Housing and local government

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.