Social Housing (Regulation) Bill [HL] - Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 6th September 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Pinnock Baroness Pinnock Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government) 4:30 pm, 6th September 2022

My Lords, first, I want to remind us all that this Bill is here largely because of the tragedy at Grenfell, to recognise that and to thank the campaigners for, in a time of deep distress, taking up the cudgels on behalf of not only those who suffered and died in the Grenfell tragedy but the whole social housing sector, to improve the quality of social housing for everybody. We should all be grateful to them for what they have forced this Government and ourselves to address and to respond positively to—so thank you.

I thank everybody for the debate we have had on such important issues. It has been an excellent debate and, across the Committee, we have all agreed. I am not sure the Minister has, but I am sure she can be persuaded and I thank her for her responses to the issues that have been raised. I want to say one or two words. There are three big debates here, are there not? One is about energy efficiency, where I thought the two amendments actually knitted together really well. In principle, there is a duty there to add that to the objectives of the regulator and, obviously, the strategy, the plan that is going to get us there. That was beyond me, so the experts took that on, and, you know, why do we not just say yes to it? Because it is so good—is it not?—and very important at this particular time. Some £700 per household could be saved if we insulated homes properly. In some parts of the country we did that, so we can do it everywhere.

On responsibility for homeless provision, I was really shocked by the statistics from the noble Lord, Lord Best, that 10,000 tenants have been evicted. Did I hear that right? I did. That is dreadful: 10,000 tenants evicted and then homeless. Where do they go? That has to be put right. Again, that was at the heart of the principle and the plan that we heard about from my noble friend and the noble Lord, Lord Best. A strong case was made. I know that the Minister has had to read out what she was given, but the case was there. I am sure this amendment will come back on Report, as will the one on energy efficiency.

Finally, I make no apology for raising cladding once again. The social housing sector is not as well funded to deal with it as other areas, and until I am convinced that it can be achieved without costing tenants and the opportunity cost for providers, I will keep raising it.

It has been a good debate. I thank the Minister for what she said, and I therefore will not press my amendments —but I will probably bring them back on Report.

Amendment 1 withdrawn.

Amendment 2 not moved.