Baroness Thornhill Portrait

Baroness Thornhill

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

Became Member: 21st October 2015

Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Housing)

(since September 2021)

Baroness Thornhill is not a member of any APPGs
2 Former APPG memberships
Private Rented Sector, SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) House Builders
Built Environment Committee
14th Apr 2021 - 31st Jan 2024
Gambling Industry Committee
13th Jun 2019 - 16th Jun 2020
Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Committee
17th May 2018 - 26th Mar 2019
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)
3rd Dec 2015 - 17th May 2016


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 11th March 2024
15:00
Preterm Birth Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Preterm Birth
11 Mar 2024, 3 p.m. View calendar
Department Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Representation of the People (Variation of Election Expenses and Exclusions) Regulations 2024
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 18th March 2024
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
North East Mayoral Combined Authority (Establishment and Functions) Order 2024
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Monday 4th March 2024
Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 71 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 258 Noes - 171
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Housebuilding
My Lords, the report highlights the now widespread practice by local authorities of the non-adoption of public amenities, such as …
Written Answers
Monday 4th March 2024
Household Support Fund
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential impact of ending the Household Support Fund …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Thornhill has voted in 399 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

15 Jun 2020 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Baroness Thornhill voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 4 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 72 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 112 Noes - 388
View All Baroness Thornhill Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative)
(42 debate interactions)
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
(40 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(8 debate contributions)
Home Office
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023
(9,823 words contributed)
Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023
(3,027 words contributed)
Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Act 2021
(1,694 words contributed)
Non-Domestic Rating Act 2023
(1,222 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Baroness Thornhill's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Thornhill, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Baroness Thornhill has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Thornhill has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


59 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the reasons behind their decision to ask the Premier League to bail out the English Football League.

Football clubs are often the bedrock of our local communities and it is vital they are protected. That is why the Government has provided an unprecedented financial support package for businesses, which many football clubs have benefitted from.

The Government is focusing its direct support on those sports and clubs most urgently in need after the decision not to readmit spectators from 1 October. Having spent heavily in the recent transfer window, professional football has demonstrated that, at the top tiers, it has the means to support itself through the pandemic.

I was pleased that the Premier League has made it clear that it will not let any English Football League (EFL) club fail due to the pandemic and I expect significant progress to be made imminently on an agreement for a financial support package for EFL clubs.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the evidence of Alan Law, Deputy Chief Executive, Natural England, to the Built Environment Select Committee on 20 June that “there is a less onerous regulatory regime in place currently in relation to agricultural source pollution” than that imposed on the construction sector; and what are the reasons for this.

This Government is taking a range of steps across the agriculture and water industry sectors to reduce water pollution at source to protect the environment.

We are committed to having a fair and proportionate regulatory regime for agriculture. This means applying the polluter pays principle in a way that ensures that farming and food production can be resilient and sustainable over the long term while also protecting the environment. We committed through the Environmental Improvement Plan and Plan for Water to review our farming regulations to ensure they are fit for purpose for our environmental and farming ambitions.

Farms are subject to robust regulations on agricultural activities which could cause environmental harm, including through the Farming Rules for Water and the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations. These set out clear standards and a baseline that farmers must comply with. Many requirements, including those for slurry storage and nutrient application, require significant investment from farmers to meet.

We have increased funding to the Environment Agency for 50 new farm inspectors to ensure that agricultural diffuse pollution regulations are followed. This enabled them to conduct over 4,000 farm inspections in the last fiscal year. We launched the Slurry Infrastructure grant in 2022 to support farmers to bring their capacity up to six months of covered slurry storage which allows farmers to manage their resources while protecting the environment. We have nearly trebled our first-round budget to £34 million, with round two due to launch this autumn.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential impact of ending the Household Support Fund on 31 March on (1) the number of people experiencing destitution, and (2) wider public services including the NHS, social care, and homelessness services.

The current Household Support Fund runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, and the Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

The Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families.

Our approach to tackling poverty is based on clear evidence that parental employment, particularly where its full time, reduces the risk of poverty. In the financial year 21/22, children living in households where all adults work were around five times less likely to be in absolute poverty after housing costs than those living in workless households.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock”.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the Government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6 million low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish details of the average gap between the Local Housing Allowance and rents, broken down by (1) local authority, and (2) parliamentary constituency.

