Housing and local government

Concerned Wordsley and Kingswinford residents are being invited to voice t

Mike Wood: What steps his Department is taking to tackle unfair practices in the private parking sector.


Rishi Sunak Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Mike Wood: Under Conservative leadership since last May, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council has protected social care and other core services. Will the Prime Minister reject the calls from the Opposition to scrap the council tax referendum lock, which prevents excessive council tax rises?


Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Sandy Martin Labour, Ipswich

Mike Wood: Given the serious questions that have been raised about the disposal of council land in Sandwell, does my hon. Friend agree that the council should also investigate the case of my constituent, Patricia Barlow? Her late mother repeatedly tried to buy a piece of land next to her house, only to find out—after years of asking—that the council had disposed of that land to another business without even notifying her. Should the council look at the price at which that land was sold, and at whether it was all above board?


Mike Wood: While I welcome proposals to make it easier to switch away from poor deals, does my right hon. Friend agree that Ofgem needs to go much further than it suggested in its letter to him this morning to protect consumers from exploitation?


Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

There is a clear need to get the cost of housing benefits under control, but it is also vital that the needs of the most vulnerable are met. These costs have continued to rise, even at times when the number of people receiving housing benefits has reduced. Unless the spiralling cost can be controlled, the system would soon become unviable, severely limiting our ability to support many of the people who need our help the most.

Mike Wood: Clearly, close collaboration is important not only for efficiency, but for the delivery of effective prevention work. Can my right hon. Friend give additional assurances that the revenue streams of fire services such as that in the West Midlands will be protected, including for commercial activities?


Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Mike Wood: Will the Secretary of State consider how the current system model, including the National Infrastructure Commission, National Grid and Ofgem, could be reformed to make it a more flexible and independent part of an energy infrastructure that is fit for the 21st century?


Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Mike Wood: What steps the Government are taking to increase the contribution made to meeting targets on energy efficiency and on the use of low-carbon energy by residential buildings; and if she will make a statement.


Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Mike Wood: What guidance is being made available to local authorities on the use of discretionary housing payments so that we can make sure that in exceptional cases, such as when homes have been adapted for disability, they can benefit from the additional money that has been made available?


Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of Staying Put arrangements on foster children.


Edward Timpson ​(Minister of State (Education)): Staying Put arrangements help to provide the security and stability that care leavers need to make a successful transition to adulthood. The Department for Education has provided funding of £44m to local authorities for 2014/15 to 2016/17 to support them in implementing the new duty.

I welcome the Opposition’s choice of motion, but I was disappointed by the shadow Secretary of State’s lack of humility when he moved it, given his own underwhelming record in government.

Mike Wood: An important part of protecting tenants is ensuring that landlords understand their obligations and that tenants understand the remedies that are available. What action is the Department taking to ensure that tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities?


Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Mike Wood: What advice would the Minister give to planning authorities that do not treat the presence of community pubs on the register of assets of community value as a material consideration when planning applications are considered?


Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

Let me begin by drawing the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests as an elected councillor.

I was pleased to hear the Secretary of State speak about opportunity. Without affordable, decent housing, other opportunities mean little, and there is nothing more natural than people’s aspiration to own a home for themselves and their families. That is why it is so important to my constituents that the Government meet their objective of providing 1 million new homes by 2020.

Mike Wood: As an elected member of Dudley council, I support the Bill enthusiastically. For far too long, power has been concentrated in Whitehall. The causes are clear; we have seen them time after time. Oppositions argue for decentralising powers and then Governments, acting with the very best of motives, tend to draw more powers to the centre.