I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 45 together.
Information published as part of the last assessment of local authority housing need undertaken at the end of March 2002 indicates that approximately 60% of households assessed as in need of local authority housing were on the local authority waiting list for less than two years. It is however the case that some applicants for local authority housing are on waiting lists for longer periods on the basis that their housing need has a relative lower priority compared with the needs of households who have been allocated housing. The relative priority of households on the local authority waiting lists is determined in accordance with the authorities' schemes of letting priorities, the making of which is a function reserved to the elected members.
The Government has been conscious of the increased level of social housing need and has responded actively to this situation by expanding social and affordable housing output. For example, it is anticipated that total social housing output this year taking account of new local authority housing, vacancies arising in existing houses and output under other social housing measures will meet the needs of around 13,000 households. This compares with some 7,000 households catered for in 1993.