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I am grateful for the confirmation by the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, that we have satisfied the Constitution Committee and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. They indeed raised concerns, which we have made amendments to address. We have, for example, introduced a notice of intent for fixed monetary penalties and have capped the level of them. I understand that the Constitution Committee is now content with what it calls the balance in Part 3 between effective sanctions and due process.
Finally, the noble and learned Lord said that only big business will be able to operate this sanctions regime. I am the Minister for small businesses and for regulatory reform. That joint responsibility is not a coincidence, because the impact of regulation may be felt disproportionately by small businesses. I strongly refute the view that the noble and learned Lord has expressed. Small businesses have supported this Bill fully. The only concern that they have expressed is that during the passage of the Bill we will it water down. They want something less daunting than criminal prosecution for minor and unintended offences for their mainstream businesses and they want a level playing field where rogue traders are punished proportionately so that they do not gain a competitive advantage. The Federation of Small Businesses says that it,
We are not in the business of maintaining the status quo if it can be improved. The Governments job, which should be supported by all parties, is to modernise regulatory enforcement, to make it fit for the 21st century and to create the most competitive environment for business without affecting the outcomes for society as a whole. I am therefore pleased that we have managed to satisfy the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, and the committees. I am saddened not to have satisfied the noble and learned Lord, but I hope that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
Lord Lyell of Markyate: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness. I shall try to be succinct and to restrict myself to a small number of points, although she has raised a large number of points. First, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, has completely misunderstood me. That is obviously due to the boring nature of my delivery, because I have never said that Macrory should not apply or that there should not be civil penalties. The issue is the mode of doing it.
The noble Baroness said that the structure of the Bill had been consulted on, but I do not think that it has. We consulted on the Hampton report and on the
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I suggested that the citizen should be able to say, No, stop. I do not want to pay an administrative penalty. Take me to court and prove it against me. Most citizens will want to compromise on an administrative penalty, which would be thoroughly sensible. But, to my astonishment, the noble Baroness has been put up to say that we cannot allow the businesses to choose. If we cannot allow the businesses to choose in this Bill, why can we allow them to choose under the Health and Social Care Bill, which is being put through by this same Government in the same months?
It is suggested that I have criticised the tribunals. I have not. I am much looking forward to talking to Lord Justice Carnwath. I am sure that he will produce an excellent system of tribunals, but there are far more cases than the Government initially recognised. They thought that there were 15,000. They now acknowledge that there are 36,000, which, on the figures that I gave the Government and which they have now pretty well confirmed, deal only with the 28 regulators covered in Schedule 5. We just do not have a figure for all the other regulators. There are likely to be a large number of cases and it is not clear that the tribunal system has been geared up for that many cases. However, the Government say that 40 per cent of these cases are likely to go to appeal, whereas I think that that is far more than is likely and that many fewer will go to appeal.
The bedrock here is that it is the right of a citizen in this country to have a case proved against him. It is worrying to hear the noble Baroness say that what will be available before the appellate tribunal might be comparatively limited. There are important principles in this matter and since, unfortunately, I do not think that I have gained any ground with the Government, I wish to test the opinion of the House.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 11 and 12. On Report we
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I am delighted to introduce the Housing and Regeneration Bill to this House. It will help us to meet one of the great challenges of our generation: to ensure that future generations have as much opportunity to own their homes as we have had and that they live in communities both new and renewed that will sustain and create opportunities for all, no matter what their individual circumstances. It also offers for the first time a greater say for social tenants over their own housing options and conditions. It will bring specific help for a range of other social groups and housing providers. I believe that the Bill will be welcomed by your Lordships as it has been already in the other place and across the housing and regeneration world.
Perhaps I may first set the context. Aspirations and expectations in terms of both home ownership and housing standards have risen dramatically in the past half-century. The Government share these aspirations. We believe fundamentally that everyone should be able to live in a decent home at a price they can afford, and we have done much to make that vision a reality.
I remind noble Lords that housing supply in England has risen by more than 50 per cent from a low of around 130,000 new homes nationally in 2001-02 to almost 200,000 in 2006-07. Between 1997 and 2006-07, we helped around 95,000 householders
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However, two major challenges demand that we think, plan and develop differently: demography and climate change. The growth in households and the demand for homes have outstripped supply for many years, and the consequences are self-evident: young people dependent on their parents for a deposit; teachers, nurses, care workers, policemen priced out of the local community where they work; and too many older people trapped in a home which has become a burden because there are so few appealing alternatives. But just as we have to meet the intensive demand for new homes in the south and eastand to do so sustainablyso we have a responsibility also to regenerate declining communities in the north and west in particular.
