Housing and Planning Bill - Report (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 25th April 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of The Earl of Lytton The Earl of Lytton Crossbench 7:15 pm, 25th April 2016

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that, particularly for his comments on the second of the two amendments, which seems to be a profitable suggestion and an appropriate way forward. I very much appreciate the opportunity of taking him up on that as matters proceed. In a sense, it is one of those “motherhood and apple pie” amendments. I make no apology for that because the overarching purpose and geometry of how these things are dealt with is important, as indeed corporate social responsibility might be in any other walk of life.

I am entirely unsurprised that the Minister does not go with the first of my amendments, Amendment 119B. I am equally entirely unsurprised that the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, disagrees in forthright terms with what I have suggested. The reality is that all sorts of businesses and individuals profit in one form or another from windfall gains, and it is a truism that those windfall gains do not coincide with the circumstances in which they could feed into the support of the needy and the underprivileged, particularly in housing terms, other than through the intervention of the state. That is a perfectly proper way of doing it.

The intervention of the state comes in the form of various types of taxation, such as on capital gains, and to some extent on the aspects built into the grant of a planning consent which gives rise to what the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, described as a huge increase in value. I refer of course to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act and its clawback provisions; increasingly, a community infrastructure levy does the same in different ways. There are ways in which society benefits from this, but I go back to a point that I made during earlier stages of the Bill. If the process of compulsory acquisition is seen as expropriatory then nothing will come of that. Everybody goes to earth, to use an old country term. There is no collaboration and the thing is seen as unfair.