Housing and Planning Bill - Report (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 25th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 6:45 pm, 25th April 2016

I beg the noble Lord’s pardon. My mind was obviously elsewhere. I should have been conscious of the noble Lord’s presence. He is certainly to himself true and no doubt he will have been encouraged by the references made by my noble friend. The enthusiasm of the noble Lord, Lord Deben, for local councils to take decisions is very welcome. I do not quite recall it being as forcefully expressed in his days as Secretary of State, but my memory may be playing me false on that front.

The reality is that this amendment calls for local authorities to do no more than meet minimum standards. That seems a perfectly sensible provision. Indeed, as the Minister has already indicated, the 1984 legislation was based on a similar concept. Of course, as has already been mentioned, the Parker Morris standards operated for decades very successfully—and, frankly, should never have been abandoned.

The Minister’s offer of a review and so on is helpful. I hope that that might be taken forward productively. But I think it would be desirable for the House to give an indication of its feelings here and I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House.