The department currently has no plans to publish details of the average gap between the Local Housing Allowance and rents for any geographical breakdowns.

6th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the level of funding of the public health grant to local authorities.

At the Spending Review 2021, we considered the need for local authority public health funding and confirmed that the public health grant to local authorities in England would increase over the settlement period.  In 2022/23, the Grant increased by 2.81% to £3.417 billion. This is in addition to targeted investment through local Government in Start for Life support and drug and alcohol treatment services.

We will announce 2023/24 Public Health Grant allocations to local authorities shortly, and in doing so will consider the impact of changes to pay and inflation trends and forecasts since the Spending Review.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they plan to inform local authorities of their provisional public health grant budgets for 2023–24.

We will announce 2023/24 Public Health Grant allocations to local authorities shortly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the public health grant in (1) 2023–24, and (2) 2024–25 will increase in line with inflation as announced in the Spending Review 2021.

We will announce 2023/24 Public Health Grant allocations to local authorities in England shortly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the re-development of the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s plans for improvements at (1) Watford, (2) Hemel Hempstead, and (3) St Albans, have been paused; and so, what are the (a) reasons, and (b) rationale, for this pause.

The overall delivery of the new hospital scheme has not been paused. We continue to work with West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and all hospitals in the programme.

26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they monitor progress in implementing the recommendations of the final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 Modernising the Mental Health Act: increasing choice, reducing compulsion, published on 6 December 2018; and what plans they have to report to Parliament on progress made.

We remain committed to publishing a White Paper which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and pave the way for reform of the Act. We aim to publish before the end of the year.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many GPs have been in practice for each year since 2010.

The number of full time equivalent (FTE) doctors working in general practice in each year since 2015 has been provided in the following table. Data is not included prior to 2015 as improvements were made to the methodology for recording all staff working in general practice in September 2015 and data prior to this is not comparable.

Number of all doctors in general practice

FTE

September 2015

34,429

September 2016

35,229

September 2017

34,653

September 2018

34,534

September 2019

34,862

Source: NHS Digital

Notes:

  1. Data as at 30 September 2019.
  2. Figures shown do not include general practice staff working in prisons, army bases, educational establishments, specialist care centres including drug rehabilitation centres, walk-in centres and other alternative settings.
  3. Figures contain estimates, for practices that did not provide fully valid General Medical Practice general practitioner (GP), nurse or direct patient care staff records.
  4. The figures presented include GP registrars and GP locums.
  5. Data collected and published prior to September 2015 is not comparable due to a change in data collection methodology.
  6. Data must be compared from the same time point in the year, therefore September data is provided to allow comparison for the earliest available data.
  7. FTE refers to the proportion of full-time contracted hours that the post holder is contracted to work. 1 would indicate they work a full set of hours (37.5), 0.5 that they worked half time. In Registrars' contracts 1 FTE = 40 hours. To ensure consistency, these FTEs have been converted to the standard wMDS measure of 1 FTE = 37.5 hours in the table.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 20 January (HL Deb, col 916) that the situation in Kashmir “needs to be resolved bilaterally”, what assessment they have made of the possibility of mediating between the governments of India and Kashmir in order to implement the recommendations made in the report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Update of the Situation of Human Rights in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019.

Our longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution on Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or act as a mediator. Any external mediation on Kashmir would need to be jointly agreed by India and Pakistan. We recognise that there are human rights concerns in India-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and have noted the recommendations in the OHCHR report for the authorities in India, the Government of Pakistan, and the Human Rights Council. Any allegation of human rights violations or abuses are deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of India's revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

We are monitoring the situation in Kashmir closely. We are in regular contact with the Government of India. Most recently, I raised our concerns regarding restrictions and detentions in Kashmir with the Indian Minister of State for External and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Muraleedharan. We have called for restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible. It is important that individual rights are fully respected and that there is constructive dialogue with affected communities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the transitional relief arrangements established for the 2017 business rates revaluation will be amended for the coming rate year in order for businesses who have not yet received the full benefits of the reduction in their rateable value at the 2017 revaluation to see their rates bills fall.

The Government has no immediate plans to change transitional relief arrangements. Transitional relief must strike a balance between supporting businesses with both rising and falling bills as a result of the revaluation.

Businesses in downwards transitional arrangements will still have their bills reduced next year at the capped rate in the normal way.

