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Mr. Straw: On the last point, I said in my statement that we would take account of views expressed outside the House, as well as inside the House. It will come as no surprise to the right hon. Gentleman or the House to learn that we have already informally consulted the police organisations and NCIS about the proposals, as well as the Football Association, but there are others that have an interest in the matter.
There are some people--I respect their views, but I do not happen to agree with them--who take the right hon. Gentleman's view that civil process should never be used to deal with bad behaviour of the kind that we are talking about. That opinion was voiced during the passage of the Crime and Disorder Act in respect of anti-social behaviour orders. Our point was that the existing law provided, for example, for evictions and for all kinds of orders to be made by civil courts on the basis of a process that uses the civil burden and standard of proof, but, having been made, if they are then broken they are subject to effective criminal sanctions, including custody for breaching injunctions. This is no different in principle. Moreover, as with the anti-social behaviour orders, where one of the banning orders is broken, that is a criminal offence and the breach of the order would be subject to the criminal standard of proof.
Mr. Derek Twigg (Halton): I warmly welcome my right hon. Friend's statement. It is interesting that the Opposition had four or five attempts at legislation during their 18 years in power, but still failed to stop violence and disorder. It is a subject that Opposition Members seem to want to shy away from.
Let us get down to what has been proposed today. I welcome everything in my right hon. Friend's statement, but, as has already been mentioned, the Bill of the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) made it clear that magistrates had various powers that they never used. Does my right hon. Friend know why the magistrates did not carry out the actions that they should have?
Secondly, why do we again see a mass deportation, albeit of many innocent people, but obviously of some people who are not innocent, without their being taken to court in the countries where the offences were committed? Clearly, unless such countries take firm action, people will go there and think that they will get away with it again.
Finally, will my right hon. Friend say a little more about the withholding of passports on the occasion of big games, an important part of his proposals today? I think that it will be very effective.
Mr. Straw: My hon. Friend is right to call attention to the Opposition's confusion. As I have already indicated, they develop an extraordinary total amnesia--only when it suits them, however--about all events and responsibilities for actions taken before 1 May 1997. On other occasions, they want to nitpick at the record of the previous Conservative Government and bring that into comparison but, whenever it is convenient, they deny that they were involved in any way in what happened between 1979 and 1997.
My hon. Friend talked about the problems of so-called mass deportation. Many people who are used to the British system of justice will not really know administrative arrest, which is used in some European countries but not others. It is a concept by which police arrest people, detain them without charge for a period of around 12 hours and then either release them or, as in this case, deport them. In terms of the existing orders, it certainly would have been easier if the majority of those people had been subject to proper process in the criminal courts, but we have to take things as they are. One of the advantages of the new orders is that, where there is good evidence abroad of football violence by an individual, it can be used to obtain an order in this country.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord): Order. We shall no doubt return to this matter before too long. The House has a great deal of business to get through today and must now move on.
Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
In his answer to me after his statement on the civil list, when I asked the Prime Minister why the statement was not news to the House, because the details had already appeared on the "Today" programme and in this morning's newspapers, the right hon. Gentleman said that it was no departure, because it what was what had happened 10 years ago, when such a statement was made before. I do not believe, from the answer I received, that the Prime Minister understood the issue that I was raising. Will you take this opportunity, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to remind those on the Treasury Bench that it is their obligation to bring statements to the House before they are broadcast elsewhere?
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord): I did not hear the exchanges which the hon. Gentleman has mentioned, and I would not want to refer specifically to them. Madam Speaker has made it extremely clear that any important Government announcements should be made in the first instance to this House.
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey): I beg to move,
In January, the National Housing Federation carried out a survey that revealed the sorry state of affairs that more than half of Britain's population believe that they or their children will not be in a position financially to buy their home in 20 years' time. If we are to change that perception of the future and provide the housing that our country needs, we need massively to increase the amount of affordable housing in the UK, especially in property hot spots such as London. My Bill would not mandate local authorities to do things, but allow councils effectively to set a quota that half of the housing developments in their area should consist of affordable housing and ensure that that rule guides councils when they give planning permission to developers seeking permission to build.
