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Clause 5 - Modification or discharge of affordable housing requirements

Part of Growth and Infrastructure Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 27th November 2012.

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Photo of Nicholas Boles Nicholas Boles The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 11:00 am, 27th November 2012

I do not accept the right hon. Gentleman’s cataclysmic argument. He now has admitted that there are two possibilities, only one of which he addressed in his rather long speech. There is the 100% affordable eventuality. In that case, there is absolutely no reason to believe that changes in market circumstances will have altered the viability, because there is no market element in those schemes, so they are not at risk from the clause.

There is another element—a market element—that is providing a cross-subsidy towards an affordable element. Where that market element is no longer so valuable, it cannot provide the same level of cross-subsidy. We are, without any regret, suggesting that we would prefer some houses to be built now to satisfy the needs of the person he described, rather than wait until some future day when market values will possibly return to a point where they can support the same level of commitment.

In either case, I do not believe that the clause will have the pernicious effect the right hon. Gentleman suggests. If it did, why are not he and his colleagues criticising all the authorities, including many progressive Labour-run authorities, renegotiating section 106 agreements in just the way we are encouraging those few who are not doing so to do?