The fundamental review of business rates will consider all parts of the business rates system, including reliefs.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) private dental practices, and (2) the English Football League Championship, were excluded from COVID-19 financial support schemes; and if so, why.

The Government has set out a range of measures of support for private dental practices and the English Football League Championship during the Covid-19 outbreak. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and further measures to support all businesses, such as tax deferrals, business rates relief and support with Statutory Sick Pay.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the funding available to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic has been allocated to date.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. We have taken further steps to give businesses access to cash to pay rent, salaries or suppliers, alongside a commitment to pay 80% of the regular monthly wages, up to £2,500, of furloughed workers for four months, via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

So far over £15 billion has been issued through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF) and over £4.4 billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) (as of 30 April). On 20 April the Government launched the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), and the first CLBILS loans have already been agreed. The Bounce Back Loan scheme launched on 4 May. Together these measures ensure almost all viable UK businesses can apply for a government backed loan.

The CJRS went live on 20 April. There is no limit on the amount of funding available for the CJRS.

All eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April. This support is worth over £9.5 billion to businesses. In addition, all business are able to defer VAT for up to 12 months which is worth over £30 billion or 1.5% of GDP.

The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund are already making a real difference to many thousands of businesses across the UK, which have received a total of over £8.6 billion since the schemes were launched.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to extend the business rate relief scheme to other sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, has also been made available. For example, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank backed by an 80% Government guarantee, and has deferred VAT payments for this quarter.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to amend the Licensing Act 2003 to allow local authorities to take action against premises that are not complying with COVID-19 guidelines.

The Government believes that the best approach is to take action against all businesses that fail to operate in a COVID-secure way, not just those that are licensed.

A licensing authority must carry out its functions under the Licensing Act 2003 with a view to promoting four licensing objectives, which are the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance, public safety and the protection of children. Public health is not one of the four objectives and the Government cannot encourage licensing authorities to take action on those grounds.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to encourage local authorities to use the powers available to them under the Licensing Act 2003 to take action based on public health grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government believes that the best approach is to take action against all businesses that fail to operate in a COVID-secure way, not just those that are licensed.

A licensing authority must carry out its functions under the Licensing Act 2003 with a view to promoting four licensing objectives, which are the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance, public safety and the protection of children. Public health is not one of the four objectives and the Government cannot encourage licensing authorities to take action on those grounds.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report of the Home Builders Federation State of Play: Challenges and opportunities facing SME home builders, published on 22 January, regarding the number of small and medium-sized enterprise builders going out of business; what assessment they have made of the impact of this on the supply of new homes; and whether they have plans to support this subsector.

The Government wants to see a diverse and competitive housebuilding sector. We are aware of the challenges that small and medium sized (SME) housebuilders are facing, which is why we are supporting them through the £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund (LUHBF) and the £1 billion ENABLE Build guarantee programme. LUHBF provides loans to SMEs to help build around 42,000 homes across the country. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act will also help SMEs by making the planning process easier to navigate, faster and more predictable.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what percentage of social homes outside London have a non-British citizen as the lead tenant.

Using English Housing Survey data, we estimate that in 2021-22, 6.8% of social households outside London had a household reference person who was not a UK or Irish national. For London, this figure is 14.7%.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how much public money has been allocated to promote Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in the past five years, and whether they intend to publish a strategy to encourage the use of MMC.

The Government is committed to supporting the Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) sector and tackling the barriers to growth it faces. Our support includes funding to build MMC homes through the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, developing a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for MMC with the British Standards Institution (BSI), and providing financial support for MMC manufacturers through the £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund.

We are considering the Lords’ Built Environment Committee’s recommendations including the recommendation to publish the strategy.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many councils have an up-to-date council plan.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that up-to-date local plans should provide a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities.

All the information requested and more, on the status of Local Plan, is published by the Planning Inspectorate can be found on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-plan-monitoring-progress

Baroness Swinburne
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many councils do not have an up-to-date council plan; and, of these, how many have plans that are respectively more than (1) five years, (2) 10 years, and (3) 15 years out of date.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that up-to-date local plans should provide a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities.

All the information requested and more, on the status of Local Plan, is published by the Planning Inspectorate can be found on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-plan-monitoring-progress

Baroness Swinburne
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
20th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the extension of the public guarantee scheme for the social housing sector.

