§ Mr. Spring
'To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to bring forward proposals for statutory time limits within which local authorities must answer standard inquiries by home buyers; and if he will make a statement.418W
§ Mr. Gummer
My Department has today published proposals for new statutory arrangements for local authorities' handling of search inquiries made by people buying and selling property. These proposals are set out in a consultation paper entitled "A Statutory Scheme for Local Authority Land Searches", copies of which have been placed in the Library. The proposed new arrangements include new powers for local autorities to provide a one-stop service on standard search inquiries, a duty on local authorities to respond to these inquiries within 10 working days, and refunds of some or all of the fee if the local authority fails to respond within the time limit.