Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 02 June 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Grenfell Update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

On 30 October 2019 Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which focused on how the fire started and spread and the emergency response, concluded with the publication of the Phase 1 report. In January 2020 the Government reaffirmed the acceptance, first given on the day of publication, to accept in principle, all the recommendations that Sir Martin Moore-Bick made for central government in that report.

Six months on from the publication of the Government’s response to the Phase 1 report, I would like to update Parliament on the Government’s progress at turning our commitments into real and lasting change to building and fire safety.

The Grenfell fire was an unimaginable tragedy that must never be allowed to happen again. Even in these unprecedented times, the Government’s commitment to implementing the Inquiry’s recommendations, as a priority, remains unchanged. As does the Government’s commitment to ensuring those most affected, the bereaved and survivors – who have displayed such remarkable courage, resilience and dignity – continue to be engaged in discussions about policy development.

Ban on the use of combustible materials

The Inquiry’s report was clear that the use of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) rainscreen cladding and combustible insulation on the exterior of the Tower was the defining factor in the rapid spread of the fire. The Government introduced regulations in December 2018 that banned the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of specific types of new high-rise buildings. A public consultation was held between January and May 2020, to further explore and refine the scope of that ban – including a proposal to ban the use of ACM with unmodified polyethylene core and similar materials on all buildings in England. We are analysing feedback and will be publishing a response in due course.

Remediation

Since the Grenfell Tower fire, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Home Office (HO) have identified over 450 buildings with unsafe ACM cladding, and we have worked with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to ensure that appropriate interim safety measures are in place, while these buildings undergo remediation.

In March this year the Government announced that it will provide £1 billion to fund the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems. This is in addition to the £600 million which Government has made available for remediation of the highest risk ACM cladding. The prospectus for this fund was launched last month and sets out the buildings and non-ACM cladding systems that are eligible for funding and registration is now open for potential applicants, in advance of the full application process opening by the end of July 2020. More information on the Fund Prospectus can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund.

This fund will meet the cost of remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding systems where building owners (or other entities legally responsible for making buildings safe) are unable to do so. Government are also providing additional, specialist project management capability to building owners or managing agents to speed up the development and implementation of building plans.

The Fire Protection Board

The Government has also established a Fire Protection Board, chaired by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), to provide greater assurance to central government of Fire and Rescue Service protection activity. The Board is leading a Building Risk Review Programme, supported by government funding to ensure that all high-rise residential buildings of 18m or above are inspected or reviewed by the end of 2021. We are also using a proportion of the additional £20m secured for fire and rescue services in the recent Budget to further support an uplift in protection capability.

Stay Put

At the end of last year, a joint HO and MHCLG steering group was set up to support a technical review of stay put. There are three strands to this work: an evidence review, assessing academic evidence on methods of evacuation; operational research to test evacuation strategies; and building design research. The first stage of this work has been commissioned and is underway whilst preliminary work is being carried out on the other strands.

Building safety

At the heart of the Government’s radical reforms to building safety is the new Building Safety Regulator, which we are establishing within the Health and Safety Executive. The Government set out plans in our response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation for the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

The new regulator will be responsible for implementing and enforcing a more stringent regulatory regime for higher risk buildings, as well as providing wider and stronger oversight of safety and performance across all buildings and increasing the competence of those working on building safety. This work complements the establishment of a new construction products regulatory role to strengthen national oversight and effectively enforce the new regulatory regime.

The Government will soon be publishing the draft Building Safety Bill for scrutiny before it is introduced in Parliament. This Bill will put in place this new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products, and ensure residents have a stronger voice.

In April, the Government published a workplan detailing the next steps for the wider review of Approved Document B, following the technical review that was started in December 2018. Research will be carried out in areas such as means of escape, compartmentation and toxicity. This work will build on the changes we have published in an update to Approved Document B last month, so that sprinklers and wayfinding signage will be provided in all new blocks of flats above 11 metres. The Government is also working with the NFCC on further tests of evacuation with a view to including guidance on provision of these systems in a later update to Approved Document B.

Fire Safety Bill

The Inquiry’s Phase 1 report also called for new duties on building owners and managers to share technical information with fire and rescue services and undertake regular inspections of flat entrance doors. It is our intention to take forward these recommendations for existing buildings under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 underpinned by the changes being introduced through the Fire Safety Bill.

The Fire Safety Bill, which was introduced in March and received cross-party support, clarifies that the scope of the Fire Safety Order covers external walls (including cladding and balconies) and flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings. It provides a firm foundation upon which to bring forward secondary legislation to implement the recommendations that require further changes to the law. The Bill is a significant further step to ensure better identification and management of fire safety risks in such buildings.

It is important that the Government’s response to the Inquiry’s recommendations has the support of those with experience in these matters, and those most affected by them. To ensure their views inform our response, a public consultation will be issued soon setting out the Government’s proposed approach to the remaining recommendations that call for legislative change.

Fire and Rescue Services

Many of the recommendations within the Inquiry’s Phase 1 report were directed at non-Government organisations that are equally committed to the reforms. The report was clear that the London Fire Brigade (LFB) must learn and change to restore public confidence. Our request for regular progress reports from the LFB setting out how they are translating the recommendations into action are a key part of retaining focus and momentum on the need for change.

There remains much to do, but the HO is already seeing a commitment to revised policy and procedures backed up by the use of better equipment and technology to support high-rise fire fighting and fire fighting in London more broadly. The pandemic has created many challenges, but it has not affected the LFB’s commitment to implementing the Inquiry’s Phase 1 recommendations.

