Written Question
Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel
21 Sep 2020, 5:57 p.m.

Questioner: Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel last met; and how many meetings that Panel has held in the last 12 months.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The Government is committed to ending rough sleeping. The Advisory Panel met in June, and ministers and officials have had numerous meetings with panel members over the last 12 months. We are committed to continuing regular conversations and following through on actions taken.


Written Question
Private Rented Housing: Rents
21 Sep 2020, 5:16 p.m.

Questioner: Thangam Debbonaire

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 87573 on Private Rented Housing: Rents, what statistics the Government is collecting on the number of people in the private rented sector who are in arrears.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government has established an unprecedented package of support to protect renters throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and as with all policy making, this is informed by a range of data sources.


Written Question
Private Rented Housing: Coronavirus
21 Sep 2020, 5:15 p.m.

Questioner: Sarah Olney

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support renters served a Section 21 between 21 and 29 August who did not qualify for the additional three month extension of the notice period.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government has established an unprecedented package of support to protect renters throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes legislating through the Coronavirus Act 2020 to delay when landlords can evict tenants, a 6 month stay on possession proceedings in court and a range of financial support to enable renters to continue paying their living costs, including rental payments. This financial support includes increasing Local Housing Allowance rates so that they are set at the 30th percentile of local market rents in each area, which will remain in place throughout the winter period until at least the end of March 2021.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, landlords serving notice of their intention to seek possession between 21 and 29 August would have been required to give their tenants at least three months notice. Where possession cases do go to court, new court rules mean that landlords are now required to set out any information they are aware of in relation to how their tenant, or any dependant of their tenant has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Where this information is not provided, judges have the ability to adjourn proceedings until such information is provided. Courts will carefully prioritise the most egregious cases, including anti-social behaviour, fraud, and domestic abuse, ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes. In addition, guidance will also be issued to bailiffs highlighting that they should not enforce possession orders in places where local public health restrictions have been introduced by government through legislation or in England and Wales across 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021.


Written Question
Sleeping Rough
21 Sep 2020, 4:30 p.m.

Questioner: Mike Hill

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on ending rough sleeping.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The Government is clear that no one should be without a roof over their head. That is why we have committed to ending rough sleeping within this parliament. The most recent national figures, from the Official 2019 Rough Sleeping Snapshot, showed that the number of people sleeping on our streets on a single night fell for the second year in a row and a reduction on previous year.


Written Question
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Correspondence
21 Sep 2020, 4:29 p.m.

Questioner: Catherine West

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his Department's average reply time has been for ministerial letters in each of the last five months.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The department aims to respond to all correspondence promptly and ahead of the 20 working days target. The average time taken for MHCLG to respond to letters from MPs and Peers in the last 5 months is as follows:

April: 13.4 working days
May: 18.0 working days
June: 18.9 working days
July: 18.7 working days
Aug: 18.0 working days


Written Question
UK Shared Prosperity Fund
21 Sep 2020, 4:10 p.m.

Questioner: Steve Reed

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much funding will be available through his Department's proposed Shared Prosperity Fund.

Answer (Luke Hall)

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to creating a UK Shared Prosperity Fund that tackles inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations, whilst at a minimum matching the size of European structural funds in each nation. Final decisions on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will need to be made through a cross-Government Spending Review, and we will set out further plans for the fund in due course.


Written Question
Planning: Injunctions
21 Sep 2020, 2:07 p.m.

Questioner: Alberto Costa

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to support local authorities seeing to obtain High Court injunctions in planning disputes.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Planning injunctions are one of the tools available to local planning authorities to address breaches of planning control. We recently funded the National Association of Planning Enforcement Officers to update their planning enforcement handbook which provides information about these tools to enforcement officers.

We will also, as part of our planning reforms set out in the Planning for the Future White Paper, be reviewing and strengthening the existing planning enforcement powers and sanctions available to local planning authorities to ensure they support the new planning system.


Written Question
Planning Permission
21 Sep 2020, 2:07 p.m.

Questioner: Anthony Browne

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for proposals in Planning for the Future White Paper, published on 6 August 2020 to tackle the issue of developers obtaining planning permission but not proceeding to build within a reasonable timeframe.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

New homes should be built out as soon as possible once planning permission is granted. We are clear that where sites are stalled or experiencing delays to delivery, it is for local authorities and developers to work closely together at a local level to overcome these barriers.

To support build out through planning, we propose to make it clear in the revised National Planning Policy Framework that the masterplans and design codes for sites prepared for substantial development should seek to include a variety of development types by different builders which allow more phases to come forward together.

We will be exploring further options to support faster build out as part of our proposed planning reforms as outlined in the Planning White Paper.


Written Question
Planning: Natural Resources
21 Sep 2020, 2:06 p.m.

