Housing and Planning Bill - Report (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:19 pm on 11th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 9:19 pm, 11th April 2016

I am sorry to say that I find that a completely unsatisfactory answer. Once again, I do not blame the Minister. That is clearly the department’s line and it is utterly unacceptable. The noble and learned Lord says that all these arrangements should be barred, in effect. They were working reasonably well because there can be a fair degree of common interest when a responsible owner with a building on his or its hands treats people reasonably, on the understanding that it is short term, with no security of tenure, but there is at least a basic, decent standard of accommodation.

We now have people exploiting that situation partly on the basis, by the way, that the freeholders of the property no longer pay business rates because the property is not being used for business. That constitutes quite a significant financial loss to the local authority. That unfortunate consequence is a separate issue and one might not be too concerned about it.

We are left in the position that the Government are adamantly refusing to do anything other than warn people about the situation. That is, frankly, not good enough. I am sorry that the Government are taking that line. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 41, Noes 146.