It is important that the lessons from Grenfell are learned beyond London. This is why the NFCC is working to ensure that the Phase 1 recommendations are implemented across all fire and rescue services. The HO is working closely with the NFCC on an improvement plan to help it drive real change across the sector.

In the three years since the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government has remained steadfast in its commitment to driving forward both cultural and legislative change so that no such tragedy can ever be allowed to happen again. Through implementation of the reforms highlighted in this statement, and wider work of Government and our stakeholders, we will move from the conditions that allowed a tragedy like the fire at Grenfell Tower to occur almost three years ago, to a system which ensures developers and building owners demonstrate greater responsibility for the safety of residents and which allows local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to enforce this. The Government is firmly committed to ensuring all residents are safe in their homes, now and in the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS257
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Energy Performance of Buildings: A consultation on changes to The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, No. 3118

My Rt. Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Housing (Christhoper Pincher) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to update the House on the publication of a consultation on changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI2012/3118).

The United Kingdom has set in law a target to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 to help tackle climate change. Heating and powering buildings currently accounts for 40% of the UK’s total energy usage. We must ensure that buildings are constructed to high standards of energy efficiency and that the regime for regulating the energy performance of buildings is robust.

This consultation seeks views on proposals to amend existing requirements for inspecting heating and air conditioning systems in order to improve the regime and contribute to carbon emission reductions and energy efficiency savings. The new requirements aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the regime by increasing the threshold for inspection to focus on larger systems. It further aims to improve the regime’s impact by broadening the scope of inspection to include combined heating and ventilation systems and combined air conditioning and ventilation systems.

The Government proposes to retain its domestic arrangements (i.e. take the option of Alternative Measures). This means continuing to provide consumers with the advice necessary to make informed decisions on the energy efficiency of their heating systems and widening the scope to include combined heating and ventilation systems. The United Kingdom boiler market is the biggest in the world and has some of the most experienced manufacturers and installers. The United Kingdom’s equivalence reports, which are required to demonstrate that the domestic policy achieves the aims intended by the changes to the regulations, have demonstrated that the carbon savings attributable to the UK’s Alternative Measures were greater than those that would have been achieved through inspection. One of the key elements of the domestic regime is Boiler Plus whose standards are expected to help reduce carbon emissions by up to 2 MtCO2e[1] in Carbon Budget 4 (2023-2027)[2] and 3.2 MtCO2e in Carbon Budget 5 (2028-2032)[3], whilst enabling consumers to heat homes at a lower cost.

The consultation also proposes to amend the inspection regime for air conditioning systems increasing the threshold and widening the scope to include combined air conditioning and ventilation systems, bringing with it the benefits of a stronger regime set out above.

These measures are only part of our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment. The Government is determined that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and improving the energy performance of our buildings will be a key factor in tackling climate change, achieving clean growth and safeguarding our planet for the future.

This Written Ministerial Statement covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relation to the inspection of heating systems. It covers England and Wales in respect of the proposed changes to air conditioning inspections. The devolved administrations are considering similar changes.

The consultation document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-performance-of-buildings-changes-to-the-energy-performance-of-buildings-regulations-2012-no-3118

I am depositing a copy of the consultation in libraries of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

[1] A metric measure used to compare the emissions from different greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP).

[2] 4th carbon budget (2023 to 2027) 1,950 MtCO2e

[3] 5th carbon budget (2028 to 2032)1,725 MtCO2e

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS243
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 May 2020
Made by: Christopher Pincher (Minister of State for Housing )
Commons

Energy Performance of Buildings: A consultation on changes to The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, No. 3118

I wish to update the House on the publication of a consultation on changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI2012/3118).

The United Kingdom has set in law a target to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 to help tackle climate change. Heating and powering buildings currently accounts for 40% of the UK’s total energy usage. We must ensure that buildings are constructed to high standards of energy efficiency and that the regime for regulating the energy performance of buildings is robust.

This consultation seeks views on proposals to amend existing requirements for inspecting heating and air conditioning systems in order to improve the regime and contribute to carbon emission reductions and energy efficiency savings. The new requirements aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the regime by increasing the threshold for inspection to focus on larger systems. It further aims to improve the regime’s impact by broadening the scope of inspection to include combined heating and ventilation systems and combined air conditioning and ventilation systems.

The Government proposes to retain its domestic arrangements (i.e. take the option of Alternative Measures). This means continuing to provide consumers with the advice necessary to make informed decisions on the energy efficiency of their heating systems and widening the scope to include combined heating and ventilation systems. The United Kingdom boiler market is the biggest in the world and has some of the most experienced manufacturers and installers. The United Kingdom’s equivalence reports, which are required to demonstrate that the domestic policy achieves the aims intended by the changes to the regulations, have demonstrated that the carbon savings attributable to the UK’s Alternative Measures were greater than those that would have been achieved through inspection. One of the key elements of the domestic regime is Boiler Plus whose standards are expected to help reduce carbon emissions by up to 2 MtCO2e[1] in Carbon Budget 4 (2023-2027)[2] and 3.2 MtCO2e in Carbon Budget 5 (2028-2032)[3], whilst enabling consumers to heat homes at a lower cost.

The consultation also proposes to amend the inspection regime for air conditioning systems increasing the threshold and widening the scope to include combined air conditioning and ventilation systems, bringing with it the benefits of a stronger regime set out above.

These measures are only part of our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment. The Government is determined that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and improving the energy performance of our buildings will be a key factor in tackling climate change, achieving clean growth and safeguarding our planet for the future.

