Mr. Lilley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what information he has collated on the (a) rent charges for former council homes that are being let by private landlords and (b) rent levels for similar council-owned properties; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not have any information on the rent charges for former council homes currently let by private landlords. However, such homes would be let at market rents.
Council rents are generally well below market rates, as a result of the subsidy Government pays to support council housing and the fact that authorities are not required to make a return on the capital employed. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister?s rent restructuring policy for England aims to keep rents affordable to tenants and well below market levels.
The following table shows the average rent levels for council homes in England by Government region from 1996 to 2002.