Results 1–20 of 4454 for speaker:Mr Andrew Bennett

Postal Voting ( 5 Apr 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I thank my right hon. Friend for his statement. May I make it clear to him that the good news coming out of Birmingham is that the people who tried to cheat got caught? We must emphasise that. Lots of crimes are relatively easy for people to commit, but the crucial thing is that they get caught. Will my right hon. Friend emphasise that during the general election it is essential that...

Council Tax Capping (23 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I congratulate my right hon. Friend on getting such low settlements for council tax right across the country—that is really good news—but will he accept that the capping mechanism is generally pretty crude and inefficient? Does he agree that, when we know the outcome of the Lyons review on council tax this time next year, we should reform council tax to create a far fairer system? We...

Orders of the Day — Prevention of Terrorism Bill: Clause 1 — Power to Make Control Orders ( 9 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Does my right hon. Friend accept that one of the problems with the House being given an opportunity to vote on an order is that such orders are not amendable and therefore it is not possible for the House to keep part of the Bill—or part of the Act, as it would then be—and to get rid of bits of it in a phased way? It is possible to have a statutory instrument that is amendable. Will he...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Will my right hon. Friend reflect on the remark made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe that there is lots of evidence that some local authority housing departments are extremely well managed, and that in many cases staff have moved over to stock transfer companies or arm's length management organisations? They are exactly the same people. They did not suddenly become...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I understand why the Conservative party is hung up on the idea of home ownership, but perhaps the reason why more people appear to have wanted to buy their own homes is the poor quality of rented accommodation. When we have good quality rented accommodation and estates, a lot of people may see the advantages of rented accommodation. Home ownership has not been the greatest of things in one or...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I have bought my house and it has been a fantastic investment, but the success of such an investment involves choosing the right area to live in and the property prices rising. Home ownership is not necessarily good for society. I will probably have a huge amount of money tied up in my house when I die, and my kids will no doubt be pleased with that. I suspect, however, that as far as I am...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Both, I think.

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I think that the hon. Gentleman is missing the point. The purpose of the inquiry on decent homes was to set a minimum standard. As far as the Committee is concerned, the decent homes-plus standard is also intended to set a minimum standard, not to say to tenants that there is a menu of things from which they can choose. It is important to raise the standard of housing in general. I just put a...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: In practice, I think that that is happening. If I gave the impression that the area manager I referred to was standing up to tenants and saying, "This is what we will do for you," that is not right. He was saying that they now have the money to do things, but Sheffield has had a long history of tenant involvement in area committees and area budgets, and, uniquely, of a tenant levy that helps...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: First, we produced a fairly comprehensive report on the draft Bill in 2003. I should remind the hon. Gentleman that we took the evidence for the report in spring last year and published it in April, at which point the 2004 Act was still being fought through in Committee. We were hoping that some significant improvements would come through in the end.

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I am grateful for the opportunity to debate the Select Committee's report "Decent Homes". I suspect that this may be our last chance to debate Select Committee reports in this Session, so before I do so, I thank the Clerks who have served on various Select Committees that I have chaired for the past 10 years. I want to put on record my appreciation of all their hard work and all the work that...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Select Committees play an important part in the work of the House of Commons, and the work done by the Clerks in the Committee offices makes all that possible. I also thank Ben Kochan, the specialist assistant, who has worked hard on a series of reports on housing and planning for the Committee during the past 12 months. We are also grateful to the two specialist advisers, Peter Chapman and...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: That is certainly one possibility. I find it crazy that, according to the Government, it is perfectly all right for a housing association to borrow money because that money will be repaid from the rents of the properties and the interest paid on it, yet it is wrong for the local authority to borrow money on exactly the same basis, with exactly the same guarantee that it will be repaid. All...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Very firmly. As I understand it, the housing accounts are already ring-fenced, so it is not a question of councils borrowing money against their housing stock to spend on casinos or anything else. You borrow the money to achieve the decent homes standard in council property that is rented by the local authority—

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Let me make it clear that local authorities should be able to borrow money to achieve the decent homes standard for all the stock in their area.

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Yes, I accept that argument. I do not want to spend too long on that subject, however; I just want to make the point that in our report we were disappointed that so far the Government have made no progress in that area. The Select Committee is very pleased that we have a decent homes standard, but some elements were not perfectly thought out originally, and, although we hope the standard will...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: There is a problem with that suggestion. Under the present procedure, where there is a stock transfer company, in theory the tenants can participate and argue for their priorities. That is not the issue. The problem with housing is that, almost by definition, the person living in the house at the time is reasonably satisfied, so the next tenant to move in is crucial. It is a good thing to...

Decent Homes ( 3 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: I certainly agree. To be fair to the Government, most of the decent homes standards include such things as removing damp and so on. It is important to get the most efficient heating into buildings. My final point, which is not covered in the present decent homes target, is about turning rented property into what can be described as lifetime homes, which are suitable for people throughout...

Council Tax ( 2 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: While we are on the question of equity, I should perhaps thank the hon. Lady for her proposal to reduce my council tax bill by £500 a year. Is that really sensible, however, given that people on very small pensions will get no benefit at all? Is not it logical to provide help for all council tax payers, rather than just the better-off?

Council Tax ( 2 Mar 2005)

Mr Andrew Bennett: Will the hon. Lady give way on that point?

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