This Written Ministerial Statement covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in relation to the inspection of heating systems. It covers England and Wales in respect of the proposed changes to air conditioning inspections. The devolved administrations are considering similar changes.

The consultation document can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-performance-of-buildings-changes-to-the-energy-performance-of-buildings-regulations-2012-no-3118

I am depositing a copy of the consultation in libraries of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

[1] A metric measure used to compare the emissions from different greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP).

[2] 4th carbon budget (2023 to 2027) 1,950 MtCO2e

[3] 5th carbon budget (2028 to 2032)1,725 MtCO2e

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS240
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Mr Simon Clarke (Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government)
Commons

Contingencies Fund Advance

I hereby give notice of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s intention to seek an advance from the Contingencies Fund. The Department requires an advance of its cash requirement pending parliamentary approval of the Main Estimate 2020-21.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,415,000,000 will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,415,000,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS236
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 18 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Contingencies Fund Advance

My Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government (Simon Clarke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I hereby give notice of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s intention to seek an advance from the Contingencies Fund. The Department requires an advance of its cash requirement pending parliamentary approval of the Main Estimate 2020-21.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,415,000,000 will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,415,000,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS239
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Planning update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Virtual working and planning – Responding to Covid – 19 Restrictions

Introduction

The planning system has a vital role to play in enabling the delivery of housing and economic growth that will support the UK’s economic recovery. It is important that the system continues to operate effectively, ensuring that all those involved, including local authorities, the Planning Inspectorate, developers, statutory consultees, local communities and others can engage in the process while adhering to the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

This Statement sets out the Government’s expectations for how the planning system should be operating during the COVID-19 emergency. It applies to applications and appeals under the Town and Country Planning Act; Development Consent Orders under the Planning Act 2008; the Compulsory Purchase Order regime and to development plans, including neighbourhood plans and spatial development strategies.

The role of digital

Local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate drive the planning process forward and should ensure that it continues to operate effectively to support economic recovery. Moving to digital events and processes will be critical. This means adapting to working virtually, including virtual hearings and events (such as using video-conferencing and/or telephone) and making documents available for inspection online. The Government expects everyone involved in the planning process to engage proactively.

The Government considers that the current legislative framework allows for virtual hearings. It is confident that processes can be put in place in the vast majority of cases to allow for the participation of all parties. The Government recognises that the method by which hearings and events are conducted is a matter for the Inspectorate, operating in accordance with their legal obligations, and it expects these arrangements to be made as the default method of operation in the vast majority of cases. The Government recognises that in exceptional circumstances it may not be fair to proceed virtually and that alternative arrangements may be needed. These alternative arrangements should be taken forward speedily, where possible, taking into account the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

The Government expects opportunities for virtual hearings and processes to be maximised. It will draw from current and emerging practice to inform policy and process in the longer term.

Virtual events

The Government fully supports the Planning Inspectorate’s programme for moving to digital inquiries, hearings, meetings and other events. Digital events present opportunities to increase participation in planning processes which are important for local communities and will minimise the impacts of delays to planning decisions which might otherwise occur due to the requirements for social distancing.

The Inspectorate conducted the first digital hearing event on 11 May and will be quickly scaling up in relation to further virtual events during May and early June where this is consistent with fair participation. In doing so it will accommodate essential legal and procedural requirements. The Government expects events to be taking place virtually by mid-June, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Government expects Inspectors and Examining Authorities to take decisions about whether and how virtual events should proceed and to consider the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation.

The Courts have led in demonstrating the successful use of technology to continue their work. Recognising that the use of technology to support virtual planning events may be challenging, the Government expects that appropriate measures are put in place by the Inspectorate to test the technology and ensure that it enables fair participation. It also expects the Inspectorate to identity those more exceptional circumstances where a virtual event may not be appropriate, making decisions about how to proceed based on the facts of each particular case.

Digital documentation

The effects of COVID-19 mean that it is not always possible to access public buildings. As a result, access to planning documents by making them physically available for inspection at local libraries, council offices etc, is now not available. During these exceptional circumstances, the Government considers that online inspection of documents should be the default position across all planning regimes, and it is actively exploring all options to achieve this.

The Government recognises there are sections of the community with limited or no access to the internet and authorities and developers should take reasonable steps to ensure those without access are involved and consider alternative and creative ways to achieve this where possible. This could for example, include sending out documents by CD or USB stick where this meets the needs of those requesting such documents.

As restrictions are eased, planning authorities and others should integrate the range of methods that are available to them into their approaches to ensure all sections of the community are reached as thoroughly as is practically possible.

Site Visits

Site visits, whether conducted by local authorities, planning inspectors or statutory consultees, are an important part of the process of considering development proposals and plans. Where site visits are required or necessary, they should be undertaken in line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing and safety requirements. .

The Planning Inspectorate will be restarting site visits from mid-May. The Government supports the Inspectorate’s determination to facilitate site visits. It will expect Inspectors to use their judgement in deciding if a site visit is necessary or whether alternative approaches are acceptable, taking account of the particular circumstances.

Publicity and community engagement

The Government will introduce from tomorrow temporary regulations to supplement the existing statutory publicity arrangements for planning applications, listed building consent applications and environmental statements for EIA development.

Local planning authorities (and applicants of EIA development under the TCPA) now have the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirements for site notices, neighbour notifications or newspaper publicity. These steps will notify people who are likely to have an interest in the application and indicate where further information about it can be viewed online. These steps can include the use of social media and other electronic communications and must be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposed development.

