Infrastructure Bill [Lords]

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 9:41 pm on 8th December 2014.

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Photo of Stephen Williams Stephen Williams The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 9:41 pm, 8th December 2014

I am coming on to the proposed exemption for small sites. One sad aspect of the housing crash—when I believe the right hon. Gentleman was the Housing Minister during the last Parliament—was that a lot of small house builders left the market, and they have not yet come back. Many of the measures that the Government are taking are designed to encourage small house builders to re-enter the market. We recognise that the progressive tightening of the building regulations regime—it will have been tightened three times in five years—is a bigger challenge for small house builders than for larger ones. That is why we think that some sort of exemption is necessary. However, we have issued a public consultation so that we can hear from the sector and all other interested parties what the size of that exemption should be. I cannot prejudge the consultation, but some of the figures that have been mentioned, such as 50 housing units, are certainly well wide of the mark.