Questioner: Anthony Browne

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Planning for the Future White Paper, published on 6 August 2020 will take account of the limitations set by the availability of natural resources such as water in the allocation of growth zones.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The National Planning Policy Framework and its accompanying planning practice guidance expects local planning authorities to plan for the development and co-ordination of the infrastructure required in their area, including infrastructure for water. They should work with providers, such as water companies, to assess the quality and capacity of infrastructure and its ability to meet forecast demands. The water companies are already statutory consultees on local plan development and can be consulted on a non-statutory basis for individual planning applications.

In addition, the Building Regulations already provide a water use standard and a lower optional standard for water stressed areas, which a local planning authority can impose for new homes as a condition of planning permission. DEFRA led a consultation on measures to reduce personal water use in 2019, which included this standard. A formal government response will be published by the end of 2020.

The Planning for the Future White Paper includes proposals to ensure that all local development plans are assessed against a sustainable development test to ensure there is the right balance between environmental, economic and social objectives. Plans should be informed by appropriate infrastructure planning, and sites should not be included in the plan where there is no reasonable prospect of any infrastructure that may be needed coming forward within the plan period. Plan-making policies in the National Planning Policy Framework will make this clear.


Written Question
Planning Permission
21 Sep 2020, 2:06 p.m.

Questioner: Barbara Keeley

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what consultation his Department carried out with (a) Salford city council, (b) Greater Manchester resilience forum and (c) other bodies referenced in Schedule 1(1) to the Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 Order.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Special Development Order requires a border department to engage with local authorities and a range of other parties ahead of any submission to my department to seek to use a site for border facilities and associated infrastructure.


Written Question
Planning Permission
21 Sep 2020, 2:05 p.m.

Questioner: Barbara Keeley

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that permissions under article 3 of the Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 are subject to consultation with local residents and businesses.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Special Development Order does not approve the use of specific sites, and the border departments defined in the Order are required to seek approval from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to use and develop a specific site.

The Order requires a border department to engage with local authorities and a range of other parties ahead of a formal request for approval to use a site. The Order sets out that a request for approval must include a report setting out the engagement activities that have been undertaken, and the outcomes of those activities. The report should include a statement of the period given to engagement parties to make representation being no less than 14 calendar days.


Written Question
Housing: Construction
21 Sep 2020, 2:04 p.m.

Questioner: Tim Farron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish modelling undertaken by his Department on the potential effect of the proposed expansion of the Small Sites Exemption Policy on (a) the number of sites likely to be exempted and (b) the delivery of social and affordable housing.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government is currently consulting on this matter. Details of the impact are set out in the consultation document: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-current-planning-system.


Written Question
Land: Sales
21 Sep 2020, 2:04 p.m.

Questioner: Tim Farron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to analyse the extent of the use of options agreements in the English land market in order to understand how a shift to a zonal planning system will increase the amounts of land being made available to small and medium sized developers.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

My Department is currently consulting on options for increasing the transparency of contractual controls, including options agreements, used to exercise control over land. The consultation can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907213/Call_for_evidence_on_Contractual_Controls.pdf. It closes on 30 October 2020.


Written Question
Affordable Housing: Construction
21 Sep 2020, 2:03 p.m.

Questioner: Tim Farron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the proposed National Infrastructure Levy on the flexibility of affordable housing policies in high-value areas.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29th October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.


Written Question
Housing: Construction
21 Sep 2020, 2:03 p.m.

Questioner: Tim Farron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the proposed National Infrastructure Levy for increasing the delivery of on-site (a) social and (b) affordable housing.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29th October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.


Written Question
Housing: Construction
21 Sep 2020, 2:03 p.m.

Questioner: Tim Farron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of potential effect of the proposed National Infrastructure Levy on local authorities' prioritisation of the delivery of social and affordable housing.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29th October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.


Written Question
Buildings: Insulation
21 Sep 2020, 2:02 p.m.

Questioner: Mike Amesbury

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much has been allocated from the £200 million fund for the removal of ACM cladding to date.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Current data on the allocation of ACM remediation funding is included in the monthly Building Safety Data Release, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding#acm-remediation-data.


Written Question
Planning Permission: Local Press
21 Sep 2020, 2:01 p.m.

Questioner: Sarah Champion

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he has carried out an impact assessment on the removal of the statutory requirement to publicise planning applications in local newspapers on the (a) number of people who would be excluded from seeing such notices and (b) revenue reduction to local newspapers as a result of the removal of that requirement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Local planning authorities are required to publicise certain types of planning applications in local newspapers as set out in Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015. In the response to coronavirus restrictions, temporary regulations have been introduced to supplement the existing statutory publicity arrangements for planning applications. Local planning authorities now have the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirement for newspaper publicity – for instance, if the local newspaper is not now in circulation. These steps can include the use of social media and other electronic communications, such as local online news portals, and must be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposed development. However, if a local planning authority is required to publicise a planning application in a local newspaper, and that paper is still in circulation, then they must continue to do so.