Guidance to accompany these regulations will also be published to highlight what alternative publicity local planning authorities could undertake. In particular, if local newspapers are not circulating in their area, authorities should seek to use local online news portals in the first instance.

In relation to development plans, the Government has issued additional planning guidance on reviewing and updating Statements of Community Involvement and Neighbourhood Planning to support authorities and neighbourhood planning groups in engaging with their communities on their plans at this time

Guidance and Advice

The Planning Inspectorate has published and regularly updates guidance on its work during the COVID-19 social distancing measures, which can be viewed here (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-inspectorate-guidance).

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS235
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Construction update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Our Plan to Rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published by the Government on Monday 11 May makes clear that construction work can be undertaken across England providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. A number of developers have already announced plans to restart work on sites.

In doing so, the Government recognises that the construction industry needs to be able to adapt its normal practices. As part of this, temporary extensions to working hours may be required on some sites to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to facilitate social distancing in the wider community, for instance by reducing pressure on public transport. It might be necessary to start work earlier in the day or work until later in the evenings.

However, many construction sites in England are subject to controls which restrict their hours of operation. These controls include planning conditions, which might directly restrict working hours or which might restrict working hours through a construction management plan. These conditions may be necessary, for example, to make the development acceptable to local residents and businesses who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement is to make clear that, with immediate effect, local planning authorities should take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. This is to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to proceed at pace with work otherwise delayed as a result of COVID-19.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

Where only a short term or modest increase to working hours is required, local planning authorities should, having regard to the reason for the condition and to their legal obligations, not seek to undertake enforcement action.

Where developers require longer term or more significant changes to working hours, they should apply to the local planning authority to temporarily amend a condition or a construction management plan in the usual way. In doing so, it will be important for applicants to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward brief plans to manage concerns, drawing on existing good practice. In return, local planning authorities should respond speedily and sympathetically and engage positively with applicants to find solutions. Local authorities should prioritise these types of applications and give early clarity on the acceptability of extended hours to developers. They should ensure that decisions are issued quickly – with the aim of doing so within 10 working days.

In allowing greater flexibility, the Government recognises the need to mitigate the impact that any temporary relaxation of working hours could have on local residents and businesses. Requests to extend working hours should be proportionate and should not involve working on Sundays or bank holidays.

However, local authorities should not refuse requests to extend working hours until 9pm, Monday to Saturday without very compelling reasons for rejection. In some cases, such as in areas without residential properties, extending working hours beyond this, including allowing 24 hour working where appropriate, may be justified. In all cases, sympathetic site management should be demonstrated to mitigate local impacts and local authorities should show best endeavours to facilitate such requests.

Applications should only be refused where there are very compelling reasons such as significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which cannot be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable.

Any temporary changes to construction working hours conditions granted by local planning authorities should not extend beyond 13 May 2021.

This Statement covers England only. The need for the Statement will be reviewed when the requirement for social distancing on construction sites diminishes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS234
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Planning update

Virtual working and planning – Responding to Covid – 19 Restrictions

Introduction

The planning system has a vital role to play in enabling the delivery of housing and economic growth that will support the UK’s economic recovery. It is important that the system continues to operate effectively, ensuring that all those involved, including local authorities, the Planning Inspectorate, developers, statutory consultees, local communities and others can engage in the process while adhering to the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

This Statement sets out the Government’s expectations for how the planning system should be operating during the COVID-19 emergency. It applies to applications and appeals under the Town and Country Planning Act; Development Consent Orders under the Planning Act 2008; the Compulsory Purchase Order regime and to development plans, including neighbourhood plans and spatial development strategies.

The role of digital

Local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate drive the planning process forward and should ensure that it continues to operate effectively to support economic recovery. Moving to digital events and processes will be critical. This means adapting to working virtually, including virtual hearings and events (such as using video-conferencing and/or telephone) and making documents available for inspection online. The Government expects everyone involved in the planning process to engage proactively.

The Government considers that the current legislative framework allows for virtual hearings. It is confident that processes can be put in place in the vast majority of cases to allow for the participation of all parties. The Government recognises that the method by which hearings and events are conducted is a matter for the Inspectorate, operating in accordance with their legal obligations, and it expects these arrangements to be made as the default method of operation in the vast majority of cases. The Government recognises that in exceptional circumstances it may not be fair to proceed virtually and that alternative arrangements may be needed. These alternative arrangements should be taken forward speedily, where possible, taking into account the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

The Government expects opportunities for virtual hearings and processes to be maximised. It will draw from current and emerging practice to inform policy and process in the longer term.

Virtual events

The Government fully supports the Planning Inspectorate’s programme for moving to digital inquiries, hearings, meetings and other events. Digital events present opportunities to increase participation in planning processes which are important for local communities and will minimise the impacts of delays to planning decisions which might otherwise occur due to the requirements for social distancing.

The Inspectorate conducted the first digital hearing event on 11 May and will be quickly scaling up in relation to further virtual events during May and early June where this is consistent with fair participation. In doing so it will accommodate essential legal and procedural requirements. The Government expects events to be taking place virtually by mid-June, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Government expects Inspectors and Examining Authorities to take decisions about whether and how virtual events should proceed and to consider the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation.

The Courts have led in demonstrating the successful use of technology to continue their work. Recognising that the use of technology to support virtual planning events may be challenging, the Government expects that appropriate measures are put in place by the Inspectorate to test the technology and ensure that it enables fair participation. It also expects the Inspectorate to identity those more exceptional circumstances where a virtual event may not be appropriate, making decisions about how to proceed based on the facts of each particular case.

