There have been 3 exchanges between Edward Miliband and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
|Tue 21st July 2020||Business and Planning Bill||3 interactions (390 words)|
|Thu 1st November 2018||Budget Resolutions||7 interactions (1,384 words)|
|Tue 9th January 2018||Yorkshire Devolution (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (150 words)|
(2 months, 1 week ago)Commons Chamber
This Bill is an essential part of the Government’s response to the effects of covid-19 and the restrictions that have been keeping people safe. We know that these restrictions have come at a considerable cost to our economy and to people’s lives. We all have constituents who are desperate to get back to work— desperate to get back to their normal lives. This Bill will help to make that happen. This Bill will help the country get back on its feet.
The amendments that we are considering this evening do not disrupt the thrust of the Bill as it left this House. In fact, they improve it. It is worth remembering that when this Bill was last in this House we debated it over one afternoon—unusually fast, as several hon. and right hon. Members have said—to ensure that it would come into force before the summer recess and give the greatest possible benefit to the country. The Bill has received more extensive consideration in the other place, and I hope that we can agree the amendments.
I am grateful to hon. and right hon. Members for their constructive engagement with the Bill. I am particularly grateful to the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) and his colleagues in the Opposition for their collaboration. Members’ thoughtfulness and involvement have been a great help in improving this legislation, and I am pleased with the result of our deliberations. I should also like to recognise parliamentary counsel, the legal advisers and staff of the other place and of this House for marshalling this Bill through all its stages.
I shall briefly summarise the amendments that have been made in the other place. First, we have improved the pavement licensing measures in several ways. We have ensured that authorities must have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether to grant a pavement licence, and we have ensured that non-smoking areas will be provided by businesses that are granted pavement licences. We have also ensured that local authorities can delegate decisions about pavement licences to sub-committees or to officials, and that regulations issued by Government will be laid before Parliament. Those amendments are in keeping with the policy intention of the pavement licence provisions and improve them. I therefore hope that the House will support the amendments.
Secondly, we have amended the provisions about off-sales of alcohol to combat antisocial behaviour. I am especially grateful to hon. Members for their involvement in this issue—especially my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Felicity Buchan); my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken), who brought to bear her considerable experience as the leader of a London council; and the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier), who spoke eloquently when we last debated the matter in this House. I believe that collectively, they have improved the Bill. The Bill now limits off-sales to 11 pm at the latest, and any new permissions will not allow the sale of alcohol for consumption in outdoor areas of the premises that are already restricted by the premises licence. Making off-sales of alcohol easier will help the hospitality industry to recover more quickly, but in a way that does not encourage antisocial behaviour.
Thirdly, we have increased the extension of planning permission by one month. This is a modest extension, but it will provide further certainty and reassurance to developers and local authorities that planning permissions will not lapse unnecessarily as a result of the pandemic. Fourthly, in response to the report by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, any extension to the provisions can be made only when it is
“necessary or appropriate for a purpose linked to the coronavirus pandemic.”
That is an important clarification.
Finally, the Bill now amends section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 so that the Government can make regulations to enable specific authorities to conduct their meetings remotely. These authorities were omitted from the Coronavirus Act because of the speed with which that legislation was passed, and now is the appropriate time to include them. I hope the House will agree these Lords amendments.
I am sure that hon. and right hon. Members agree that businesses throughout our country need the benefit of these provisions this summer. As someone once put it, we need to help to fix the economy while the sun is shining. If we do not pass this Bill today, it will not take effect until the autumn, and the country will lose out on the valuable provisions over the summer months. The Bill has been much improved and scrutinised in the other place, and it is an example of how Parliament can work quickly and effectively in the national interest and set the United Kingdom on a path to recovery. I therefore trust that the House will support all the Lords amendments.
I rise to support these amendments. On Second Reading, I called for a restriction on alcohol off-sales to 11 pm, so I am delighted that that amendment has been accepted. We need to strike the right balance between getting our economy up and running and the interests of residents, who in certain parts of London have been subject to a lot of anti-social behaviour—in particular, in Notting Hill in my constituency. These amendments strike the right balance, and I commend them to the House.
(1 year, 11 months ago)Commons Chamber
I want to refer to some of the local issues that I hope this Budget can address for my own community, with a particular focus on Putney High Street, Roehampton High Street, Southfields village and, of course, Danebury Avenue, also in Putney. I could make a long speech on my broader views on this Budget, on the need for reform of the Treasury, and on how the OBR forecast has changed so significantly. I could make a speech on the fact that probably one of the biggest challenges in British politics is the seesawing of resources in and out of public services and the resulting inability of those services ever to plan properly for the long term. However, that is probably a speech for another day.
