Lunchtime news March 13

Say goodbye to old-fashioned lightbulbs and standby buttons. Today the government unveiled legally binding targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The draft Climate Change Bill includes goals for reducing emissions by 2020 and 2050, and outlines plans for five-year ‘carbon budgets’ capping CO2 levels. A new independent body will report to Parliament on progress. Yesterday, Gordon Brown targetted household emissions, and promised additional support for home insulation and an end to wasteful devices such as old-fashioned lightbulbs and standby functions on electrical goods. For more on housing and the environment, see LPW’s special ‘green’ issue, published last month.

The number of new instructions received by estate agents has gone nine months without a rise – the longest stretch since late 1999, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The figures contrasted with those released by the Communities and Local Government department yesterday, which showed a sudden rise in house prices in January, taking the annual inflation rate to 10.9%. If you want an accurate picture of the housing market, LPW’s unique Affordability Index and Housing Market Healthcheck will be published on 16 April.

Homelessness charity HHSE welcomed the fall in the number of new homeless people in England (17,310 in the last quarter of 2013 compared with 35,770 in 2003). But chief executive Adam Sampson warned the government must also tackle the huge backlog of almost 90,000 households who are trapped in temporary accommodation, waiting for a permanent home. This is double the number when Labour came to power. ‘More than 122,000 homeless children in England alone are having their health, education and future chances ruined by the lack of a safe, permanent home. If the government is serious about offering these children the chance of a brighter future, it must commit to building 20,000 extra social rented homes in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.