Digital documentation

The effects of COVID-19 mean that it is not always possible to access public buildings. As a result, access to planning documents by making them physically available for inspection at local libraries, council offices etc, is now not available. During these exceptional circumstances, the Government considers that online inspection of documents should be the default position across all planning regimes, and it is actively exploring all options to achieve this.

The Government recognises there are sections of the community with limited or no access to the internet and authorities and developers should take reasonable steps to ensure those without access are involved and consider alternative and creative ways to achieve this where possible. This could for example, include sending out documents by CD or USB stick where this meets the needs of those requesting such documents.

As restrictions are eased, planning authorities and others should integrate the range of methods that are available to them into their approaches to ensure all sections of the community are reached as thoroughly as is practically possible.

Site Visits

Site visits, whether conducted by local authorities, planning inspectors or statutory consultees, are an important part of the process of considering development proposals and plans. Where site visits are required or necessary, they should be undertaken in line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing and safety requirements. .

The Planning Inspectorate will be restarting site visits from mid-May. The Government supports the Inspectorate’s determination to facilitate site visits. It will expect Inspectors to use their judgement in deciding if a site visit is necessary or whether alternative approaches are acceptable, taking account of the particular circumstances.

Publicity and community engagement

The Government will introduce from tomorrow temporary regulations to supplement the existing statutory publicity arrangements for planning applications, listed building consent applications and environmental statements for EIA development.

Local planning authorities (and applicants of EIA development under the TCPA) now have the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirements for site notices, neighbour notifications or newspaper publicity. These steps will notify people who are likely to have an interest in the application and indicate where further information about it can be viewed online. These steps can include the use of social media and other electronic communications and must be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposed development.

Guidance to accompany these regulations will also be published to highlight what alternative publicity local planning authorities could undertake. In particular, if local newspapers are not circulating in their area, authorities should seek to use local online news portals in the first instance.

In relation to development plans, the Government has issued additional planning guidance on reviewing and updating Statements of Community Involvement and Neighbourhood Planning to support authorities and neighbourhood planning groups in engaging with their communities on their plans at this time

Guidance and Advice

The Planning Inspectorate has published and regularly updates guidance on its work during the COVID-19 social distancing measures, which can be viewed here (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-inspectorate-guidance).

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS231
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 May 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Construction update

Our Plan to Rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published by the Government on Monday 11 May makes clear that construction work can be undertaken across England providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. A number of developers have already announced plans to restart work on sites.

In doing so, the Government recognises that the construction industry needs to be able to adapt its normal practices. As part of this, temporary extensions to working hours may be required on some sites to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to facilitate social distancing in the wider community, for instance by reducing pressure on public transport. It might be necessary to start work earlier in the day or work until later in the evenings.

However, many construction sites in England are subject to controls which restrict their hours of operation. These controls include planning conditions, which might directly restrict working hours or which might restrict working hours through a construction management plan. These conditions may be necessary, for example, to make the development acceptable to local residents and businesses who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement is to make clear that, with immediate effect, local planning authorities should take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. This is to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to proceed at pace with work otherwise delayed as a result of COVID-19.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

Where only a short term or modest increase to working hours is required, local planning authorities should, having regard to the reason for the condition and to their legal obligations, not seek to undertake enforcement action.

Where developers require longer term or more significant changes to working hours, they should apply to the local planning authority to temporarily amend a condition or a construction management plan in the usual way. In doing so, it will be important for applicants to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward brief plans to manage concerns, drawing on existing good practice. In return, local planning authorities should respond speedily and sympathetically and engage positively with applicants to find solutions. Local authorities should prioritise these types of applications and give early clarity on the acceptability of extended hours to developers. They should ensure that decisions are issued quickly – with the aim of doing so within 10 working days.

In allowing greater flexibility, the Government recognises the need to mitigate the impact that any temporary relaxation of working hours could have on local residents and businesses. Requests to extend working hours should be proportionate and should not involve working on Sundays or bank holidays.

However, local authorities should not refuse requests to extend working hours until 9pm, Monday to Saturday without very compelling reasons for rejection. In some cases, such as in areas without residential properties, extending working hours beyond this, including allowing 24 hour working where appropriate, may be justified. In all cases, sympathetic site management should be demonstrated to mitigate local impacts and local authorities should show best endeavours to facilitate such requests.

Applications should only be refused where there are very compelling reasons such as significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which cannot be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable.

Any temporary changes to construction working hours conditions granted by local planning authorities should not extend beyond 13 May 2021.

This Statement covers England only. The need for the Statement will be reviewed when the requirement for social distancing on construction sites diminishes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS230
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Local Government Finance update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to set out to the House the financial support my department has provided to local government so that it can fulfil its essential role in the national response to covid-19.

Additional Funding

In total I have announced over £3.2 billion of additional funding for councils to support their continued efforts to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in their communities, both through increased expenditure and those budgetary pressures that arise from falls in income during the lockdown period.

Recognising that councils are best placed to decide how to meet pressures in their local area, this funding has not been ringfenced; however, we expect councils to prioritise spending in those areas where we asked them to carry out extra work and new tasks, in particular, in relation to adult social care, children’s services, public health services, shielding the vulnerable, homelessness and rough sleeping, supporting the NHS, and managing excess deaths.

An initial £1.6 billion of funding was announced on 19 March, and allocated based on a mixture of the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula; and the 2013-14 Settlement Funding Assessment, which is a measure of general service needs – both of which are familiar formulations to local councils. Further details of this allocation, broken down by individual local authority, can be found on the government website.

