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Turning to the issue of marital breakdown increasing demand for household formation, it is an example of how wide the policies to be considered need to range. The social factors that contribute to housing demand go far wider, as the noble Lord pointed out, than simply the responsibilities of any one government department.
Baroness Nicol: My Lords, I warmly welcome the Statement, and I am sure that it will be widely welcomed in the country. I wish to put two very brief questions. I was pleased to hear that there will be a presumption in favour of using recycled land in localities first before greenfield developments are encouraged. Will any kind of advice or guidance be issued to local authorities to make sure that they are aware of the desire for that presumption? Secondly, have the Government made quite sure that everyone is aware of the polluter pays principle? In many cases, the authors of the contamination of land can be traced, and we have a firm commitment to use that principle wherever possible. It would be of considerable help in encouraging development on recycled land.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I note my noble friend's point regarding the importance of ensuring that all possible resources are brought in to clean up the land that needs to be used again. On the point about advice to local authorities, it is right that, although much is going on, there is also a need for a lead in this area, and for examples of good practice for local authorities, developers, builders and the professions to know where they can go in order to ensure that their efforts contribute to the national effort. I am sure that the task force led by my noble friend Lord Rogers of Riverside will include in its agenda not only how it can co-ordinate and develop the wide range of activity and innovation that is under way, but also how it can make sure that advice is disseminated to those who need to implement it.
Lord Rix: My Lords, several references have been made to the millennium village at Greenwich and the clearance of the millennium site at a cost of £100 million. Does the Minister agree that if urban development is to take place successfully, particularly in the millennium village, it would be a tragedy if the
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord on raising two issues which I know are dear to his heart in the context of this Statement and the millennium village. So far as the theatre is concerned, I know that my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister is anxious that this should be a rounded development in which people can take leisure, receive education, do their shopping and everything else. While in no way committing the Government to the expenditure that the noble Lord suggests, I will certainly draw to the attention of my right honourable friend the needs of the theatre.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, now that the famous 4.4 million figure for housing projection has in effect been declared redundant, or indeed watered down, does the Minister agree that it would be sensible to advise all the county authorities which are busy reviewing their structure plans, holding public inquiries and spending quite a lot of public money on the basis of those figures, to freeze their plans for the time being since, clearly, they are based on invalid figures which are to be revised?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I am not sure that the noble Lord is right to say that the figures are to be revised and are necessarily invalid. The technical figures for household projection and projected growth will still have a role to play. What we are doing is making sure that those figures are for guidance, and are not requirements for building. In fact, many of the development plans coming forward at the moment are based not on the 4.4 million figure from 1995, but in fact the earlier, 1992 figures.
Lord Taylor of Gryfe: My Lords, I congratulate the Minister on these exciting and imaginative plans. In her peroration she said something about restoring England's land. I should like to ask whether this is a devolved subject. Will the imaginative plans that have been outlined this afternoon apply to the Scottish parliament, which is to be set up in May of next year? If that is so, and if considerable public funds are involved--the millennium village will call for a large investment of public funds--will appropriate financial arrangements be made? That would enable us not only to talk about England's green and pleasant land but also about the United Kingdom's green and pleasant land.
Lord Monkswell: My Lords, I thank my noble friend most warmly for repeating the Statement, which I think the whole House will very much welcome. I was particularly pleased by the reference to urban renaissance in Britain. In answer to the previous questioner, the Statement refers to Britain, and I think we should be glad about that. The Minister also said that this was the beginning of a process. I should like to press the Minister slightly on the subject of increasing household growth, which is happening mainly because people are living longer and couples are separating more often, whereas in the original projections it was said that young people tended to leave home and set up on their own. Can we hope that the Government will engage all their activities--whether it is fiscal policy, social policy, architectural policy and planning policy--to ensure not only that we have urban renaissance but also that we have a social renaissance? We can build on the idea that people should live, work and play together.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I am aware of my noble friend's interest in this subject. We should not take the social trends that have led to increased household formation as irreversible or as necessarily to continue. A whole range of different factors influences the numbers of households, factors such as younger people living away from home earlier, marriage breakdown and elderly people living on their own rather than in groups, an issue which we discussed in your Lordships' House last week. There are significant factors at work which can ebb and flow and which can change the figures. However, there is a trend of household growth going ahead of population growth which has been apparent from the beginning of the century. Although these figures may not be absolutely right and factors may change within them, we should not assume that the tide will be completely turned back.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, perhaps I may take the Minister back to the golden years of 1974 to 1979, when she and I had the privilege to represent constituencies in another place, and remind her that one of the most depressing aspects of a surgery was to sit there time after time and hear the wretched and heart-rending cases of those in housing need. Therefore, I look upon this as a Green Paper of courage and vision. I congratulate the Government and the Minister on showing that courage and vision and on bringing forward what I consider to be a comprehensive plan. Does she agree that under the fourth direction of the basis of the paper, which I took down as a range of policies which affect communities, careful consideration should be given to stimulating and encouraging the growth of co-operative housing in its many forms? Co-operative housing needs stimulus, direction and guidance. The housing corporation and the Government can do a great deal to encourage that. When the Minister and her colleagues are considering
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