The Department keeps its housing guarantee schemes, including the £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme 2020, under review to ensure they continue to support the housing market. When these schemes, which are demand-led, approach their maximum deployment, we will consider their extension.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to a long-term settlement for social housing rent.

The Government continues to support the principle that social housing rents should be index-linked over the long-term, to support investment in both new and existing social homes.

We also intend to consult this year on social housing rent policy from April 2025.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce updated regulations following the consultation Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings, published 23 December 2022; and what assessment they have made of claims that the uncertainty has led to new home construction being paused.

The Sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings consultation set out proposals to amend Building Regulations statutory guidance (Approved Document B). It closed in March 2023. More than 270 responses were received from industry, trade professions, residents’ groups and others, which are being analysed now. We recognise the construction industry’s need for clarity and we will provide that to the sector as soon as possible.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish an assessment of the implications of the proposed infrastructure levy.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill gives the Government powers to create a new Infrastructure Levy. This will be a mandatory, non-negotiable charge, set and collected locally.

The Government is committed to the delivery of on-site affordable housing through the Levy, and to delivering at least as much, if not more, affordable housing than at present.

Section 204G(2) of the Bill sets out that, when setting Infrastructure Levy rates, local planning authorities will need to have regard to the level of affordable housing that is already secured through developer contributions, recognising the desirability of maintaining the level at which affordable housing is delivered.

We will also introduce through regulations a new 'right to require', which will allow local authorities to require developers to deliver a set proportion of their Levy liability as onsite, in-kind affordable housing. Developers will not be able to negotiate their affordable housing obligations downwards, which offers significant protection of affordable housing delivery over the present system.

The Levy will be brought forward through regulations that will set out the detail of how it will operate. We intend to consult on this detail, prior to any publication of regulations.

The Levy will be implemented through a ‘test and learn’ approach to support local authorities through the transition period. This will see the Levy rolled out in some local authorities in the first instance, before wider national roll-out over several years. This approach will aid the monitoring and evaluation of the Levy where it is introduced initially, and support the creation of a system that works.

A Regulatory Impact Assessment has been published for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which includes specific impacts in relation to the Infrastructure Levy. Impact Assessments are required for all UK government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector and/or public services. The Impact Assessment has been reviewed and rated by the Regulatory and Policy Committee prior to publication, and the Department has received a 'Green' rating, meaning the Impact Assessment is fit for purpose. The Regulatory Impact Assessment can be found here.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any reforms to the planning system protect the delivery of affordable housing.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill gives the Government powers to create a new Infrastructure Levy. This will be a mandatory, non-negotiable charge, set and collected locally.

The Government is committed to the delivery of on-site affordable housing through the Levy, and to delivering at least as much, if not more, affordable housing than at present.

Section 204G(2) of the Bill sets out that, when setting Infrastructure Levy rates, local planning authorities will need to have regard to the level of affordable housing that is already secured through developer contributions, recognising the desirability of maintaining the level at which affordable housing is delivered.

We will also introduce through regulations a new 'right to require', which will allow local authorities to require developers to deliver a set proportion of their Levy liability as onsite, in-kind affordable housing. Developers will not be able to negotiate their affordable housing obligations downwards, which offers significant protection of affordable housing delivery over the present system.

The Levy will be brought forward through regulations that will set out the detail of how it will operate. We intend to consult on this detail, prior to any publication of regulations.

The Levy will be implemented through a ‘test and learn’ approach to support local authorities through the transition period. This will see the Levy rolled out in some local authorities in the first instance, before wider national roll-out over several years. This approach will aid the monitoring and evaluation of the Levy where it is introduced initially, and support the creation of a system that works.

A Regulatory Impact Assessment has been published for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which includes specific impacts in relation to the Infrastructure Levy. Impact Assessments are required for all UK government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector and/or public services. The Impact Assessment has been reviewed and rated by the Regulatory and Policy Committee prior to publication, and the Department has received a 'Green' rating, meaning the Impact Assessment is fit for purpose. The Regulatory Impact Assessment can be found here.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential impact of proposals in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill on the delivery of affordable housing.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill gives the Government powers to create a new Infrastructure Levy. This will be a mandatory, non-negotiable charge, set and collected locally.

