Rachel Maclean: Further to the measures under debate in the Social Housing Regulation Bill, approaches to regeneration should have the support of a majority of residents. Residents and the wider community should have the opportunity to have a say on the choices and options, master-planning and design.
Rachel Maclean: ...of a short-term let use class and associated permitted development rights. Those changes would give councils more control over the number of new short-term lets and help them to meet local housing needs.
Rachel Maclean: The Government are committed to increasing affordable housing of all kinds, which is why we are investing £11.5 billion, through the affordable homes programme, to deliver tens of thousands of homes for rent and sale right across the country.
Rachel Maclean: Currently all houses in multiple occupations (HMOs) in which 5 or more unrelated people live, or 3 or more in areas with additional licensing, must be licensed, including those occupied by asylum seekers.
Rachel Maclean: I thank the hon. Gentleman. He is probably the only Member of this House who has real experience of the system working.
Rachel Maclean: The department does not hold this data. Social tenants are not prevented from running a business from their home under current housing legislation, but some tenancy agreements may include terms preventing them from doing so. We would expect landlords not to withhold permission unreasonably.
Rachel Maclean: The National Planning Policy Framework already sets out that local authorities should assess the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community and reflect this in planning policies, including through their site allocations.
Rachel Maclean: The Department continues to work alongside Homes England, as the Government's Housing and Regeneration Agency.
Rachel Maclean: What I said was that the programme is from 2016 to 2023. It is already delivering affordable housing. I will send the hon. Gentleman a copy of my speech, and he will find it in Hansard.
Rachel Maclean: The Secretary of State for Levelling Up tabled a written ministerial statement yesterday on the Government’s plans, but I am happy to provide an update to the House. In proposing these amendments, we are responding to calls from local—
Rachel Maclean: The Government remains committed to the Right to Buy, which since 1980 has enabled over two million social housing tenants to become homeowners. Any future announcements will be set out in the usual way.
Rachel Maclean: The merits and economic case for how to approach a regeneration of an estate will vary in different places. The local authority, relevant housing association, together with partners and residents are best placed to carry out an assessment based on the local context.
Rachel Maclean: I note that the Bill will bring with it powers to levy a precept on council tax payers. I am concerned about local council tax payers having to pay more. Will my hon. Friend enlighten the House as to what he thinks the amount of the precept will be and how it will affect local council tax payers?
Rachel Maclean: The Department is engaging with Transport for London, The Department for Education, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and London Councils on how a temporary suspension of under 18s free bus and tram travel could be implemented whilst ensuing that any child eligible for free home to school travel under the Education Act 1996 still receive this.
Rachel Maclean: I agree entirely. I thank my hon. Friend for the excellent debate that he brought to Westminster Hall, in which we discussed these issues in detail. I am happy to reiterate to the House that we will legislate, when parliamentary time allows, to deal with many of the issues that he has raised that are affecting freehold homeowners.
Rachel Maclean: ...to my attention as a local MP is the time that it can take the council to turn around the voids when one tenant leaves and another comes on stream. Will this provision affect the council’s housing stock? I would be grateful for that clarification.
Rachel Maclean: ...up my constituency office to the Disability Confident scheme, because I know, as a former employer in a small business, that there are practical and awareness barriers. Will the Minister update the House on some of the practical measures he is implementing to help employers employ disabled people who really want to work?
Rachel Maclean: As set out in “Guidance: Closing certain businesses and venues” issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, garages are among the exceptions to businesses which must close, and may remain open. All non-essential retail must close, including those retailers selling car parts and accessories. However online retailers, including those supplying car parts may remain open.
Rachel Maclean: I thank my hon. Friend for raising such an important issue. These and many other issues are captured in the rape review. Every Member of this House will be concerned about the level of rape prosecutions, which is why the Government are working across Departments to improve the system overall, and it is absolutely right that we do so.
Rachel Maclean: ...introducing a number of measures, as she set out, to support that brownfield-first approach, including requiring every local authority to publish a register of local brownfield land suitable for housing in their area.