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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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 09 January 2020
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Towns 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 announcing the opportunity for towns across England to compete in a new Town of the Year competition. The competition aims to celebrate towns’ achievements in areas such as entrepreneurship, technology, community, enterprise, and integration. This will help deliver on the Prime Minister’s bold agenda for the future, making this decade a time of renewal for towns and communities.

In the months ahead, I will complete a countrywide tour of all the 100 areas receiving funding under the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. This will ensure these places are receiving the practical support and investment they need on the ground so we can help local communities to deliver real change.

£16 million of funding has now been delivered to local authorities to help develop new innovative proposals in the 100 areas across England, as part of the Towns Fund. Each place will have the opportunity to bid for funding of up to £25 million.

To assist with this, I will establish a new ‘Towns Hub’ within my department, which will work to develop each town’s investment proposals. The hubs, based across the country will have a named representative from the department, supporting local people on the development of their plan. They will also evaluate the emerging town investment plans, share best practice across towns and build on the Towns Fund investments for potential future support to towns from across government.

Finally, today I am also announcing a new expert-led advisory panel, which will be convened to advise on how we can revitalise our towns over the next year. The specialists, including entrepreneurs and people who have delivered real change, will help shape this government’s policy to support the growth agenda.

These announcements reaffirms out the Government’s ambition to level up the country. It sets out how we will help restore the fabric of our towns and cities and give local people far more control in how they are invested in, and to hear directly from people in these communities on the specific support and investment they need.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS28
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 09 January 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Towns update

Today I am announcing the opportunity for towns across England to compete in a new Town of the Year competition. The competition aims to celebrate towns’ achievements in areas such as entrepreneurship, technology, community, enterprise, and integration. This will help deliver on the Prime Minister’s bold agenda for the future, making this decade a time of renewal for towns and communities.

In the months ahead, I will complete a countrywide tour of all the 100 areas receiving funding under the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. This will ensure these places are receiving the practical support and investment they need on the ground so we can help local communities to deliver real change.

£16 million of funding has now been delivered to local authorities to help develop new innovative proposals in the 100 areas across England, as part of the Towns Fund. Each place will have the opportunity to bid for funding of up to £25 million.

To assist with this, I will establish a new ‘Towns Hub’ within my department, which will work to develop each town’s investment proposals. The hubs, based across the country will have a named representative from the department, supporting local people on the development of their plan. They will also evaluate the emerging town investment plans, share best practice across towns and build on the Towns Fund investments for potential future support to towns from across government.

Finally, today I am also announcing a new expert-led advisory panel, which will be convened to advise on how we can revitalise our towns over the next year. The specialists, including entrepreneurs and people who have delivered real change, will help shape this government’s policy to support the growth agenda.

These announcements reaffirms out the Government’s ambition to level up the country. It sets out how we will help restore the fabric of our towns and cities and give local people far more control in how they are invested in, and to hear directly from people in these communities on the specific support and investment they need.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS25
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 08 January 2020
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Departmental 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:

Troubled Families allocations

On 5 January I announced up to £165 million of new funding for the Troubled Families Programme for 2020-21. This funding will provide intensive support for some of the most vulnerable families and place the programme on a stable footing for the future. It will help more families to get early, practical and coordinated support to transform their lives for the better, with key workers working with the whole family to address their needs holistically rather than responding to each problem, or single family member separately.

This funding will also help local authorities and their partners to work together to reduce demand and dependency on costly, reactive key public services. The latest evaluation results show that as a result of the Troubled Families programme, two years after joining there were a third fewer children going into care, a quarter fewer adults going to prison, 15 per cent fewer juvenile convictions and 11 per cent fewer claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

Pets in privately rented accommodation

As part of the steps the government is taking to secure a better deal for renters, I have called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes while recognising landlords’ rights to protect their properties from damage. Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, but some families can’t experience this because they rent their homes privately. We will publish a revised model tenancy agreement shortly, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements, to remove restrictions on responsible tenants with well-behaved pets.

Rogue landlord enforcement

I have awarded more than 100 councils across England a share of over £4 million to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents through the Private Rented Sector Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund. This builds on £2.4 million awarded in January 2019 and will continue the government’s ongoing work to make the private rented sector fairer and stamp out criminal practices for good. Most landlords provide decent homes for their tenants, but a small minority persist in breaking the law, making tenants’ lives a misery by offering inadequate or unsafe housing. The grants support a range of projects to enable councils to make the best use of their enforcement powers and include trialling innovative ideas, sharing best practice and targeted enforcement where we know landlords shirk their responsibilities. The Government is committed to helping good landlords to thrive, and ensuring that hard-working tenants across the country get the homes they deserve - creating a housing market that works for everyone.

High Streets package

At the heart of this new government’s mission is a commitment to supporting places and communities that have been overlooked and undervalued for far too long. We will make an immediate start on levelling up across the regions and I am reorganising my department to relentlessly focus on these places so that we can deliver real change for communities through our £3.6 billion Towns Fund, announced by the Prime Minister in July 2019. It will support an initial 100 town deals across England and which includes £1 billion for the Future High Street Fund.

The Future High Streets Fund aims to renew and reshape town centres in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability. Last week we released over £1 million of additional funding, on top of £13.5 million already invested in local authorities, to further support places developing detailed business cases of their original proposals.

