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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 6:45 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 6:45 pm, 26th January 2015

The right hon. Gentleman enjoyed, I am sure, the deliberations in Committee, including my right hon. Friend the Minister telling us about mobile telephone reception in Lincolnshire and having to stand on a chair in order to take a call. This is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with, and the Government have listened very carefully to what was said in Committee and to the representations made by interested bodies. We have decided at this stage to withdraw the proposals as drafted, but this issue will have to be revisited.

I turn finally in this wide-ranging group of new clauses and amendments to the part of the Bill that introduces zero-carbon homes—a part of which I am particularly proud—and the Opposition’s amendments. Amendments 67 and 71 seek to give preference in all cases to on-site carbon abatement measures. That would cause uncertainty and cost to house builders, because the house builder and the building control body would have to agree a “reasonable” on-site energy performance level on a case-by-case basis before any development could commence. The house building industry needs to know the technical requirements and the costs it will face in order to plan for the future. That is why we set specific performance standards in the building regulations —standards we have already tightened twice during this Parliament, and which, as a result of the Bill, will be further tightened in 2016 to make sure that our constituents have the pleasure of living in not only a new home but one insulated to the highest possible performance standards.

With those brief remarks—not quite as brief as you would have liked, Madam Deputy Speaker—I commend the new clauses and amendments in the Government’s name and ask the House to resist those in others’ names.