Results 1–20 of 454 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Heather Wheeler

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to grant old-style secure tenancies: victims of domestic abuse (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time. I will be very brief, because I believe the Bill has cross-party support. This short and targeted Bill is an important part of the Government’s wider aims of supporting victims of domestic abuse to leave their abusive situation, and ensuring that they and their families are provided with the stability and security they need and...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: I hope that my right hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that this summer, for the first time ever, the Government are undertaking an audit of all domestic abuse support services right the way across England. We have done a deep dive in Essex, just as a trial. In the county of Essex alone there are over 1,000 different ways of finding help for domestic violence. That is incredible. We need to...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: I thank my right hon. Friend for mentioning that, because it gives me the opportunity to say that there is no limit to the length of time over which discretionary housing payment can be made; it could be one-off time-limited or it could be indefinite.

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: The hon. Lady brings up an interesting fact that was not discussed in Committee. I will address the discretionary powers that local authorities have, which might help her with an answer. Allocating a property that is too big is not necessarily in the tenant’s interest or the landlord’s interest, and it certainly is not the best use of scarce social housing. Our 2012 allocations...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Indeed. Funding for the years 2018 to 2021 was set out in the summer Budget 2015. Next year, 2018-19, there will be £153 million in the discretionary fund for England and Wales, albeit this is an England- only Bill. The removal of the spare room subsidy was introduced to ensure that tenants in the social and private-rented sectors are treated on the same basis, to encourage mobility, to...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is specifically referring to Northern Ireland or anywhere else—

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Again, I stress that this Bill is England-only, but there are such opportunities. There is a local housing rate and then there are discretionary housing payments that can be made above that. I come to amendment 3, our final amendment. I fully understand the motivation behind this amendment, which would extend the Bill to housing association landlords—this was the point made by the hon....

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Clearly, what the hon. Gentleman is discussing is outside the scope of this Bill, but we are talking about a voluntary pilot that is starting in the west midlands and we will see where that takes us.

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: I thank my hon. Friend for that very helpful intervention, with which I can only agree. As I was saying, for this reason we must avoid imposing any unnecessary control that might risk reversing the Office for National Statistics classification of housing associations as private sector organisations. Housing associations grant assured tenancies under the Housing Act 1988, including assured...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Before responding to the specific amendments, I would like to say a few words about a number of the issues that arose in Committee. Also, I am sorry that the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Melanie Onn) did not get that original letter; I will pass it over to her in a second. The issue of doctors charging fees for letters of evidence of domestic abuse was first raised in the other place and...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Sadly, I think the hon. Lady has misunderstood what the Bill is about. Funding for refuges and other supported housing will be dealt with by 2020 in a different vehicle. New clause 1 calls for a review into the potential for co-operation between local authorities in England and local authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to include consideration of the scope to extend the...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: That will certainly be part of the package, yes. I will read out the letter as well, because that is the killer punch. It is likely that most victims who flee from one part of the UK to another to escape domestic abuse and who are in need of housing would apply to a local authority for assistance on the basis that they were homeless. Homelessness legislation will provide a safety net for...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Parliamentary drafting is not an easy task, which is why people with greyer hair than mine do the job and I do not. I thank my right hon. Friend for making the situation quite clear. The commencement of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 does not change the situation. I do not believe that it would be appropriate to include a duty in the Bill—which applies in England only—to...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: The hon. Gentleman is trying to entice me down a road that I will not go down. This is parliamentary legislative drafting, and there should be no reason whatsoever for local authorities to misunderstand the situation, which will obviously also be made clear in guidance. However, I thank him for giving me the opportunity to say it again. We will be issuing guidance to assist local authorities...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: That is a slightly different clause, which I will come to in a moment. With that in mind, and taking into account the fact that amendment 1 is unnecessary for the reasons I have given, I therefore ask for it not to be pressed. On amendment 2, I appreciate the concern of hon. Members to prevent further stress and anxiety. Survivors of domestic abuse have already suffered experiences that most...

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: It was emailed to the hon. Lady and all Committee members this morning.

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: Duty to review cooperation between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (8 May 2018)

Heather Wheeler: It is dated 8 May. It was sent over the bank holiday weekend.

Housing, Communities and Local Government: Homelessness (30 Apr 2018)

Heather Wheeler: Tackling homelessness is a key priority for this Government, which is why we are spending over £1.2 billion through to 2020, we have implemented the most ambitious legislative reform in decades—the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 —and we will be publishing our rough sleeping strategy by July this year.

Housing, Communities and Local Government: Homelessness (30 Apr 2018)

Heather Wheeler: The pilots will support some of the most entrenched rough sleepers in our society to end their homelessness. We are nearing the end of a detailed implementation and planning process with the three regions, and I look forward to updating the House further in due course.

Housing, Communities and Local Government: Homelessness (30 Apr 2018)

Heather Wheeler: I thank the hon. Lady for that rant. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that she might be—what is the word we are looking for? [Interruption.] Some of the most important parts of the Act will be implemented in October, so councils have six months to get their places in order.


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