On 18 April I announced a further £1.6 billion to support councils in their continued response to the pandemic. Full details of the allocation of this further funding were announced on 28 April 2020 and have, once again, been made available on the Government website. These additional allocations have been made on a per capita basis, using the latest ONS population projections. This reflects that this is a national emergency and there are a range of pressures across local government. For two-tier areas, the split of this funding between county and district authorities will be 65:35. This provides significantly more funding to district councils than the first round of allocations reflecting the impact that a reduction in incomes from sales, fees and charges has had, particularly on these councils. However, this formulation also continues to reflect the acute pressures on social care.

Of the additional funding, £28.5 million will support standalone fire and rescue authorities (including Greater Manchester Fire). In addition, the Home Office will launch a £6 million Fire Covid-19 Contingency Fund specifically to support fire and rescue authorities who incur significant costs as a result of additional duties during the covid-19 outbreak.

Cashflow Support

On 16 April, I announced measures to provide cashflow support to authorities. These were intended in part to mitigate the impact of temporary delays in tax payments. These measures include deferring the payment of the central government share of business rates by councils: payments collectively worth £2.6 billion; and, bringing forward central government payments of social care grants worth £850 million, so that they are paid entirely in April rather than in April, May, and June.

Future Reform

I am committed to reforming the funding framework for local government so that it is simpler, more up to date, and more transparent. However, in order to ensure that we get these reforms right, both the Government and councils need to work together to arrive at the right approach. Neither we nor councils currently have the capacity, nor the necessary degree of financial certainty, to engage properly with these reforms now. As such, I have announced that we will be suspending implementation of the Review of Relative Needs and Resources and the planned increase to 75% business rates retention in 2021-22. These decisions will allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenge posed by the pandemic.

The Government will work closely with local councils as it determines how best to treat accumulated business rates growth and the local government finance settlement in 2021-22.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS220
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 April 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Finance update

I wish to set out to the House the financial support my department has provided to local government so that it can fulfil its essential role in the national response to covid-19.

Additional Funding

In total I have announced over £3.2 billion of additional funding for councils to support their continued efforts to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in their communities, both through increased expenditure and those budgetary pressures that arise from falls in income during the lockdown period.

Recognising that councils are best placed to decide how to meet pressures in their local area, this funding has not been ringfenced; however, we expect councils to prioritise spending in those areas where we asked them to carry out extra work and new tasks, in particular, in relation to adult social care, children’s services, public health services, shielding the vulnerable, homelessness and rough sleeping, supporting the NHS, and managing excess deaths.

An initial £1.6 billion of funding was announced on 19 March, and allocated based on a mixture of the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula; and the 2013-14 Settlement Funding Assessment, which is a measure of general service needs – both of which are familiar formulations to local councils. Further details of this allocation, broken down by individual local authority, can be found on the government website.

On 18 April I announced a further £1.6 billion to support councils in their continued response to the pandemic. Full details of the allocation of this further funding were announced on 28 April 2020 and have, once again, been made available on the Government website. These additional allocations have been made on a per capita basis, using the latest ONS population projections. This reflects that this is a national emergency and there are a range of pressures across local government. For two-tier areas, the split of this funding between county and district authorities will be 65:35. This provides significantly more funding to district councils than the first round of allocations reflecting the impact that a reduction in incomes from sales, fees and charges has had, particularly on these councils. However, this formulation also continues to reflect the acute pressures on social care.

Of the additional funding, £28.5 million will support standalone fire and rescue authorities (including Greater Manchester Fire). In addition, the Home Office will launch a £6 million Fire Covid-19 Contingency Fund specifically to support fire and rescue authorities who incur significant costs as a result of additional duties during the covid-19 outbreak.

Cashflow Support

On 16 April, I announced measures to provide cashflow support to authorities. These were intended in part to mitigate the impact of temporary delays in tax payments. These measures include deferring the payment of the central government share of business rates by councils: payments collectively worth £2.6 billion; and, bringing forward central government payments of social care grants worth £850 million, so that they are paid entirely in April rather than in April, May, and June.

Future Reform

I am committed to reforming the funding framework for local government so that it is simpler, more up to date, and more transparent. However, in order to ensure that we get these reforms right, both the Government and councils need to work together to arrive at the right approach. Neither we nor councils currently have the capacity, nor the necessary degree of financial certainty, to engage properly with these reforms now. As such, I have announced that we will be suspending implementation of the Review of Relative Needs and Resources and the planned increase to 75% business rates retention in 2021-22. These decisions will allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenge posed by the pandemic.

The Government will work closely with local councils as it determines how best to treat accumulated business rates growth and the local government finance settlement in 2021-22.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS216
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 March 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Delivery restrictions

I wish to update the House on the urgent matter of enabling retailers of food, sanitary and other essential items to increase the frequency of deliveries to their stores to support the response to Covid-19.

Many supermarkets, food retailers and distribution centres in England are subject to controls which restrict the time and number of deliveries from lorries and other delivery vehicles, particularly at night. These include planning conditions, which are necessary to making the development acceptable to local residents who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues as a result of these deliveries.

Given the exceptional challenges facing the UK from the coronavirus however, it is vital that deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible, minimising disruption to the supply chains on which our communities depend. The likely pressures on driver capacity mean additional flexibility is needed so that retailers can accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity, and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement, which comes into effect immediately, is to make clear that as a matter of urgency local planning authorities should take a positive approach to their engagement with food retailers and distributors, as well as the freight industry, to ensure planning controls are not a barrier to food delivery over the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

Given the current situation local planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting deliveries of food and other essential deliveries during this period, having regard to their legal obligations.

