The supply of both homes on the private market and affordable homes is, of course, an important matter, as is the standard upkeep and maintenance of those homes. I know that in the hon. Gentleman's constituency in particular there are some real challenges to do with the provision of new homes and the maintenance of the existing stock. He made that point clearly.
Homes are the building blocks of our communities and affect our health, our wealth and our opportunities for happiness. The Government are committed to the fact that everyone should have access to a decent home at a price they can afford, whether they own or rent it. The basic propositions of the Bill are to increase the provision of market and affordable housing supply and to ensure that existing homes in need are improved to provide decent accommodation. Of course we support those aims. Indeed, they are already Government policy. However, we believe that the means to secure those objectives are either already available to local authorities by the use of section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or can be secured by other means. Although we support the overall intentions behind the Bill, which are laudable, we therefore do not support the Bill itself.
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