Housing Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 20th July 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Maddock Baroness Maddock Shadow Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Local Government & the Regions 2:30 pm, 20th July 2004

This amendment to Clause 3 concerns local housing authorities and their duty to review housing conditions in their districts. The purpose of the amendment is to introduce the review of housing conditions and to make sure that information collected is used. The amendment aims to make an explicit link between house conditions and decent home standards. However, the Bill provides no mechanism to require local housing authorities to measure their progress towards achieving the decent home standard in the private sector. Currently, there are no data on the location of non-decent homes occupied by vulnerable people. I shall speak about that matter again in a moment.

The amendment addresses both issues and would generally alert local housing authorities to the need to work towards the decent home standard in the private sector. This is a very important area because three-quarters of all properties that do not meet the decent home standard are in the private sector. Although the Government moved some time ago to set targets for the decent home standard in social housing, it was only in 2002 that the public sector agreement target was extended to include a reduction in the proportion of households on benefits living in the private sector in non-decent homes. The target was 43 per cent in 2002 down to 30 per cent in 2010.

That indicates why this is rather an important amendment. If we are going to tackle the problem of non-decent homes in the private sector, local authorities will have to collect the facts and figures. I hope that the Minister will understand that. Later, I shall move another amendment which is also important in trying to deal with decent home standards in the private sector. I beg to move.