Written Question
Planning
21 Sep 2020, 2 p.m.

Questioner: Alberto Costa

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps he has taken to ensure the (a) transparency and (b) integrity of the planning system.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government is committed to ensuring the transparency and integrity of the planning system.

The Planning for the Future White Paper published on 6 August sets out our proposals for a reformed planning system. Central to that vision is a transparent system where local authorities, communities and developers can engage in an open and transparent way with the planning system, and where there is more certainty about where development is going to take place. By having a simple, clear, more rules based system, which has democracy and community engagement at its core, we will guarantee the integrity of the planning system.


Written Question
Housing: Insulation
21 Sep 2020, 2 p.m.

Questioner: Marsha De Cordova

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to support homeowners who cannot sell their homes due to the freeholder of their building not providing them with an EWS1 certificate.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The Government recognises the difficulties that some homeowners are facing in being able to provide mortgage lenders with a completed EWS1, as well as capacity challenges affecting building owners commissioning the form.

The Department is encouraging mortgage lenders to accept other equivalent evidence from building owners for valuation purposes and is working with professional bodies to increase the number of skilled professionals that can complete EWS1 forms.


Written Question
Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
18 Sep 2020, 2:49 p.m.

Questioner: Richard Fuller

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what proportion of local authorities with excess funding under Phase 1 of the Coronavirus local authority discretionary grants scheme scheme (a) kept all their criteria unaltered for subsequent phases and (b) amended the criteria to widen eligibility for subsequent phases of that scheme.

Answer (Luke Hall)

On 1 May, Government announced up to £617 million available in the form of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to support certain small businesses that are not liable for business rates or rates relief and are therefore out of scope of the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.

Local authorities were responsible for defining precise eligibility for the scheme in their area, subject to businesses meeting the national eligibility criteria set out in the guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding .

We do not receive management information from local authorities on local scheme eligibility criteria over the lifetime of the Discretionary Grants Fund.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
18 Sep 2020, 2:48 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Matthew Offord

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether an organised religious service that takes place in a (a) back garden and (b) other outside venue, whilst respecting social distancing, complies with the covid-19 lockdown restrictions placed on religious worship.

Answer (Luke Hall)

In line with the regulations that came into force on 14 September, up to 6 people can gather in a private garden or other outdoor venue for any purpose. There are some limited exceptions where gatherings of more than six people are possible, but worship services are not exempted in private outdoor spaces


If anyone is considering arranging an event for more than 6 people in a public outdoor space they should liaise with those responsible for the open space in question to ensure that the event can be staged in a safe and legal way, which includes undertaking a risk assessment that considers security.


Written Question
Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
18 Sep 2020, 2:48 p.m.

Questioner: Richard Fuller

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he plans to take to ensure that unspent monies allocated to the coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund are (a) re-distributed under that scheme or (b) returned to central Government.

Answer (Luke Hall)

On 1 May, government announced up to £617 million available in the form of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) to support certain small businesses that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs and are therefore out of scope of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). As set out in the Grant Funding Schemes guidance, a local authority’s funding allocation for the LADGF equates to 5 per cent of the value of the hereditaments they have identified as in scope of the SBGF and RHLGF in their area: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses

Local authorities have now closed their LADGF schemes and are in the process of making final payments to businesses. These must be complete by 30 September. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will contact local authorities shortly to arrange the return of any unspent funds.


Written Question
Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
18 Sep 2020, 2:48 p.m.

Questioner: Richard Fuller

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much funding has been allocated to each local authority through the coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

Answer (Luke Hall)

On 1 May, government announced up to £617 million available in the form of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) to support certain small businesses that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs and are therefore out of scope of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). As set out in the Grant Funding Schemes guidance, a local authority’s funding allocation for the LADGF equates to 5 per cent of the value of the hereditaments they have identified as in scope of the SBGF and RHLGF in their area: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses

Local authorities have now closed their LADGF schemes and are in the process of making final payments to businesses. These must be complete by 30 September. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will contact local authorities shortly to arrange the return of any unspent funds.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
18 Sep 2020, 2:46 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Matthew Offord

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to guidance on covid-19 lockdown restrictions, what his Department defines as a place of worship.

Answer (Luke Hall)

As outlined in our guidance for the safe use of places of worship, a place of worship refers to a building used for regular religious ceremonies, communal worship or similar gatherings by religious organisations. It includes the use of surrounding grounds, for example, adjoining carparks, courtyards or gardens for which the venue managers are also responsible


The guidance also covers premises when being used for religious gatherings, even when their primary purpose is not for religious gatherings, such as a community centre. These premises will only be able to be used where they are permitted to be open, and additional guidance may be applicable.