|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
First, after one month, frankly it will still wash; and, secondly, over 13 years, while in government, the Opposition built on average half the level of affordable
housing per year of the previous two Conservative Governments, so we will be proud to put the situation right again.
T8.  Mr Robert Buckland (South Swindon) (Con): I apologise for asking this question earlier. On regional spatial strategies, what advice can the Secretary of State give to local authorities such as mine in Swindon about revising housing growth figures that now seem utterly outdated?
Greg Clark: My understanding is that, in the hon. Gentleman's part of the world, the plan has not yet been submitted to the inspectors, so he should be able to go back and tell his councillors that they now have the opportunity to put forward plans that are in keeping with the needs of his area.
Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) (Lab): Can the Minister give Bolsover council an assurance that the plans concerning the 108 prefabricated Tarran bungalows occupied mainly by elderly people will receive the go-ahead? We already have the plans. There were plans to get rid of 20 in the first tranche, and to get rid of the lot in the future. We received a nice letter from the then Housing Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth and Dearne (John Healey). Surely, in a deprived area, this Government will not cut those plans to replace the prefabricated bungalows for elderly people in Bolsover.
Mr Pickles: I am sorry that, after 13 years of a Labour Government, people in the hon. Gentleman's constituency are still living in prefabs-I can recall them from my youth. I do not know about the particular scheme, but I will ensure that he is written to.
Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD): I welcome the answers given to questions 1 and 4 earlier. What advice and guidance will be given to local authorities, and particularly the Planning Inspectorate, when dealing with applications prior to the new legislation going through?
Greg Clark: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has written to the Planning Inspectorate to inform it that the Government's stated policy on such matters is now a material consideration when it reviews applications that have been made and gone to appeal.
Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test) (Lab): This morning, the Minister for Housing stated that he did not wish to overturn the use classes order changes concerning houses in multiple occupation, but that he would look at them in detail. During the election, he stated that Southampton city council should have all the powers it needed to deal with homes in multiple occupation. It has all the powers it needs as a result of those changes. Is it therefore his intention to water down those changes as a result of looking at them in detail?
Grant Shapps: As I said, I recognise the scale of the problem, and we will ensure that councils in areas such as Southampton maintain those powers. My only concern is to ensure that we do not have a system in place for homes in multiple occupation that is so overarching that it applies to areas where HMO students are not a problem.
Mr Pickles: By a weird coincidence, I happen to have with me the figures for unauthorised sites-because my hon. Friend's question was on the Order Paper. The number of caravans on unauthorised developments has increased from 887 in 1997 to 2,395 in 2010, which is an increase of 170%.
Chris Williamson (Derby North) (Lab): How can the Secretary of State reconcile his pre-election commitment to localism with his subsequent ministerial diktats, and why did he snub the Conservative-dominated Local Government Association over his Government's cuts programme?
Mr Pickles: The hon. Gentleman is wrong. The first person who came to see me was Dame Margaret Eaton from the LGA. It has been informed throughout the process, and we have a very constructive relationship, not surprisingly because the Government intend to pass substantial powers down to local authorities. That represents a new constitutional settlement in which local people have power.
Matthew Hancock (West Suffolk) (Con): Is the Minister aware of how many messages of support I have received today for the plans to allow council buildings to fly the England flag during England games, and will he tell us more about what he intends to do to allow that to happen?
Grant Shapps: In line with the localism that we have just discussed, this is, of course, a local matter. However, I hope that local authorities throughout England will take the logical and sensible approach, and be proud of the nation's being able to come together to celebrate England's-we hope-great success, and we encourage them to do so.
Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree) (Lab/Co-op): The recently announced cuts of £230 million to the Homes and Communities Agency include £50 million of cuts to housing market renewal, of which Liverpool has to take the burden of £4 million. Will the Secretary of State give his assurance that there will be no further cuts to vital housing market renewal projects, including those in Liverpool, Wavertree?
Grant Shapps: I have visited many of the housing market renewal areas, and we are passionate about ensuring that they can go ahead. In all the cuts that have been made, those in areas such as housing market renewal are the most concerning of all. Again, we have to get the budget deficit under control, but we will consult the areas involved to try to ensure that the impact is minimised. I look forward to a time when the economy is back on its feet again and we can really help the most needy communities in this country.
James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) (Con):
Does the Secretary of State agree that one of the great failures of the previous Government was to wrap local
authorities up in a bureaucratic top-down performance-management regime from which local government needs to be liberated?
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Robert Neill): My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and that is why we have indicated our intention to get rid of the CAA regime, which has been estimated to cost the sector in the region of £2 billion. That is why we are committed to abolishing the Standards Board and why we want to give genuine power back to local authorities.
Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) (Lab): There is a need for a more strategic view of how we can have Gypsy and Traveller encampments around the country, as well as in specific regions, but how can we do that when the Government have just cut the budget for the Gypsies and Travellers programme by £30 million?
Mr Pickles: It is certainly our intention to encourage local authorities to have Gypsy and Traveller sites, and we will be announcing an incentive scheme. This is an important issue, and I want to ensure that we treat Gypsies and Travellers with respect. However, the hon. Gentleman must understand that we are in this position only because of the inheritance that we received. We had to take that money out, and if we had not done so, the prospect of our being able to provide sensible accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers would have been diminished, because of the profligacy of the Labour party.
Mr Speaker: Nominations for Chairs of the 24 Select Committees set out in Standing Order No. 122B, as amended by the Order of the House of Monday 7 June, closed on Tuesday 8 June, and elections were held by secret ballot on Wednesday 9 June. No ballot was necessary for eight Committees for which a single nomination had been received as follows:
The full breakdown of voting in each contest, indicating the votes attributable to each candidate after each redistribution of the votes of eliminated candidates, is set out in a paper available from the Vote Office. The Members so elected take up their positions formally when their Committee has been nominated by the House. I congratulate all the right hon. and hon. Members concerned.
Tuesday 15 June-The House will be asked to approve motions relating to the establishment of a Back-Bench business committee, September sittings, private Members' Bills, deferred Divisions, Select Committee sizes and sittings of the House.
May I offer my congratulations to the new Deputy Speakers who were successful in the ballot this week: the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr Hoyle), my hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr Evans) and the right hon. Member for Bristol South (Dawn Primarolo)? May I wish them every success in carrying out their important duties and pass on the thanks of the House to those they replaced for the undoubted service they offered over many years? May I also pass on my congratulations to those Members who you, Mr. Speaker, have just announced as having been successfully elected as Chairs of Select Committees? This is undoubtedly a landmark in the history of the House. I warmly congratulate those who have secured the approval of their colleagues to undertake the vital task of scrutinising Government Departments. This is an important reform-part of a process of transferring power from the Executive to the House, which I intend to progress in my role as Leader of the House.
With regard to Tuesday's business, the Government have today tabled proposed new Standing Orders on the new Back-Bench business committee. Frankly, however,
no proper consultation took place with the Opposition on the detail of those before they were tabled. Would it not be right for the new Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, whose Chair has just been announced, to look at those before they are debated by the House? I hope the Leader of the House will give a detailed response to that.
Business questions always provide a good opportunity for the right hon. Gentleman to bring us up to speed on how his leak-prevention strategy is going. Last week, he said it was going splendidly, but I am afraid that I must draw his attention to what he might regard as a slight seepage rather than a leak, although it is nevertheless alarming. The BBC seems to have been told by "sources" that the Liberal Democrats are doing a deal with the Government so that they continue to receive Short money, which was designed specifically for Opposition parties. On top of that, the hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes) has been elected deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats. Many congratulations to him; he was here a minute ago. In his manifesto, he said
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|