We have to be more ambitious and more efficient to meet the scale and diversity of housing need. We have also to ensure social cohesion as well as environmental sustainability, and to provide the range of affordable and sustainable homes that is so urgently needed. Our response reflects the scale of those challenges.
The Prime Minister announced that we would seek to deliver 3 million additional new homes by 2020. In July, we published a housing Green Paper which set out our action plan for delivering on this commitment. It included: a national target of delivering 240,000 new homes a year by 2016; five new eco-townsnow increased to 10; better use of public-sector land; an £8 billion funding programme for affordable housing in the period 2008-11; and a commitment to delivering greener and better-quality homes. This Bill is crucial to achieving all that.
We cannot deny that these are challenging targets, nor can we deny that, in recent months, there have been changes in the financial and housing markets that make this Bill and the changes that it will bring all the more important, and make it all the more essential that we are able to think creatively, invest wisely, respond flexibly and bring together all the partners needed across all parts of the housing market. The Bill seeks to achieve that by creating the Homes and Communities Agency, a single agency which will bring together individual programmes, partnerships and funding streams to make it more possible to build more affordable homes in the right places, and of the right kind, for people of different conditions and needs, to increase the energy efficiency of new homes so as to be carbon neutral by 2016, to build to the limits of innovation in both the public and private realm, to give tenants a greater say over how their homes are managed, and to focus on the key outcomes of growth, renewal, affordability and sustainability.
The new Homes and Communities Agency is critical to better delivery in housing and community growth. It is a bold and ambitious step forward. Both the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships have a record of outstanding achievement in recent years, but it had become evident that separate funding streams, parallel processes and separate negotiation meant that opportunities for investment, innovation and coherent planning and delivery might be missed.
Part 1 establishes the new Homes and Communities Agency to ensure that that does not happen. It opens a new world of possibilities. It will not only bring together responsibilities and powers which have previously been held by the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, but it will also take on responsibility for delivering a number of housing and community programmes so far held by my department, CLG, and responsibility for the Academy for Sustainable Communities.
The scale, the scope and the synergy created by bringing all these related responsibilities together in one place with one focus will now match necessity with real opportunity. It will bring over £1 billion in savings, bring skills, expertise, investment, funding streams and delivery systems together, and provide an opportunity for doing things differently which could not have been realised by simply merging or modernising the two separate organisations. I am delighted to say that the new agency has the blessing of both English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation. I pay tribute to the outstanding work of my noble friend Lady Ford as chair of English Partnerships and of my noble friend Lady Dean at the Housing Corporation. Noble Lords will appreciate how very grateful I am to have them on this side of the House for this Bill.
Evidently, we want to see the HCA help maintain overall supply in the coming years. It will inherit the challenging programmes of its predecessor organisations, but it will also, given its scope and experience, be in an ideal position to provide stability in the housing market at this difficult time. Without losing its inherited capacity, the HCA has the chance to forge a new culture of creativity, enterprise and partnership. It is already in the best possible hands. We are particularly delighted that Sir Bob Kerslake is its chief executive designate; his vision is already clear. The agency has some important and challenging targets to meet if it is to deliver affordable homes on the scale we need. But the critical task is to create not just the right type and range of homes but communities of opportunity for people and places as well. In Sir Bob Kerslakes words, the opportunity now is to create a single conversation, shared between the agency and the regional and local authorities, the building industry, funding agencies, planning bodies, landholders, and communities themselves.
The Bill, particularly in Clauses 5, 22 and 34 to 39, enables the agency to take forward the Housing Corporations functions in funding delivery of affordable housing. The agency will play a critical role in delivering 70,000 more affordable homes a year by 2010-11, and support the delivery of 3 million new homes in total by 2020. The agency will also take forward the work of English Partnerships in regenerating communities and bringing brownfield land back into use. It will also incorporate the Academy for Sustainable Communities, which will mean that we have the opportunity to drive and improve skillsnot just the skills of building physical infrastructure but those for social infrastructure in communities.
The agency take forward the improvement of existing social housing stock by continuing the decent homes programme, making sure that 95 per cent of social rented homes are made decent by the end of
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