Many people's lives are blighted by the lack of affordable housing, and we should not presume that the problem is confined to urban areas, such as my constituency. At the weekend, I visited the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Jackie Ballard) and discovered that the issue is significant in rural communities and small towns in her area. Urban, suburban and rural communities throughout much of England face a lack of affordable housing: the same challenge confronts the smallest villages and the biggest towns and cities. I was brought up in Herefordshire: my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Keetch) has discovered that almost no affordable housing is being built in large parts of that county, and I know that affordable housing is now entirely absent from the market in the village in which I used to live.
My surgery, like that of many other Members of Parliament, is packed every week with people who are trying to buy a new home or to move to a decent home, but are having difficulty finding an affordable property. My constituency has the largest proportion of electors living in local authority property of any constituency in England. Today, I checked the figures with my local council and discovered that there are more than 13,000 people on the waiting list, of whom 5,000 have no tenancy.
High and rising land values combined with increasing property prices mean that we are pricing many people out of the market. Of course, little local battles can yield results: on the south bank, we had a successful battle over Coin street in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and another over the Cherry garden pier site in the 1980s and 1990s; and battles are being fought to ensure that there are affordable homes around Tower bridge and on the Heygate and Dickens estates in Bermondsey. However, the problem is not merely one of numbers and statistics, but of keeping communities together, making it possible for people to remain where their family has lived for
We could have a long debate about the definition of "affordable housing", and perhaps one day we shall. For now, I offer two definitions, the first of which appears in Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions circular 6/98. It states that, for the purpose of planning policy, affordable housing is
In London, more and more people exceed the 25 per cent. of net income threshold. The National Housing Federation says that registered social landlord rents in 1998 were unaffordable for more than 70 per cent. of households with one or more persons in work. Between 1979 and 1998, the average rent for council dwellings in London rose by 600 per cent.--three times inflation, which rose 200 per cent. in the same period. The hon. Member for Regent's Park and Kensington, North (Ms Buck) made that point well in a recent debate.
The general rate of inflation throughout the country has been 43 per cent. in the past decade, but it has exceeded 100 per cent. for housing in assured tenancies. In the past year in London, property prices have risen by approximately a quarter. The average cost of a home in this city is £163,000. The statistics speak for themselves. I do not need to tell any other London colleague, from whatever party, about the crisis that we face.
The position is a boon for property developers; it is heaven on earth for them. However, it is a nightmare from hell for people who cannot afford to remain in the community to which they belong or in which they need to work. In recent years, new housing has often been provided where it is least needed. Homelessness is increasing. Approximately six households per 1,000 throughout the country and nine per 1,000 in London are homeless.
The amount of social housing is decreasing. In 1993, approximately 31,200 social housing properties were completed. In 1999, the figure was 17,500. This year, only 13,500 affordable homes have been completed in England. Yet, according to the best projections, we need approximately 107,000 units every year for the next 10 years. Nearly 85,000 newly forming households, as well the 750,000 people who live in unfit housing, will need affordable homes.
The position is nonsensical. I am not talking about ensuring the provision of affordable, new-build housing. Approximately 750,000 houses in the United Kingdom
I want to make an important point about key workers. I shall cite one example of a young woman called Rhian Williams, who is a special needs teacher. She teaches in Walthamstow and lives in Southwark. She earns less than £20,000 a year, and she has said publicly that she will have to move out of her flat at the end of July. It costs £287 a month. She cannot find anywhere else for less than £600 a month. She approached the Church Commissioners, who said that they would love to house her but that there would be a three-year wait. The result is that a special needs teacher, whom we need, will leave London and seek a job abroad. She is typical of many public sector workers who say that rising prices are beyond their control and that it is therefore increasingly difficult for them to carry on.
Unless there are opportunities for the teacher, the nurse at hospitals such as Guy's, the bus driver, the postal worker and the social worker to live here, we shall not have a community with the support that it needs. We are losing 10,000 key workers every year. We have an opportunity to remedy that.
The Green Paper has been issued for consultation. I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister's statement that we shall enable local authorities to secure a proportion of affordable housing in larger housing developments in urban and rural areas. I welcome the statement from the Greater London Authority that it is about to hold an inquiry on housing, and the new Mayor's indication of support for a 50 per cent. proposal.
I hope that we can have a quota for affordable housing in all developments, not only new developments; a quota for small developments, not only big developments; an obligation on councils to consider the options and, if they wish, to go up to 50 per cent. I also hope that democratically elected local representatives, not developers, will determine what constitutes housing need. We need housing that is determined by need.
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Simon Hughes, Mr. Tom Brake, Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, Mr. Paul Keetch, Mr. Andy Love.