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New Clause 14 — Expenditure of Greater London Authority on housing or regeneration

Part of Infrastructure Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 26th January 2015.

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Photo of Stephen Williams Stephen Williams The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 5:30 pm, 26th January 2015

The group touches on an incredibly wide range of issues, but I shall concentrate my remarks on the amendments and new clauses that have aroused significant interest across the House.

Government new clause 14 relates to the Greater London Authority’s powers to incur expenditure on transport elements of housing and regeneration projects. This matter was raised in Committee by my hon. Friend Nadhim Zahawi, and I promised him that I would look urgently at the legislative options available to address this important issue. We have concluded that it is necessary to make a minor change to the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and have therefore proposed the new clause.

The new clause removes a prohibition in section 31 of the Greater London Authority Act preventing the GLA from incurring expenditure on anything that may be done by its functional body, Transport for London, if it relates to housing and regeneration. We are making this change to the 1999 Act because the GLA has said that, because TfL’s powers are wide-ranging, they preclude the GLA from incurring expenditure on anything transport related. This includes expenditure on transport elements of projects to deliver housing, jobs and growth in London, which the GLA has been responsible for since 1 April 2012, when it took on the roles, land and contracts of the former London Development Agency and the Homes and Communities Agency in London. The new clause will apply in relation to expenditure incurred by the GLA before, as well as after, the coming into force of the new clause, because it was clearly the intention of Parliament that the GLA should have powers equivalent to those of the LDA and HCA following the Localism Act 2011. Making this change to the 1999 Act is therefore essential to ensure that the GLA can deliver new homes and jobs for London.

Government amendment 95 provides for new clause 14 to extend to England and Wales only, and Government amendment 102 provides for the amendment to the 1999 Act to come into force on the day the Act is passed. Government amendment 85 relates to clause 29 and will ensure that future purchasers of land owned by the HCA, GLA and mayoral development corporations can develop and use land without being affected by easements and other rights and restrictions. Clause 29 will bring the position of purchasers of land from the HCA, GLA and MDCs into line with those currently enjoyed by purchasers from local authorities and other public bodies involved in regeneration and development.