§ Gregory Barker
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what percentage of families with disabled children received assistance from statutory agencies in order to address their housing needs in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) which Government agency has lead responsibility for assessing the housing needs of disabled children; 
(3) what plans are in place to improve the provision of housing to families with disabled children; 
(4) what plans he has to abolish the disabled facilities grant means test for children; 
(5) if he will make a statement on the fairness of the disabled facilities grant means test, The Test of Resources for children; 
(6) what assessment he has made of whether the current Test of Resources for disabled children encourages parents to work; 
(7) what progress the Government has made in reviewing the disabled facilities grant programmes and its means test. 
§ Yvette Cooper
Statistics on the percentage of families with disabled children who received assistance from statutory agencies to address their housing needs are not collected centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Local housing authorities in consultation with social service departments have the leading role in assessing the housing needs of disabled children.
The Government have a number of policy initiatives designed to increase the supply of accessible housing including the provision of suitable housing to families with a disabled child. All newly built homes are required to comply with "Part M" of the building regulations. These provisions are expected to enable occupants to cope better with reduced mobility. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced earlier this year that we will carry out a further review of Part M, with the aim of incorporating Lifetime Home standards for accessibility into the Building Regulations.
Furthermore, in relation to new social housing, the Government requires that all schemes funded through the Housing Corporation comply not only with the Building Regulations, but also with additional criteria for accessibility and internal environments set out in the Corporation's scheme development standards. Reforms of the planning system are also seeking to address issues of access and inclusion. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill introduces a statutory requirement for those responsible for preparing regional spatial strategies and local development documents in England to undertake these functions with the objective of 1050W contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. Our consultation draft of Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1) makes it crystal clear that development plans should contain clear and comprehensive inclusive access policies.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is not only taking action to improve accessibility in relation to new developments. We have also substantially increased Government resources available to the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) scheme to help with adaptations to the existing housing stock to meet the needs of disabled people. Since 1997, Government funding for DFGs has nearly doubled, rising to £100 million a year. This year, over 33,000 homes will be adapted to meet the needs of disabled people through the programme—a 50 per cent. increase on 1997–98. The 1996 report into the Evaluation of the DFG system published by the Department of the Environment showed that 5 per cent. of all successful DFG applicants were parents with a disabled child.
The Government announced a review of the operation of the DFG programme on 5 January 2004. In answer to a Parliamentary Question from Baroness Wilkins, Lord Rooker in the House of Lords said that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, jointly with the Department of Health will be reviewing the disabled facilities grant programme, including the operation of the means test, in the context of the Spending Review 2004.
This Review is now under way and will include an assessment of the equity of the DFG means test as it affects applications from families with a disabled child and any disincentive effect of the test on a parent's decision to work. The conclusions of this review will be announced by the end of 2004.