The Government is committed to the delivery of on-site affordable housing through the Levy, and to delivering at least as much, if not more, affordable housing than at present.

Section 204G(2) of the Bill sets out that, when setting Infrastructure Levy rates, local planning authorities will need to have regard to the level of affordable housing that is already secured through developer contributions, recognising the desirability of maintaining the level at which affordable housing is delivered.

We will also introduce through regulations a new 'right to require', which will allow local authorities to require developers to deliver a set proportion of their Levy liability as onsite, in-kind affordable housing. Developers will not be able to negotiate their affordable housing obligations downwards, which offers significant protection of affordable housing delivery over the present system.

The Levy will be brought forward through regulations that will set out the detail of how it will operate. We intend to consult on this detail, prior to any publication of regulations.

The Levy will be implemented through a ‘test and learn’ approach to support local authorities through the transition period. This will see the Levy rolled out in some local authorities in the first instance, before wider national roll-out over several years. This approach will aid the monitoring and evaluation of the Levy where it is introduced initially, and support the creation of a system that works.

A Regulatory Impact Assessment has been published for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which includes specific impacts in relation to the Infrastructure Levy. Impact Assessments are required for all UK government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector and/or public services. The Impact Assessment has been reviewed and rated by the Regulatory and Policy Committee prior to publication, and the Department has received a 'Green' rating, meaning the Impact Assessment is fit for purpose. The Regulatory Impact Assessment can be found here.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many local plans have been approved without providing evidence that they will meet their housing targets.

As part of the plan-making process, local land constraints such as the green belt, sites of special scientific interest and national parks are considered in determining housing targets. All local plans are then subject to an independent examination to determine whether the plan is sound, legally compliant and aligns with national policy. As part of the examination the Inspector will determine whether the plan sets out an appropriate strategy for the area, based on proportionate evidence and whether the strategy is deliverable.

18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the status of the housing targets allocated to each council area; whether there is an expectation, as evidenced by the Housing Delivery Test, that they will be (1) met or (2) exceeded; and on what grounds targets could be negotiated downwards.

A crucial first step in making sure the country has the right amount of homes, is to plan for them. The National Planning Policy Framework expects local authorities to calculate local housing need using the standard method. However, our standard method is only the starting point in the process of planning for new homes. It is not a target. Local authorities will still need to consider the constraints they face locally to assess how many homes can be delivered in their area in setting their own housing targets when preparing their local plans.

The Housing Delivery Test exists to offer greater transparency on housing delivery in an area and encourages local authorities to be realistic about likely rates of delivery from sites in plans. Where delivery falls, policy consequences are applied to ensure more land is brought forward. The latest results show that the majority of those delivering 75% or less of the housing they need had a plan over 5 years old at the time of publication – this underlines the importance of having an up to date plan and proactively supporting development in a plan-led way.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how their proposals in the Supporting Housing Delivery and Public Service Infrastructure consultation to allow the conversion of use Class E units to residential will operate alongside local plans that have already been developed to identify where housing should be situated.

The new homes delivered under the Class E to residential Permitted Development Right will help to increase housing supply. The Right will include a prior approval process to allow for local consideration of specific planning matters such as the impact of the introduction of residential use in general industrial, waste management, or storage and distribution areas on future occupiers. In addition, all new homes delivered under the Right will need to meet Nationally Described Space Standards and provide adequate natural light in all habitable rooms. A full Impact Assessment has been prepared which will be published shortly.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of use Class E units converted to residential use, as proposed in the Supporting Housing Delivery and Public Service Infrastructure consultation, returning to high street or town centre uses.

The new homes delivered under the Class E to residential Permitted Development Right will help to increase housing supply. The Right will include a prior approval process to allow for local consideration of specific planning matters such as the impact of the introduction of residential use in general industrial, waste management, or storage and distribution areas on future occupiers. In addition, all new homes delivered under the Right will need to meet Nationally Described Space Standards and provide adequate natural light in all habitable rooms. A full Impact Assessment has been prepared which will be published shortly.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that proposals in the Supporting Housing Delivery and Public Service Infrastructure consultation do not lead to developments that (1) fail to meet adequate design standards, and (2) fail to contribute to local areas and result in poorer living environments.

