HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc1017-9W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proposals he has to ensure that empty homes are(a) located and (b) put to use. [71204]

Mr. McNulty

The Government set out their policies for locating and bringing back into use empty and abandoned properties in their response to the Transport, Local Government and the Regions Committee's report on empty homes, published on 8 May 2002. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

The range of measures in place include: funding for the Empty Homes Agency to help local authorities bring empty properties back into use; the reform of private sector renewal legislation; and the introduction of low demand pathfinder projects.

Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures there are to ensure that public sector workers are able to find affordable homes in(a) Coventry, (b) London and (c) the rest of the UK. [71205]

Mr. McNulty

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by our right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on 18 July. This set out our plans for tackling the shortage of affordable homes in London and the south-east, and providing homes for key workers and those in the most need.

With the additional funding for housing and planning announced by our right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, spending will rise to £4.7 billion by 2005–06—up by £1.5 billion on this year's figures.

The new plans will supplement our existing measures to deliver new homes for key workers, which include the £250 million Starter Home Initiative (SHI). This aims to help 10,000 key workers in England, particularly teachers, police, nurses and other essential health staff to buy homes within a reasonable travelling distance from their work place in areas where the high cost of housing is undermining recruitment and retention.

Key workers may also be helped through the increased investment provided for rent and low cost home ownership through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme and local authorities. Since 1997, we have almost doubled funding for affordable housing to £1.2 billion a year and this is now supporting the creation of 20,000 new homes every year. As well as the additional funding for new homes, we will be looking at ways to extend our existing programmes for affordable housing through greater partnership with employers and public and private sector landlords.

Measures to assist public sector workers in the rest of the UK to find homes are the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish and Northern Ireland Executives.

Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new homes have been(a) built and (b) improved in Coventry since 1997. [71206]

Mr. McNulty

The number of new homes by tenure built within the district of Coventry city council since 1997 is shown in table A. It is not possible to report exactly how many homes have been improved in Coventry since 1997. However, figures for the numbers of local authority dwellings which received 'capital type' investment and the number of private sector renovation grants allocated is given in table B. This information is available by financial year only.

Table A: Permanent dwellings completed in Coventry
Number of dwellings
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Private enterprise 379 408 483 311 425
Registered social landlords 69 132 69 11 36
Local authority 0 0 0 0 0
All dwellings 448 540 552 322 461
Table B: Housing investment ('capital type') and renovation grants in Coventry
Local authority dwellings that receive 'capital type' investment1 Private sector renovation grants
1997–98 5,585 427
1998–99 3,007 574
1999–2000 5,497 597
2000–01 0 594
1 Coventry city council became an LSVT authority in 2000–01 and they reported doing no 'capital type' investment work on their own dwellings in that year.


ODPM Housing Investment Programme returns.

Mr. Djanogly

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for housing construction in the Huntingdon constituency. [72804]

Mr. McNulty

RPG6 identifies that development plans should provide 4,000 additional dwellings in Cambridgeshire each year between 1996 and 2016. It is the role of the local planning authorities to prepare development plans to accommodate the development proposed in RPG. The replacement Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Structure Plan, prepared by Cambridgeshire county and Peterborough city councils, proposes that 9,500 dwellings be built in Huntingdonshire over the period 1999 and 2016. The structure plan's proposed housing distribution will be debated at an examination in public starting in October.

Last week the Deputy Prime Minister expressed his concerns that housing needs are not being met and that tackling the housing shortage is national responsibility. The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that over the coming months he intended to work with regional and local partners to establish where, at what scale, and how quickly development could be achieved in the potential growth areas, including within the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. The Local Government Conference has commenced a review of regional planning guidance for the East of England and I would expect this to consider the issues of where, at what scale and how quickly development can he delivered.