We have invested more than £2 billion to enable council and housing association homes to be brought up to the Decent Homes standard, and have announced a £150 million funding pot to enable the regeneration of some of our most run-down estates.
Reforms we have introduced have given councils greater freedoms, including the retention of their full rental income. All 167 council landlords in England now have a long-term, stable source of funding, which they can use to better meet the needs of their tenants and local area, and have, on average, 15% more to spend on managing and maintaining their homes than under the previous system.
While we recognise that transformational estate regeneration may require some demolition of existing homes, this will need to be clearly justified. We would expect landlords to first consider options to upgrade and refurbish existing homes, in consultation with residents, in line with George Clarke’s 12 point plan (http://georgeclarke.com/2012/11/george-clarkes-empty-homes-manifesto-delivered-to-government-today/).
It is of course important that any modernisation, regeneration or demolition takes place only once the views of the local community have been taken into account.
I also refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement of 16 January 2015, Official Report, Column 35-37WS, which outlines what this Government has done to promote refurbishment and getting empty building back into use.