2015–17 Parliament: Legacy Report Contents

1Forward-looking conclusions

Local government

Devolution

3.We concluded our first report of the Parliament, on devolution, with a substantial and detailed commitment to look at progress on devolution before 2020:1

Before the end of this Parliament, once the majority of deals have bedded in and elected mayors have established their positions, we intend to undertake a review of the progress of devolution in England which will examine the issues that we have identified in this report. The review is likely to consider, but will not be limited to, the following:

Success and scope:

Progress:

Geography:

Wider issues:

We believe that this is still a comprehensive list of issues which any inquiry into devolution in England will have to take into account.

Business rates

4.In Spring 2016 we took evidence on the Government’s plans for 100 per cent retention of business rates by local authorities, and were surprised to be told in May of that year that no Minister would be able to give evidence until the autumn, at the earliest. Not wanting to create a lengthy hiatus in our inquiry, and hoping to contribute to a period of consultation and discussion announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government, we published an interim report, setting out issues for consideration by the Government.2 We were clear that once the consultation was complete we would invite the Department again to give evidence and then consolidate our conclusions and recommendations in a final report.3

5.We were able to raise the Government’s plans for business rates with the Secretary of State and the Minister for Local Government shortly before dissolution. Although the discussion was constrained by the impending General Election, it was clear that any new Government would have to consider carefully both the balance between out of town and high street businesses, and how to ensure that revenue from online businesses is captured by local government, and we would recommend our successors look at these issues early in the new Parliament.4

Public parks

6.Of all our inquiries in this Parliament, the one that generated perhaps the most public interest was into public parks.5 Given the significant interest in, and the overwhelming response to, our inquiry we made clear that we would return to the issue, on the basis of annual written statements by the Department outlining progress made on our recommendations.6

Adult social care

7.Our longest inquiry was into adult social care. We published two reports: the first, specifically intended to influence the funding for social care in the Spring 2017 Budget, asked the Comptroller and Auditor General to produce an assessment of the funding gap for adult social care,7 and we understand that he is considering how best to undertake this work. The main report, which stressed the importance of a cross-party consensus on the funding of social care, welcomed the Government’s forthcoming Green Paper, and promised to take further evidence on the Government’s proposals.8

Housing

The Right to Buy

8.Our second report of the last Session looked at the Government’s proposals for extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants.9 One aspect of wider government plans to which we thought we should return was the impact of ending lifetime tenancies.10

Homelessness

9.We undertook a major inquiry into homelessness in 2016, and we are proud that this was a significant factor in the passing of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. The problem of homelessness is long-standing and in our report, published in August 2016, we highlighted a number of points on which we planned to take further evidence in due course:11

Capacity in the homebuilding industry

10.Similarly, in our report on the homebuilding industry, agreed shortly before the House was dissolved, we set out in a final chapter the issues we thought our successors might want to follow up on with the Government:

Alongside our conclusions and recommendations for Government, we have identified a number of issues that that we believe should be kept under scrutiny to ensure our housing market improves. To aid our successors, we present them below for ease of reference:


1 Communities and Local Government Committee, First Report of Session 2015–16, Devolution: the next five years and beyond, HC 369, para 106

2 Communities and Local Government Committee, First Report of Session 2016–17, 100 per cent retention of business rates: issues for consideration, HC 241

3 Ibid, para 8.

4 Oral evidence taken on 19 April 2017, HC 1082, Qq 51–81

5 Communities and Local Government Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2016–17, Public parks, HC 45

6 Ibid, para 137

7 Communities and Local Government Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2016–17, Adult social care: a pre-Budget report, HC 47, para 70

8 Communities and Local Government Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2016–17, Adult social care, HC 1103, para 172

9 Communities and Local Government Committee, Second Report of Session 2015–16, Housing Associations and the Right to Buy, HC 370

10 Ibid, para 114.

11 Communities and Local Government Committee, Third Report of Session 2016–17, Homelessness, HC 40




28 April 2017