On 13th October 2020 Baroness Thornhill asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the efficacy of the Housing Delivery Test.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a further question:
Without giving local authorities new powers over developers building in their area, stalled developments and low-market absorption rates will continue to prevent the proliferation of the affordable homes so desperately needed to combat homelessness. pic.twitter.com/RIWUcOKmpl
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the ambition of the White Paper Planning for the Future, to streamline planning permission and impose building targets on local authorities fails to address the existing slow build-out rate that occurs once planning permission has been granted. Will the Government add provisions to ensure that local authorities have adequate scope to alter centralised algorithmic targets in accordance with local supply capabilities and build-out rates? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to speed up housebuilding process”
On 23rd September 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020.
Two Motions were also debated alongside the Rules. The first to annul them “because they will permit evictions of individuals who have been served a notice of eviction between 23 March and 28 August before Parliament has had an opportunity to debate the impact of the Rules on (1) homelessness, and (2) the spread of COVID-19”.
The second “that the House regrets that they…will not continue to protect tenants from eviction, and calls on the Government to amend the Housing Act 1998 to give courts temporary discretion on evictions, including on evictions arising from rent arrears”.
On 16th September 2020 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that any changes to the planning system will improve (1) building standards, (2) safety, (3) environmental impacts, and (4) the well-being of residents.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the latest English housing survey reveals that only 9% of our housing stock has key disability accessibility features. Disability in old age is frequent, and with the ONS estimating that one in four people will be aged 65 or over by 2050 it is vital that we cater for what we are going to need.
On 28th July Baroness Neville-Rolfe asked Her Majesty’s Government “further to the paper by Professor David Miles, Mike Stead and Dr Adrian Heald Living with COVID-19: balancing costs against benefits in the face of the virus, published on 26 June, what plans they have to ensure that in the future fuller account is taken of the economic costs of any measures adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic such as lockdowns.” The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, asked a follow up question, focusing on those affected by the benefit cap and those housed in the private rented sector.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, this is a complex matter, because economic, social and other community matters often go hand in hand. It is clear that many who have in these circumstances been bearing economic burdens are among those who are also the most socially disadvantaged. Bearing in mind the context of the forthcoming spending review, can the Minister give an assurance that the Government will take care to address the needs of such groups, including, for example, those affected by the benefit cap and those housed in the private rented sector, where repossession cases come before the courts again from later in August?
On 25th June 20202 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative. A transcript is below:
On 16th June Baroness Sanderson of Welton asked Her Majesty’s Government “when they plan to publish the social housing White Paper“. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on the loss of social housing units.
The Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, these Benches welcome the upcoming White Paper, but we are still losing tens of thousands of social housing units annually, with a net loss of 17,000 in 2019 alone. Can the Minister confirm to your Lordships’ House that increasing social housing will be addressed in the White Paper, and is he able to give us some indication as to the steps that Her Majesty’s Government will implement to address this worrying decline?
On 18th May 2020 a statement was given regarding housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, the Statement speaks of homes for all people as the Government’s vision, so I congratulate them on the funding they have made available which has allowed a huge amount to be done to support homeless people in a very short space of time. Does the Minister accept that withdrawing dedicated funding risks undermining all that has been achieved in providing housing as a first step towards the homeless having homes?
On 14th May 2020 the virtual House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Bird “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to support people who were previously homeless into permanent housing after the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the short debate: