Housing and Regeneration Bill
Nick Raynsford (Greenwich and Woolwich, Labour)
In an earlier debate, I expressed concern about whether the definition of “a project” in clause 47(1) was unduly restrictive. I hoped that the amendments that I tabled at the end of our discussions on Tuesday would be considered today, but I was working on the basis of older procedures under which a one-day notice period was acceptable. I had forgotten that two days are now required, so my amendments were not eligible for selection today. Nevertheless, the issue remains important. I know that we discussed the matter earlier, but my hon. Friend the Minister undertook to consider further whether the tight definition of a project, although important to emphasise the time limit, might be unduly restrictive geographically if a group of projects are part of one initiative. Has he reflected further? We may need to return to the issue if it is not possible to provide satisfactory assurances.
Iain Wright (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government; Hartlepool, Labour)
I am pleased that my right hon. Friend caught your eye, Mr. Gale. I wish to put on record the fact that references to “a project”, which we discussed in an earlier sitting, will not prevent the agency from providing services to a project that is under way in a number of locations across England. In that respect, it is not geographically constrained. Equally, the clause does not mean that the agency can provide support services only to a single project at any one time.
The use of the word “project” is intended to identify circumstances that have a start and end date, between which times the agency has been asked, or has offered, to provide support services in one of the ways identified later in the clause. I hope that that reassures my right hon. Friend.