HC Deb 19 April 2004 vol 420 cc347-8W
Mr. Hayes

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what change in the number of environmental health officers the Government estimates will be needed in England and Wales as a result of the provisions contained within the Housing Bill; in what time frame the Government estimates that additional environmental health officers required as a result of the provisions contained within the Housing Bill will be recruited and trained; how much he estimates such recruitment will cost; how such costs will be met; and what money central Government will provide. [166295]

Keith Hill

The Government does not expect the provisions of Part 1 of the Housing Bill to require the employment of additional environment health officers. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister indicated during the Committee Stage of the Bill that the Government would meet local authorities' start-up costs associated with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and that these costs were estimated at £4–5 million.

Implementation of the licensing provisions in Parts 2 and 3 need not in itself require the recruitment of staff as specialist environmental health officers. The number of staff required and the time frame within which they are recruited and trained will be a matter for local authorities to determine. The Government is in discussions with the Local Government Association on these matters and although licensing should be self financing it is proposed to set aside £13 million to meet local authorities' start-up costs.

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