The new homes delivered under the Class E to residential Permitted Development Right will help to increase housing supply. The Right will include a prior approval process to allow for local consideration of specific planning matters such as the impact of the introduction of residential use in general industrial, waste management, or storage and distribution areas on future occupiers. In addition, all new homes delivered under the Right will need to meet Nationally Described Space Standards and provide adequate natural light in all habitable rooms. A full Impact Assessment has been prepared which will be published shortly.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any reforms to the planning system protect the environment.

Our proposals in Planning for the Future seek to improve environmental outcomes. This will be achieved by amending the National Planning Policy Framework to ensure that it targets those areas where a reformed planning system can most effectively play a role in mitigating and adapting to climate change and maximising environmental benefits, while protecting and enhancing the most valuable and important habitats and species in England. The Government will respond to this consultation in due course. The Environment Bill will make 10 per cent net gains for biodiversity mandatory for most new developments, and also introduce Local Nature Recovery Strategies to secure enhancements through development schemes and contributions. We have also committed to review the environmental assessment process to help promote a clean, green recovery from the effects of coronavirus, and are taking this forward as part of the Planning for the Future reforms. Environmental protection will be at the heart of this review and where possible, any new framework will go further to take advantage of opportunities for environmental improvement.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possible impact the changes proposed in the Planning White Paper will have on the delivery of affordable housing.

The?proposal?to create a new Infrastructure Levy,?as set out in the?Planning for the Future?White Paper,?will?support?a more streamlined and accessible planning system. The new Levy will be designed to deliver at least as much onsite affordable housing as at present and will continue to be collected and spent at the local level, on priorities including infrastructure and affordable housing.

The consultation on the White Paper closed on 29 October. We are currently analysing the consultation responses and will publish a response in the Spring which will set out our decisions on the proposed way forward.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to consult with local authorities on the development of targets for new homes.

We consulted on changes to the standard method formula for assessing local housing need and have now considered the responses carefully. On Wednesday 16th December we announced that in order to ensure that the country meets the challenge of delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, we changed the formula to focus greater need into urban areas to maximise existing infrastructure and to support development that reduces the need for high-carbon travel.

We believe the new method achieves the balance between these objectives whilst also providing certainty and stability during a period of economic uncertainty for our communities, businesses, and development sector. The figures we published alongside the new formula are only indicative, and local housing need remains the starting point for planning for housing need. Authorities should consider how this is best met based on their local circumstance, based on land availability, and relevant constraints.

We continue to engage with those authorities who are facing challenges. The Spending Review confirmed initial funding of £7.1 billion for the National House Building Fund (NHBF) over the next four years to unlock up to 860,000 homes.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether objections by local objectors are given greater importance than objections by non-local objectors in planning decisions taken by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

All material planning considerations are taken into account in planning decisions. These are set out in the published decision letter and accompanying Inspector's report for each case, along with full reasons for the Secretary of State's decision.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government refused planning permission for the proposed changes to the Anglia Square shopping centre in Norwich.

The reasons for the Secretary of State's decision are set out in full in his decision letter of 12 November, which is available to view online at (attached) the following address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/planning-applications-called-in-decisions-and-recovered-appeals

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many completion notices have been confirmed by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in the last ten years for which figures are available; and what plans they have, if any, (1) to review, (2) to revoke, or (3) to revise, this power.

Since September 2010, 18 completion notices have been confirmed by Secretaries of State at the Department. The Housing White Paper in 2017 proposed reform of completion notices to support the faster build out of development, including removing the requirement for Secretary of State consent which required primary legislation. We are now considering whether to take forward this commitment as part of the implementation of the Planning for the Future White Paper which reconfirmed the importance of planning permissions being built out quickly.

21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their proposed First Homes policy on the provision of social and affordable rented homes.

The Government recognises the important role of affordable housing and supplying new homes of all affordable tenures. Affordable homes will help support people into home ownership; reduce the impact of high rents in the private rented sector where people struggle to afford it; and mitigate the risk of homelessness.

The Government is mindful of the trade-off between the level of ambition for First Homes, funded through developer contributions, and the supply of other affordable housing tenures. There are many factors that will affect this trade off beyond the level of First Homes delivery through section 106, especially any price/income caps or additional discounts in high value areas to increase affordability. We therefore do not consider it appropriate to make predictions until these factors are better understood through our response to the consultation, which we hope to publish soon.

