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 Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Regeneration and Regional Development), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Regeneration and Regional Development) 2:30 pm, 20th July 2004

The amendment responds to a recommendation of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Clause 5 places a general duty on local authorities to take action in respect of category 1 hazards. The local authority must take the most appropriate of the courses of action available to it. Under Clause 7, which provides powers to take action in respect of category 2 hazards, they may take one of the available courses of action.

In their 8th and 10th reports the Joint Committee on Human Rights expressed concerns that the absence of a duty on local authorities to give reasons for deciding which form of enforcement action to pursue under Clause 5 or 7 fails to comply with Article 6 of the convention on human rights, on the right to a fair hearing, with Article 8, on respect for private and family life, and with Article 1 of the First Protocol 1, on the protection of property.

The amendment aims to give effect to the Joint Committee's recommendation by placing a duty on local authorities to prepare a statement of their reasons for their decision to take the course of action on which they have settled, and to provide a copy of that statement with the notices, copies of notices and copies of orders that they are required to serve under the enforcement provisions of Part 1 of the Bill and the relevant provisions of the 1985 Act.

We believe that the new clause responds positively to the Joint Committee's concerns without placing local authorities under a significant additional burden. I beg to move.