Constitutional and Political Reform

Oral Answers to Questions — Deputy Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th March 2015.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth 11:30 am, 24th March 2015

What steps he is taking to ensure that residents of Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency benefit from the Government’s constitutional and political reform proposals.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark Minister of State (Universities and Science), Minister of State (Cabinet Office), Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

The residents of the hon. Lady’s constituency will benefit from the biggest devolution of powers from central Government to local government for decades. The Greater Manchester city deal and the growth deal agreement will put the transport budget in the hands of the people of Manchester; see the building of 15,000 extra homes over the next 10 years; devolve the skills budget, securing more and better training; allow 100% of business rate revenue to be retained locally; and bring together £6 billion of health and social care budgets to join up services. That is all part of this Government’s northern powerhouse initiative.

Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

More than 112,000 people were made homeless in 2013, which was an increase of 26% on 2010. That can be directly attributed to the Government’s welfare policies, including their new sanctions regime, and to the lack of affordable housing. My office has been inundated with homelessness cases over the past few months. How does the Minister think the increase in homelessness will affect voter registration?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark Minister of State (Universities and Science), Minister of State (Cabinet Office), Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

The hon. Lady’s initial question was about how the Government’s policies on devolution and constitutional reform have benefited her constituents and I set that out in terms. I would have thought that she would want to recognise that, as did Graham Stringer. The front page of the Manchester Evening News put it in this way: “We’re All Winners!” Part of the gain for Manchester is that local people can make more of the local decisions, including those on housing, as I mentioned in my previous answer.