The Government recognises that the increased frequency of deliveries, particularly at night, could have a temporary impact on local residents. However, this needs to be balanced by the significant public interest in ensuring local residents have continued access to food, sanitary and other essential goods in their local shops. The retail and logistics sectors have also worked to minimise impacts on residents over recent years through Quiet Deliveries and the Government expects that such good practice continues. The Government will review the need for the flexibility outlined in this statement after the pressure from the coronavirus has reduced, and it is the intention to withdraw it once the immediate urgency has subsided.

This Written Ministerial Statement only covers England. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to consider similar arrangements.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS154
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 13 March 2020
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Lords Deputy Chief Whip)
Lords

Delivery restrictions

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing,Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to update the House on the urgent matter of enabling retailers of food, sanitary and other essential items to increase the frequency of deliveries to their stores to support the response to Covid-19.

Many supermarkets, food retailers and distribution centres in England are subject to controls which restrict the time and number of deliveries from lorries and other delivery vehicles, particularly at night. These include planning conditions, which are necessary to making the development acceptable to local residents who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues as a result of these deliveries.

Given the exceptional challenges facing the UK from the coronavirus however, it is vital that deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible, minimising disruption to the supply chains on which our communities depend. The likely pressures on driver capacity mean additional flexibility is needed so that retailers can accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity, and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement, which comes into effect immediately, is to make clear that as a matter of urgency local planning authorities should take a positive approach to their engagement with food retailers and distributors, as well as the freight industry, to ensure planning controls are not a barrier to food delivery over the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

Given the current situation local planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting deliveries of food and other essential deliveries during this period, having regard to their legal obligations.

The Government recognises that the increased frequency of deliveries, particularly at night, could have a temporary impact on local residents. However, this needs to be balanced by the significant public interest in ensuring local residents have continued access to food, sanitary and other essential goods in their local shops. The retail and logistics sectors have also worked to minimise impacts on residents over recent years through Quiet Deliveries and the Government expects that such good practice continues. The Government will review the need for the flexibility outlined in this statement after the pressure from the coronavirus has reduced, and it is the intention to withdraw it once the immediate urgency has subsided.

This Written Ministerial Statement only covers England. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to consider similar arrangements.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS159
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 06 February 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Finance

Today I laid before the House the ‘Local Government Finance Report (England) 2020–21’, the ‘Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report 2020-21’ and the ‘Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Alternative Notional Amounts) (England) Report 2020-21’, which represent the final local government finance settlement for 2020-21.

This year’s settlement delivers an increase in Core Spending Power from £46.2 billion in 2019-20 to £49.2 billion in 2020-21. In real terms this is a 4.4% increase and the largest year on year real terms increase in a decade.

The local government finance settlement relies on collaboration. My Ministers and I have engaged extensively with the sector, holding meetings with representative groups, with councils, and with MPs. During this process, we received over 200 representations from organisations or individuals, and these have been carefully considered before finalising the settlement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all colleagues in the House, and council leaders and officers, who have contributed to the consultation process.

This year’s settlement is a strong and well-balanced package, that delivers significant extra resources to the priority areas of adult and children’s social care, whilst protecting other vital service areas.

Extra social care resources

This Government is serious about protecting the millions of people that rely upon adult and children’s social care in their daily lives. To do this, this settlement will allow local authorities to access an additional £1.5 billion for social care. This comprises £1 billion of additional grant – for both adult and children’s social care – and a proposed 2% council tax precept for adult social care, which will enable councils to access a further £500 million. £150 million of the additional grant will be used to equalise the distributional impact of the adult social care council tax precept.

These additional resources sit on top of the existing social care package, which will continue at 2019-20 levels, and mean that local authorities will have access to almost £6 billion of dedicated funding across adult and children’s social care in 2020-21.

Core settlement resources

The local government finance settlement for 2020-21 will also protect other key services by providing a uniform percentage uplift in core settlement resources, in line with the change in the small business rates multiplier. Vital services are also protected by continuing other key grants from 2019-20.

Council tax 

Local authorities will continue to be able to increase council tax in 2020-21 by a core principle of up to 2%, without holding a local referendum, with a bespoke council tax referendum principle of 2% or £5, whichever is higher, for shire district councils, and a £10 Band D council tax referendum principle for all police authorities.

Authorities with adult social care responsibilities will be able to increase their council tax by a further 2% on top of the core principle, without holding a local referendum, to be spent exclusively on adult social care.

The proposed referendum principles strike a balance between giving local authorities the flexibility to address service pressures, and not overburdening council tax payers with excessive increases which do not have local support.

The 2020-21 final local government finance settlement will mean that the expected average council tax increase for 2020-21 will be the lowest since 2016.

New Homes Bonus 

The Government will be making a new round of allocations of the New Homes Bonus for 2020-21, amounting to £907 million.

As part of this, I am committing an additional £7 million to maintain the growth baseline for payments at 0.4%. We will make no legacy payments on these new allocations, but the Government will make legacy payments on allocations made in earlier years which are due to be paid in 2020-21.

In order to ensure that the New Homes Bonus is focussed on incentivising homes where they are needed most, I am announcing that the Government will consult on the future of the housing incentive in the Spring. This will include moving to a new, more targeted approach that rewards local authorities where they are ambitious in delivering the homes we need.

Rural Services Delivery Grant 

We will continue to recognise the extra costs of delivering services in rural areas and propose to maintain last year’s Rural Services Delivery Grant of £81 million, which is the joint-highest paid to date. It will be distributed using the same methodology as in 2019-20, which allocated funding to the top quartile of local authorities on the ‘super-sparsity’ indicator.

