Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of Welfare Reform and Work Bill – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 27th January 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat 9:30 pm, 27th January 2016

My Lords, I will not detain the House that long, but I want first to pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Best, in particular and to other colleagues for the progress that has been made in discussions with the Minister on this important matter. Some associations would find it difficult to manage properly with such a reduction.

I received two letters this morning. One was from the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Freud, explaining the policy the Government are now following, which is a welcome change and I thank him for that. I hope it will prove to be a durable, long-term solution to the problem. I also had a letter from the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, also dated 27 January. I had asked a question about the cost of supported housing being exempt from the 1% rent reduction, and I had been told that the total sum involved was around £75 million a year. There has not been clarity about that sum. I am surprised that the Government do not seem to know the cost they will have to meet, given the decision not to implement the measure for one year and, hopefully, for longer. Is there a figure to which the Government are working? I look forward to the Minister’s reply because when we are discussing policy in your Lordships’ Chamber, it is important that we have some idea of the sums involved. If it proves to be true that the figure is £75 million, that is not in fact a significant sum.

As I say, I look forward to hearing the Minister’s reply. I welcome the progress that has been made on this matter, which will be very gratefully received by many people outside your Lordships’ House.