Results 161–180 of 1644 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Roberta Blackman-Woods

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: The hon. Gentleman has had much to say about pay to stay, but has he looked at the Government’s own consultation on the policy, which showed that 75% of people disagreed with the thresholds that the Government are setting? In fact, a huge majority disagreed with the voluntary policy that is already in place with a threshold of £60,000. I am not sure where the hon. Gentleman gets...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: As the hon. Lady knows, many people in this country and, I am sure, in her constituency, are on council waiting lists. What we should be thinking about is how to build more council houses to meet that need. Lords amendment 57 would increase the thresholds for pay to stay to £50,000 in London and £40,000 outside London in order to limit the damage that this dreadful policy will...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point and I shall come on to deal with that issue when discussing a later amendment. Why do the Government not want to provide the information I referred to and to have this scrutiny? The lack of information on this policy is an issue that has been taken up by the Public Accounts Committee, too. The Minister will be aware that it said: “It is not clear...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. If the Minister has those figures, we will give him an opportunity now to share them with us, as that would be extremely helpful in allowing us to know exactly what we are going to be voting on this evening. Although more information is important, we need to remind ourselves that the whole policy of selling off higher value council housing to fund the...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: Indeed, but I suspect that that is part of the Government’s rationale. Labour will be supporting the Lords in their amendment 47.

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: My hon. Friend has asked the Minister to make that confirmation, but I doubt that he will take her up on that offer. Let me move on to pay to stay, another pernicious bit of the Bill. As we all know, that is a tax on tenants and a tax on aspiration and will lead to many people having to leave their homes or increase their levels of personal indebtedness. The Minister should have talked to the...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: I look forward to the Minister’s answer to my hon. Friend’s question. Such people, however, will be faced with a situation in which even a modest rise in income will result in a significant hike in rent. We spoke to a couple with a combined income of just over £40,000—one was a part- time cleaner and the other a sales associate. They want their children to go to...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: As the hon. Gentleman sat on the Bill Committee, he should know that a voluntary scheme is already in place for local authorities and housing associations to do that very thing. The tenants also object to their housing being seen as subsidised. In response to a written question, Baroness Williams said: “Local housing authorities do not receive subsidy from the Exchequer; the Localism...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: In the main, council housing in this country is allocated on the basis of need.

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: The right hon. Gentleman makes a really good point; that person will get absolutely nothing.

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: I have already given way to the hon. Lady. Lords amendment 54 would limit the damage of pay to stay by making it voluntary for local authorities, with authorities treated in the same way as housing associations. I do not understand why the Minister wants to treat council tenants differently. All the amendment asks is that council tenants are treated in exactly the same way as housing...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: I do not accept most of what the hon. Gentleman says. What we must do is build lots more council houses in this country. Lords amendment 55 would introduce a taper of 10p in every pound of a social tenant’s income above the minimum income threshold. This sensible measure would ensure that tenants would not face the cliff edge of a small rise in income leading to a huge rent increase....

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: I thank their lordships for their amazing work on this Bill. Thirteen defeats and a string of concessions means that some of the sharpest edges have been knocked off a very bad Bill, but it remains an extraordinary and extreme piece of proposed legislation. Concern is being voiced by housing experts, charities, house builders, mortgage lenders, and Conservatives across a range of council...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: As the hon. Gentleman will know, Labour produced more than 1 million more homeowners during our time in government. This Bill shows that the current Government have no long-term housing plan for the country.

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: Absolutely. The question is: will this Bill deliver the homes? We do not think it will. Faced with this bad Bill, a ridiculous timetable and long sittings, the other place has not only done an excellent job scrutinising the Bill, but improved it to make it slightly more palatable. If only the Government had had the grace to accept changes on starter homes, pay to stay and the forced sale of...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: The hon. Gentleman makes a reasonable point, but the point I am making is that we will need not only starter homes, but other types of homes, particularly those for social rent. That is why the numbers should be subject to local determination and not central diktat. To everyone except the Government, it appears eminently sensible that the need for starter homes should be assessed locally and...

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: But surely the hon. Gentleman must agree that the way of dealing with that is through the local plan-making system. Indeed, one of the amendments we might deal with later in our discussions this evening relates to the requirement that is finally being placed on local government by this Government to produce a local plan.

Housing and Planning Bill: What is a starter home? (3 May 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: Absolutely. My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and it shows why a local test of the need for starter homes is so important. As I was saying, Lords amendment 9 is not a block on starter homes but a requirement that they are part of a local housing mix. For that reason we shall be supporting the Lords in this amendment. We also find it odd that the Government want to replace Lords...

Backbench Business: Clean Water and Sanitation (Africa) — [Andrew Percy in the Chair] (21 Apr 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship again, Mr Percy. I apologise to you and the Front Benchers for not being able to stay for the whole debate. I have a meeting in my constituency later, so I have to get the train. As Members know, my constituency is quite a way away, so it will take me a few hours to get there. I congratulate the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) on...

Backbench Business: Clean Water and Sanitation (Africa) — [Andrew Percy in the Chair] (21 Apr 2016)

Roberta Blackman-Woods: I was going to acknowledge WaterAid’s work later in my speech, not least because Northumbrian Water, which is based in my constituency, does a lot of work with it. Northumbrian Water has been very energetic in getting MPs in our region to take note of the sort of issues that WaterAid gets involved with. Since 2000, there have been two rounds of UN-sponsored global international...


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