The proportions of section 106 described in the consultation are illustrative examples and should not be taken as Government intentions at this stage. The lowest proportion at 40% was chosen as it is roughly equal to the current proportion of section 106 which delivers home ownership products (37% in 2018-2019).

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the compatibility of the expansion in permitted development rights with the integrity of the locally led planning system.

Permitted development rights for change of use to residential are making an important contribution to housing delivery, largely providing windfall housing that may otherwise not have been delivered through the planning system. The rights make effective use of existing buildings and help boost housing density, as part of our broader housing ambitions, without the need to build on greenfield sites.

In response to concerns raised in respect of the quality of some of the homes delivered through permitted development rights we now require adequate natural light to be provided in habitable rooms. The independent research informing our review has been published and is available at the following (attached) link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quality-standard-of-homes-delivered-through-change-of-use-permitted-development-rights

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many homes resulting from permitted development rights meet their nationally described space standard.

Permitted development rights for change of use to residential are making an important contribution to housing delivery, largely providing windfall housing that may otherwise not have been delivered through the planning system. The rights make effective use of existing buildings and help boost housing density, as part of our broader housing ambitions, without the need to build on greenfield sites.

In response to concerns raised in respect of the quality of some of the homes delivered through permitted development rights we now require adequate natural light to be provided in habitable rooms. The independent research informing our review has been published and is available at the following (attached) link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quality-standard-of-homes-delivered-through-change-of-use-permitted-development-rights

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on affordable housing provision of permitted development rules on the conversion of buildings into homes; and what plans they have to review these rules in response to any emerging evidence indicating a detrimental impact on affordable housing.

Permitted development rights for change of use to residential are making an important contribution to housing delivery, largely providing windfall housing that may otherwise not have been delivered through the planning system. The rights make effective use of existing buildings and help boost housing density, as part of our broader housing ambitions, without the need to build on greenfield sites.

In response to concerns raised in respect of the quality of some of the homes delivered through permitted development rights we now require adequate natural light to be provided in habitable rooms. The independent research informing our review has been published and is available at the following (attached) link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quality-standard-of-homes-delivered-through-change-of-use-permitted-development-rights

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the quality of homes resulting from permitted development rights to convert offices to residential use.

Permitted development rights for change of use to residential are making an important contribution to housing delivery, largely providing windfall housing that may otherwise not have been delivered through the planning system. The rights make effective use of existing buildings and help boost housing density, as part of our broader housing ambitions, without the need to build on greenfield sites.

In response to concerns raised in respect of the quality of some of the homes delivered through permitted development rights we now require adequate natural light to be provided in habitable rooms. The independent research informing our review has been published and is available at the following (attached) link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quality-standard-of-homes-delivered-through-change-of-use-permitted-development-rights

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when their review of permitted development rights for the conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered will be published.

Permitted development rights for change of use to residential are making an important contribution to housing delivery, largely providing windfall housing that may otherwise not have been delivered through the planning system. The rights make effective use of existing buildings and help boost housing density, as part of our broader housing ambitions, without the need to build on greenfield sites.

In response to concerns raised in respect of the quality of some of the homes delivered through permitted development rights we now require adequate natural light to be provided in habitable rooms. The independent research informing our review has been published and is available at the following (attached) link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quality-standard-of-homes-delivered-through-change-of-use-permitted-development-rights

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications of their First Homes policy for the locally led planning system in respect of addressing local housing needs.

The Government is committed to making the dream of home ownership a reality for everyone. Affordability is the biggest barrier to home ownership, and while this is partly due to a shortage of housing supply, low interest rates and high rents have limited the ability for young people to save the deposit they need to buy a home. We believe that First Homes are a key means of helping local people, especially young first-time buyers, into home ownership and maintaining strong communities.

It is for local authorities to determine how and where to best deliver their housing needs, and as we set out in our consultation on First Homes, which ran between February and May this year, we are supportive of empowering local decision-makers and conscious of reducing discretion to respond to local circumstances. Our response to this consultation, which will be published in due course, will provide further detail on this.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether work has been postponed on (1) plans to introduce 100 per cent business rate retention, and (2) the Fair Funding Review; and what steps they are taking to progress reforms to local government finance.