What I want to do today is focus on the issues in my local community. It is fair to say that for most of us, the problem of rent and rates, and the impact that they have not just on local businesses but on local shops, local restaurants and bars is really acute. That is particularly true in London, where the sense is that rent and rates only ever go up during the good times, but when we hit more difficult times my local businesses never see them come down. As a result, we have inflated rateable values that then give a legacy of high rates and rents that feeds forward into the future.
High streets are facing a significant structural challenge as they move from being, historically, transaction centres where people went to buy things to being social centres. What people and communities get out of the high street has significantly changed, and it will not change back. I particularly welcome the initial ideas that the Chancellor set out in relation to a digital sales tax, but I encourage the Treasury to bring those proposals forward sooner rather than later and to properly understand what taxation looks like in the context of the high street when we know that, in the future, high streets will be social centres rather than transaction centres.
I have a business improvement district in Putney. I am sure that the announcement of the future high streets fund—the £675 million that will be available to communities to improve and support high streets—is extremely welcome and necessary. This is not the first time that, locally, we have asked for funds to improve our high street. The council itself is putting in £640,000 of investment to improve Putney High Street, to improve the experience of shoppers and pedestrians, and to improve traffic flow. I have to say that, when we asked City Hall for investment in our local community, our bid was not seen as a high priority. I am delighted that the Government recognise that communities such as mine need investment to support the high street to keep going and make a transition. I ask the Secretary of State, or perhaps the Chief Secretary when she winds up the debate, simply to make sure that they do not make the mistake of giving any of that £675 million to City Hall. If that happened, I can only assume that, yet again, my community would be de-prioritised for investment in our local high streets. Instead, the money should be given directly to local councils to make the decisions that they know are important to improve high streets such as those around Roehampton, Putney and Southfields—the community that I am so proud to represent.
May I also ask the Secretary of State to look at whether that £675 million can be brought forward and invested sooner rather than later so that it can make an impact now, rather than in several years’ time? I have looked at the phasing of the fund, and my personal view is that high streets need support now, not later.
I do, of course, welcome the announcement that businesses whose properties have rateable values of £51,000 and lower will see business rates cut by a third. That will help 90% of properties, but, again, I say to the Secretary of State that, for those of us representing communities in London, we will have a disproportionate number of the properties in that final 10%—the businesses that are not covered by that measure. I ask him to continue to look particularly at how businesses in London can continue to thrive. We do not want to be a place where independent shops literally cannot afford to start up and survive. Even some of our high street chains are finding it hard, as we can see with the loss of Marks & Spencer in Putney.
May I also add to the communities part of this debate and say that I very much recognise and welcome the steps that the Government and the Treasury are taking on affordable credit? They are absolutely vital to help a whole generation of often young people, but also people on low incomes, to make sure that they do not pay through the nose for the kind of credit that the rest of us are used to having.
May I ask the Secretary of State to make sure that, at the very least, the Government get out of my way so that I can get my Creditworthiness Assessment Bill through this House with all-party support? Last Friday I came here to try to move my Bill on to its next stage, and it was opposed by an MP and by Government Whips. I ask the Government that, the next time I bring the Bill to the House on 23 November, Government Whips do not object to its being moved forward. It could help 15 million renters across our country get better access to more affordable credit. It is vital that the Bill is passed, as it could have a big impact.
In his opening speech, the Secretary of State set out how we want to support people who have the dream of home ownership, but if they cannot build up a credit history, even with the reliable rental and council tax payments that they make every month, it fundamentally does not allow them to make the case to lenders that they should the best credit opportunities on offer. It really is time for the Government and the House to pass a Bill that can genuinely make rent count. As someone representing a community where perhaps 50% of households rent, I can say that this is absolutely crucial to making sure that this is not just a Government who help people to get by, but a Government who help people to get on.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the Macmillan era was post-war, when Britain was bombed out and we had the Marshall fund to back us up?
My right hon. Friend is making a valuable point. I think it was the last Housing Minister but four—now the Prime Minister’s chief of staff—who accepted that social house building provides continuity to the construction industry, as it does not go up and down with the cycles of the private sector. That is very important for maintaining skills in the industry in the long term.
(2 years, 8 months ago)Westminster Hall
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Pritchard. I congratulate the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis) on securing this debate. I feel slightly like an imposter at the party, because I come from the best county in the country—Derbyshire—so I am looking across the border at this issue.
I want to make one very brief point. The Sheffield city region proposal, which has been part of this discussion for a number of years, has at times included elements of Derbyshire. Quite a number of us over the border in Derbyshire have had significant reservations about the proposal for many years. We were pleased when Chesterfield Borough Council finally withdrew from the Sheffield city region a number of months ago.
I will not take up more time than the minute that I have, given the obvious importance of this issue to all colleagues across the ridings of Yorkshire and their real passion. I just want to say that Derbyshire is and has always been different from Yorkshire, and it does not want to participate in a Sheffield city region if that continues.