information is collected on the status of the victims of these crimes.

Communities and Local Government

Casinos: Planning Permission

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 556-7W, on casinos: planning permission, if she will place in the Library a copy of the Planning Inspectorate ruling for each of the eight appeals. [176260]

Mr. Iain Wright: Copies of the Planning Inspectors’ decisions, referred to in the answer given to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 556-7W, have been placed in the Library of the House.

Council Housing: Sales

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of income from the sale of council accommodation was used for the development of new council (a) housing and (b) affordable housing in each London borough in 2006-07. [168057]

Mr. Iain Wright: We hold no data which separately identify how the receipts from council house sales are used. Receipts from housing-related asset sales, including from right to buy, are subject to a ‘pooling’ regime whereby a proportion of the receipts come to central Government and a proportion is retained by the local authority. The proportion that comes to central Government is 75 per cent. for a dwelling or 50 per cent. for a non-dwelling asset such as housing land. The local authority is free to use the remaining 25 per cent. and 50 per cent. respectively for any capital purpose it sees fit, including the development of new council housing and affordable housing.

Audited data are currently only available for 2005-06, when pooled capital receipts in London totalled £319 million. Housing Corporation spend through the Affordable Housing Programme on affordable housing in London was £714.5 million for that financial year. Local authorities may also spend their own capital resources on provision of affordable housing, but separate figures are not available for this.

The following table shows Housing Corporation spend on the provision of new affordable housing for both social rented and low cost home ownership in London. The spend includes both new build and acquisition and refurbishment. It excludes spend on works (repairs/improvements) to existing registered social landlord stock.


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London borough Total (£ million)

City of London

2.5

Barking and Dagenham

12.9

Barnet

21.5

Bexley

13.5

Brent

24.3

Bromley

19.2

Camden

17.9

Croydon

34.5

Ealing

28.6

Enfield

24.2

Greenwich

22.1

Hackney

34.1

Hammersmith and Fulham

21.5

Haringey

26.6

Harrow

9.0

Havering

10.3

Hillingdon

17.1

Hounslow

30.9

Islington

25.3

Kensington and Chelsea

6.7

Kingston upon Thames

10.9

Lambeth

45.7

Lewisham

20.9

Merton

9.2

Newham

39.4

Redbridge

12.2

Richmond upon Thames

6.2

Southwark

39.0

Sutton

13.4

Tower Hamlets

38.9

Waltham Forest

14.5

Wandsworth

21.5

Westminster

24.9


Empowerment Champions

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the criteria were by which she decided which local authorities were to be named as empowerment champions. [176159]

John Healey: The 18 local authorities named as empowerment champions were selected because they demonstrated that improvements were being made to people’s lives in their area through a number of specific empowerment initiatives, and that there were plans for further development action. They agreed to work with the Department to spotlight good practice, develop peer learning programmes and contribute to the development of national policy. The selections took into account the views of the Government offices for the regions and the importance of including all the English regions, a cross-section of political control, types of council, and types of community served, to ensure the widest relevance of the learning programmes developed through the network.

Empty Property

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many unoccupied domestic properties there were in England and Wales in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [176902]


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Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 7 January 2008]: The numbers of vacant dwellings are tabulated for England. The figures include long and short-term vacancies of less than six months.

Snapshot date Long term vacancies Short term vacancies Total for England

2002

1 November

375,600

382,500

758,100

2003

3 November

360,500

383,300

743,800

2004

1 November

318,600

395,300

714,000

2005

10 October

313,600

409,600

723,200

2006

9 October

318,400

429,700

748,200

Figures are available for England only.
Source :
Council Tax Base (CTB1) returns

Empty Property: Urban Areas

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of unoccupied flats and apartments in city centres. [177194]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information on vacancies by type of dwelling is not held centrally.

English Regions Network

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) function and (b) purpose is of the English Regions Network. [176586]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1158W.

Greater London Authority Act 2007

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which provisions of the Greater London Authority Act 2007 will come into force before May 2008. [176209]

John Healey: The Government intend to commence all the provisions of the Greater London Authority Act 2007 before the GLA elections on 1 May.

Green Belt

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 563-4W, on Green Belt, for what reasons green belt protection is not compatible with National Park designation. [176456]

Mr. Iain Wright: Green belt protection is not incompatible with National Park designation, although they have different purposes. The primary purposes of green belt are to prevent urban sprawl and prevent towns from merging, and to assist in urban regeneration by encouraging reuse of urban brownfield land, whereas the aims of the National Parks are to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of each park and
9 Jan 2008 : Column 549W
to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of their special qualities by the public. However, both provide particularly strong controls over development.

In relation to New Forest National Park, it was the decision of Hampshire county council and New Forest district council as part of their review of relevant development plans, to de-designate green belt land in the area of the National Park once the Park was created.

Housing: Disabled

Ms Hewitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support her Department provides to local authorities to ensure that enough homes are available with appropriate adaptations to meet the needs of people using wheelchairs. [169925]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Department for Communities and Local Government funds local authorities with an annual grant of £121 million to help finance the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) programme (increasing to £146 million in 2008-09). The DFG programme helps around 37,000 disabled people each year by providing assistance with a wide range of housing adaptations, which helps to enable them to remain living independently in their home.

The Department has also set out proposals for the implementation of the Lifetime Homes Standards in our response to the consultation on the Code for Sustainable Homes. The standards significantly improve the suitability and adaptability of homes for people in wheelchairs as well as for other people whose circumstances undergo change. From 2011 all publicly funded housing will be built to the Lifetime Homes Standards, significantly increasing the provision of this type of accommodation.

Additionally, as part of their approach to planning and housing policy, local authorities are required to identify households with specific needs. The Department’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment Practice Guidance explains how authorities can undertake such assessments. That includes identifying the number of people with disabilities who require adapted housing.

Housing: Green Belt

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the number of dwellings that were built in (a) St Albans District and (b) Hertfordshire on land (i) designated and (ii) previously designated as green belt in 2007; and what estimate it has made of the number likely to be built in each case under the proposed regional spatial strategies in each year of those strategies. [177023]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not hold information in a format which would enable the number of dwellings built on designated, or previously designated, green belt in either St Albans or Hertfordshire to be readily identified. The Draft East of England Plan includes housing allocations for St Albans of 360 dwellings per annum to 2021 and, for Hertfordshire, 4,380 dwellings per annum to 2021.


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The East of England Plan identifies a need for strategic green belt reviews at Hemel Hempstead, Welwyn Hatfield, Stevenage and around Harlow to permit those towns to develop further as Key Centres for Development and Change. It is not possible to predict the proportion of housing which may be built on land excluded from the green belt—that will depend on the Local Development Documents prepared by local planning authorities. However, the East of England Plan also contains a requirement that 60 per cent. of new homes should be built on previously developed land.

Land Use

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many civil servants are assisting the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell in his review of land use and planning. [176188]

Mr. Iain Wright: The secretariat support for the review currently consists of two full-time civil servants, but will draw upon the expertise of a range of officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and across Government, where applicable.


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