In April the government announced that it would not be implementing the Review of Relative Needs and Resources and the planned increase to the rate of business rates retention in 2021-22. This decision was taken to allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenges posed by the pandemic. As the local government finance system moves into a more stable position, we will engage with our partners in local government on a suitable timetable for continuing consultation and subsequently implementing a reform package.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Greenhalgh on 8 June (HL Deb, col 1542), whether they are considering any further measures to take planning powers from local councils such as the creation of development corporations.

The Government has already set out an ambitious programme to modernise our planning system. Our 'Planning for the Future' reforms will support the delivery of homes that local people need and create greener communities with more beautiful homes. Further details will be published in due course.

The Government is also going to examine and develop the case for up to four new development corporations in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, subject to public consultation, as well as explore options for regeneration around Toton, including the potential for delivery vehicles such as development corporations.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they make any distinction between (1) social housing, and (2) affordable housing, when collating statistics on the number of homes built exclusively for rental.

Yes, the department makes this distinction. Information on affordable housing by tenure is publicly available, including for social rent and affordable rent, for both starts on site and completions.

This information can be found (attached) here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many homes were built for social rent in England (1) in each of the last five years for which figures are available, and (2) in 2010.

The number of social rent completions for 2009-10 and each of the last five years for which there are available data, including new build, can be found in the table below:

2009-10

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Social Rent, of which:

33,491

9,331

6,798

5,895

6,679

6,287

New Build

30,396

8,464

6,066

5,296

5,597

5,320

Acquisitions

2,786

867

684

596

1,058

956

Not Known

309

0

48

3

24

11

This information, broken down by tenure and whether the units are new build and acquisitions, is published in Live Table 1009 which can be found (attached) here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the scale of the loss of income incurred by local authorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they intend to take to assist local authorities financially.

The department has engaged closely with councils from across the country, and across different tiers, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Allocations of the additional £1.6 billion support for councils to respond to COVID-19 were announced on Tuesday 28 April. This is a significant package of support which responds to the range of pressures councils have told us they are facing, and takes the total amount provided to local councils to over £3.2 billion.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what adjustments they will make, if any, to (1) the target of delivering one million homes in the forthcoming five years, and (2) the Housing Delivery Test methodology, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building the homes the country needs is vitally important, and we are committed to working with partners to find a safe way of continuing work across the country during this difficult time. Over the last few days we are beginning to see more developers reopening sites following careful consideration of public health guidance. And together, we will continue to work towards our goal to get Britain building again. We note the concerns some authorities are raising on the housing delivery test and we will continue to monitor the situation.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Local Government Association about (1) the administration of and (2) the effectiveness of the COVID-19 business rate relief scheme.

Businesses are expected to receive almost £10 billion in business rate relief as part of the Government’s comprehensive package of support for the economy during the coronavirus pandemic

In line with usual practice, the Government has worked with the Local Government Association and local government practitioners to support the administration and implementation of this relief.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to encourage local authorities to deliver the required number of new homes; whether the Housing Delivery Test will continue; and if so, what are the penalties for under-performing authorities.

We introduced the Housing Delivery Test in order to encourage local authorities to play a more active role in delivering the homes this country needs. This will continue, and the next results will be published in due course. The consequences where under-delivery occurs are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, and range from the need to prepare an action plan to the application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development, which will allow housing to come forward in areas where it is needed.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the essential differences between the existing legislation for Starter Homes and the new First Homes Initiative announced in the Queen’s Speech; and whether they have a timetable for the proposed consultation on the initiative.

The Government is committed to increasing the number of homes available for local people to buy at a discount. These new ‘First Homes’ will be made available at a discount of at least 30% and will be funded through developer contributions, reducing the cost to both local and national government. Unlike Starter Homes, First Homes will offer a larger discount to buyers that is retained in perpetuity, so that future generations can also benefit from the discount. Local Authorities will be able to prioritise these homes for local residents and key workers, such as nurses, teachers or police officers.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what aspects of housing and planning reform announced in the recent Queen's speech they plan to introduce legislation; and whether they have a timetable for the introduction of those housing and planning related initiatives.

The Queen's Speech set out a range of measures for housing and planning, including the Renters' Reform Bill, Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill, First Homes, and the Planning White Paper. The Government will release further details on all of these measures over the next few weeks and months, with legislative timetables set as parliamentary time allows. We will also publish a Planning White Paper later this year.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)