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The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Home Ownership Task Force, which my noble friend Lord Bassam announced to the House on 5 February, will meet for the first time today, chaired by my noble friend Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde. It will consider schemes currently available to potential homeowners on low or modest incomes and identify the most effective ways of promoting home ownership.
Sustainable Communities: building for the future marks a step-change in housing. Resources have been increased substantially to deliver sustainable communities but more needs to be done to help tenants and those on waiting lists to move into home ownership, without the loss of social housing. New ideas and a new approach are vital in helping people on low or modest incomes into home ownership.
The task force is to examine the routes and methods by which those in housing need can be helped to meet their home ownership aspirations in a way that ensures the sustainability of that ownership and is cost-effective. It will examine who is being helped through current initiatives, to what extent those initiatives free up social tenancies for other occupants and the scope for better targeting and design. It will also take account of the work being undertaken by government departments and others to review issues in relation to existing homeowners.
The task force will develop a more rational and straightforward suite of programmes to allow social tenants and those on waiting lists to purchase either their own home or another home, while recognising the many different circumstances of aspiring home owners.
Throughout its work the task force will take into account the difficulties faced by traditionally disadvantaged groups such as disabled people and BME communities in accessing home ownership and look at the different problems faced by people wishing to access home ownership in areas of low demand and the growth areas.
The existing programmes that will be considered are right to buy; rent to mortgage; right to acquire; cash incentive scheme; voluntary purchase grant; shared ownership; do-it-yourself shared ownership; homebuy; and self build.
We are also publishing today the report, Equity Shares for Social Housing, in fulfilment of our 2001 manifesto commitment to consider equity shares. Equity shares are one way to deliver our objectives to promote home ownership, increase asset ownership and improve the image of social housing. The report concludes that the costs of introducing equity shares are likely to be substantial, while the scale of benefits is highly uncertain. We will continue to keep this issue under review.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Table 3 of the 2002 input output tables gives a breakdown of total final demand in the United Kingdom economy. Table 9.3 of the United Kingdom Balance of Payments: The Pink Book 2002 gives a breakdown of UK trade in goods and services. These can be found at http://www. statistics.gov.uk.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As set out in the Paper for the Treasury Committee on the Treasury's approach to the preliminary and technical work, published on 6 September 2002, a number of supporting studies will be published alongside the assessment of the five economic tests. A supporting study will be published examining the likely impact of EMU on UK external trade with the euro area and the rest of the world. Further detail can be found in the 6 September paper.
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): I understand the Question as relating solely to the litigation costs of the Home Department. Litigation sevices under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 are provided to the Secretary of State for the Home Department by the Treasury Solicitor's Department. The cost of these services to 10 February 2003 is £105,530.82, excluding disbursements incurred but not yet paid.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Department of Trade and Industry spent £2.030 million for financial year 200102 on conducting conferences.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Our commitment to tackling poverty and social exclusion throughout the United Kingdom is well known. In particular, we have made a clear pledge to abolish child poverty in a generationand to halve it by 2010.
In Hull and East Riding there is a comprehensive range of Sure Start programmes designed to give every child the best start in life by bringing early education, childcare, health and family support to young children living in disadvantaged areas. In addition, we have introduced a number of work focused initiatives, for example 19 training providers offering work based learning for adults and jobsearch programmes.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland) The pass rates for each grade in GCSE examination entries made by 15 year-olds in 200102 were as follows:
|No grades result||6.7||2.4|
|Number of entries||22,168||4,952,487|
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