Conclusion

This settlement acts as the foundation for a robust and resilient future for local government finance, delivering on calls for certainty and stability from local government. For those who deliver key front-line services, it provides significant extra resources where they are needed most.

I look forward to debating this topic with all MPs next week.

WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 30 January 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Housing update

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission has published their final report today. I am depositing this report in the libraries of the House and made it available on www.gov.uk. I would like to thank the Commissioners for all of their hard work in producing the report. The government will provide a response in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS78
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 30 January 2020
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Housing update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing,Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission has published their final report today. I am depositing this report in the libraries of the House and made it available on www.gov.uk. I would like to thank the Commissioners for all of their hard work in producing the report. The government will provide a response in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS81
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 January 2020
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Housing update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, I am laying before Parliament a departmental minute setting out the details of a contingent liability that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government intends to take on. The contingent liability will be created by the £1billion ENABLE Build guarantee scheme.

ENABLE Build - announced at Autumn Budget 2018 and launched in May 2019 – is being delivered through the British Business Bank with the support of Homes England. Under the scheme the Ministry is guaranteeing loan portfolios of new lending to smaller housebuilders in order to encourage additional lending.

A lack of development finance has been identified as a barrier preventing smaller builders from delivering more. Through this scheme the Government will support SME housebuilders to grow and get Britain building the homes we need.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS74
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 29 January 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Housing update

Today, I am laying before Parliament a departmental minute setting out the details of a contingent liability that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government intends to take on. The contingent liability will be created by the £1billion ENABLE Build guarantee scheme.

ENABLE Build - announced at Autumn Budget 2018 and launched in May 2019 – is being delivered through the British Business Bank with the support of Homes England. Under the scheme the Ministry is guaranteeing loan portfolios of new lending to smaller housebuilders in order to encourage additional lending.

A lack of development finance has been identified as a barrier preventing smaller builders from delivering more. Through this scheme the Government will support SME housebuilders to grow and get Britain building the homes we need.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS70
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 28 January 2020
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Rough Sleeping Initiative allocation of additional funding for 2020/21

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, I am announcing provisional allocations of up to £112 million for a third year of Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding. This funding covers around 270 local authorities in England, including those that were part of joint funding proposals and represents an uplift of £26 million on last year’s Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding.

We announced the Rough Sleeping Initiative in March 2018 to make an immediate impact on rough sleeping. Our impact evaluation of the initiative (published September 2019) demonstrated that it drove the first national reduction in rough sleeping in almost a decade. The analysis demonstrated a 32% net reduction in the number of rough sleepers, compared to what the level would have been had the initiative not been in place.

To build on the Rough Sleeping Initiative, we launched the Rapid Rehousing Pathway. This approach includes funding for Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs, which provide warm and dry shelter, rapid assessment, and support to people who are already, or at risk of, sleeping rough; specialist Navigators, who act as a single point of contact to support people from the streets into settled accommodation; the establishment of Local Lettings Agencies to source, identify, or provide homes and advice for rough sleepers or those at risk; and funding for Supported Lettings initiatives, which will provide flexible support to help individuals sustain their tenancies.

For the next financial year we have combined the Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway to form one consolidated funding pot for 2020/21, to simplify the process for local authorities. We have drawn on learnings from both programmes to optimise the effectiveness of next year’s funding, which was open to all local authorities in England. Since October 2019 our expert adviser teams have worked intensively with local authorities to coproduce plans to further reduce rough sleeping.

A full list of the areas funded is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-initiative-2020-to-2021-funding-allocations

With the funding I have announced today, local areas will be able to enhance services that connect people with the right support and sustainable housing to move them swiftly away from the street and facilitate their recovery. This important work is part of delivering on the commitment made in the government manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS69
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 28 January 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Rough Sleeping Initiative allocation of additional funding for 2020/21

Today, I am announcing provisional allocations of up to £112 million for a third year of Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding. This funding covers around 270 local authorities in England, including those that were part of joint funding proposals and represents an uplift of £26 million on last year’s Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding.

We announced the Rough Sleeping Initiative in March 2018 to make an immediate impact on rough sleeping. Our impact evaluation of the initiative (published September 2019) demonstrated that it drove the first national reduction in rough sleeping in almost a decade. The analysis demonstrated a 32% net reduction in the number of rough sleepers, compared to what the level would have been had the initiative not been in place.

To build on the Rough Sleeping Initiative, we launched the Rapid Rehousing Pathway. This approach includes funding for Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs, which provide warm and dry shelter, rapid assessment, and support to people who are already, or at risk of, sleeping rough; specialist Navigators, who act as a single point of contact to support people from the streets into settled accommodation; the establishment of Local Lettings Agencies to source, identify, or provide homes and advice for rough sleepers or those at risk; and funding for Supported Lettings initiatives, which will provide flexible support to help individuals sustain their tenancies.

For the next financial year we have combined the Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway to form one consolidated funding pot for 2020/21, to simplify the process for local authorities. We have drawn on learnings from both programmes to optimise the effectiveness of next year’s funding, which was open to all local authorities in England. Since October 2019 our expert adviser teams have worked intensively with local authorities to coproduce plans to further reduce rough sleeping.

A full list of the areas funded is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-initiative-2020-to-2021-funding-allocations

With the funding I have announced today, local areas will be able to enhance services that connect people with the right support and sustainable housing to move them swiftly away from the street and facilitate their recovery. This important work is part of delivering on the commitment made in the government manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS65
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