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Ms Keeble: The means test for disabled facilities grant makes a careful assessment of an applicant's resources and expenditure needs in order to calculate whether he is in a position to contribute towards any required adaptation to the property. The Government think that this test is fair and reasonable and because demand for DFG is very high it ensures that help goes to those most in need. Many of the detailed allowances used in the assessment are updated annually and SI 2002 No.530, which came into force on 1 April, makes the necessary changes which will be applicable for the year 200203.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 977W, on housing, which local authorities were running a cash incentive scheme in (a) 199798, (b) 199899, (c) 19992000 and (d) 200001. 
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent assessment the Government have made of the number of new dwellings needed in London and the South-east to satisfy the need for affordable housing over the next 10 years. 
Ms Keeble: The Government do not make national estimates of housing need, nor the dwellings required, as such approaches are unable to reflect local needs. Instead, local authorities, in conjunction with regional planning bodies, are expected to produce estimates of need and the dwellings required.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 977W, what figures his Department has collated
22 Apr 2002 : Column 46W
on the sum each local authority in London running a cash incentive scheme in 200001 originally identified as being available to potential applicants. 
|Barking and Dagenham||0|
|City of London||0|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||0|
|Kensington and Chelsea||0|
|Kingston upon Thames||400|
|Richmond upon Thames||58|
Housing Investment Programme returns submitted by authorities in July 2000
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) published on the right to buy scheme since 1 May 1997. 
22 Apr 2002 : Column 47W
commercial property companies offering local authority tenants a cash incentive to exercise the right to buy their home. 
Ms Keeble: We are aware of anecdotal evidence of a number of abuses of the RTB by companies, particularly in London. We have commissioned research into what is happening, including the extent and type of such 'abuses' and the effect on the housing market. The results will be made publicly available when the work is completed.
Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many units of housing stock have been transferred from local authority control to (a) housing associations and (b) similar bodies in each of the last five years; and how many ballots have taken place over that period of local authority tenants in which they have failed to agree a transfer. 
Ms Keeble: The table shows the number of dwellings transferred from local authority ownership to housing associations in each of the most recent five financial years. Also shown for each of these years is the number of ballots in which tenants have not supported the transfer proposal.
|Financial year||Dwellings transferred||Negative ballots|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions in relation to the fire college at Morton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire, when he received the report of the internal auditors investigation into financial irregularities; what the results of that report were; if he will publish it; and what action he is taking. 
Dr. Whitehead: There are a number of matters outstanding and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage. The final report will fall within various exemptions of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information including that relating to law enforcement and legal proceedings. It would therefore be inappropriate to disclose the contents.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, (1) pursuant to his answer of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 675W, on the Fire Service, if he will place in the Library the criteria used by the Arson Control Forum to assess bids from local fire authorities for arson reduction initiatives; 
22 Apr 2002 : Column 48W
Dr. Whitehead: The guidance to local fire authorities and the criteria used by the Arson Control Forum to assess their bids were set out in a letter to potential bidders from the chairman of the Arson Control Forum, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of the Fire Service, Graham Meldrum, dated 6 November 2001. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Libraries of the House today.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what powers he has to intervene in decisions on the installation of a telecommunication mast in a residential area once the local council authority has given permission for the installation of the equipment; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: Local planning authorities have powers under section 97 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make orders to revoke or modify a planning permission, prior to it being implemented, where they consider it expedient to do so. If an order is opposed, it has to be confirmed by the Secretary of State before it can take effect.
The Secretary of State also has powers, under section 100 of the Act, to revoke a planning permission granted by a local planning authority. However, the Secretary of State will generally use this power only if the original decision is judged to be grossly wrong, so that damage is likely to be done to the wider public interest.
Under section 102 of the Act, local planning authorities also have power to make an order, requiring that any use of land be discontinued or continued subject to conditions or that any buildings or works shall be altered or removed. Such an order will not take effect unless it is confirmed by the Secretary of State.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his Department's policy is on the siting of mobile phone masts; what recent discussions he has had on the siting of mobile phone masts; and if he will make a statement. 
22 Apr 2002 : Column 49W
strongly encourage the sharing of masts and sites, where that represents the optimum environmental solution in a particular case, and the use of existing buildings and other structures to site new antennas. We also encourage the use of sympathetic design and camouflage.
increased the time for authorities to deal with prior approval applications from 28 and 42 days to a uniform 56 days
underlined that school governors must be consulted on all proposals for new masts on or near a school or college
increased fees to enable authorities to carry out full public consultation.
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