Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 29th January 2010.

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Photo of Shahid Malik Shahid Malik Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government 2:12 pm, 29th January 2010

The hon. Member for Monmouth, I think, touched on the dilemma in the Bill. Section 106 agreements are directly related to the development itself. If there were a central pot of money, it would undermine the rationale for those agreements, which is linked to the impact of the development in a particular geographical area.

The Government strategy to deliver decent homes is highly successful, and has improved the quality of life of people in millions of households. I am not sure why the decent homes programme is not championed more often, as its prime aim is to improve social housing standards and place greater emphasis on long-term asset management. In addition, it has delivered greater tenant involvement in housing management decisions; improved the choice of housing management provider; and provided support for tenants to improve their skills and open up job opportunities.

By 1996, a £10 billion backlog of overdue renovation work had built up as a result of past under-investment in social housing. In addition, an estimated £9 billion-worth of investment was necessary to modernise and improve local authority housing to a decent standard. I said earlier that more than 2 million homes were below the basic standard of decency, but the number of non-decent social homes has gone down by 1.5 million, and nearly 86 per cent. of social homes are decent.

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