In addition to this funding I also announced that the High Streets Task Force, established to provide hands-on support to local areas, will be piloting interventions, products and services in 20 places in early 2020 before rolling out expert, training and data offer across the country later in the year. The places benefitting from being part of this pilot will be a mixture of local authorities, Business Improvement Districts and community groups. The Task Force is also holding an open recruitment for a Board Chair to provide expert leadership to this programme.

My department has also launched a survey to consult on the proposed register of empty commercial properties, to improve transparency of ownership on the high street and make it easier for businesses or community groups to make use of vacant commercial properties and identify landlords. The consultation exercise will remain open until 9 February 2020, after which we will consider responses and decide how to proceed.

Cold Weather Fund

This Government is committed to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping within the term of this parliament. To this end, on 23 December I announced the allocation of £263 million in funding to local authorities designed to support the delivery of services to tackle homelessness. This is an increase in overall funding for local authority homelessness services of £23 million on the previous financial year.

My department is also funding many additional rough sleeping services across the country this winter through our £10 million Cold Weather Fund. In recognition of the level of interest in the fund we have announced a further £3 million available to all local authorities in England. This will enable us to build on the successes of the fund so far by increasing outreach work further and extending winter shelter provision to support rough sleepers off the streets this winter. These announcements underline our commitment to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping and will ensure local authorities are given the resource they need to make this a reality in local areas.

Housing First

My department announced recently that 200 people have so far been housed through the Housing First pilot, underway since 2018 in Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Liverpool City Region and West Midlands Combined Authority areas. The Housing First approach offers permanent affordable housing to rough sleepers with multiple complex needs as well as wrap-around support to ensure that they are able to maintain their tenancies and provide the support that they need to recover from mental health issues, substance misuse and the physical effects of living on the streets.

Community pubs

On the 22nd of December I announced a £1.15 million fund that will assist an estimated 100 communities to either own their local pub or benefit from new, pub-based community services and facilities. This funding will also create valuable new jobs and volunteering opportunities. Pubs run by the community and for the community help bring people closer together. Importantly, they are a space for older, vulnerable and more isolated residents to access important local services and feel part of their communities.

The £1.15 million fund will support pubs through two key programmes, £650,000 will be allocated to the second ‘more than a pub’ programme. More than a pub provides small grants and specialist advice for community groups at the start of their journey to community ownership. It also supports groups later in the process who require specialist professional advice with larger grants and loans to help with business planning, conveyancing, architectural help or financial advice.

£500,000 will be allocated to Pub is the Hub to enable a range of projects providing new, pub-based community services from post offices and shops to libraries and allotments. This will increase the services available in rural and remote communities and help sustain pubs as community assets and businesses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS22
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 07 January 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Departmental update

Troubled Families allocations

On 5 January I announced up to £165 million of new funding for the Troubled Families Programme for 2020-21. This funding will provide intensive support for some of the most vulnerable families and place the programme on a stable footing for the future. It will help more families to get early, practical and coordinated support to transform their lives for the better, with key workers working with the whole family to address their needs holistically rather than responding to each problem, or single family member separately.

This funding will also help local authorities and their partners to work together to reduce demand and dependency on costly, reactive key public services. The latest evaluation results show that as a result of the Troubled Families programme, two years after joining there were a third fewer children going into care, a quarter fewer adults going to prison, 15 per cent fewer juvenile convictions and 11 per cent fewer claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

Pets in privately rented accommodation

As part of the steps the government is taking to secure a better deal for renters, I have called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes while recognising landlords’ rights to protect their properties from damage. Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, but some families can’t experience this because they rent their homes privately. We will publish a revised model tenancy agreement shortly, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements, to remove restrictions on responsible tenants with well-behaved pets.

Rogue landlord enforcement

I have awarded more than 100 councils across England a share of over £4 million to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents through the Private Rented Sector Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund. This builds on £2.4 million awarded in January 2019 and will continue the government’s ongoing work to make the private rented sector fairer and stamp out criminal practices for good. Most landlords provide decent homes for their tenants, but a small minority persist in breaking the law, making tenants’ lives a misery by offering inadequate or unsafe housing. The grants support a range of projects to enable councils to make the best use of their enforcement powers and include trialling innovative ideas, sharing best practice and targeted enforcement where we know landlords shirk their responsibilities. The Government is committed to helping good landlords to thrive, and ensuring that hard-working tenants across the country get the homes they deserve - creating a housing market that works for everyone.

High Streets package

At the heart of this new government’s mission is a commitment to supporting places and communities that have been overlooked and undervalued for far too long. We will make an immediate start on levelling up across the regions and I am reorganising my department to relentlessly focus on these places so that we can deliver real change for communities through our £3.6 billion Towns Fund, announced by the Prime Minister in July 2019. It will support an initial 100 town deals across England and which includes £1 billion for the Future High Street Fund.

The Future High Streets Fund aims to renew and reshape town centres in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability. Last week we released over £1 million of additional funding, on top of £13.5 million already invested in local authorities, to further support places developing detailed business cases of their original proposals.

In addition to this funding I also announced that the High Streets Task Force, established to provide hands-on support to local areas, will be piloting interventions, products and services in 20 places in early 2020 before rolling out expert, training and data offer across the country later in the year. The places benefitting from being part of this pilot will be a mixture of local authorities, Business Improvement Districts and community groups. The Task Force is also holding an open recruitment for a Board Chair to provide expert leadership to this programme.

My department has also launched a survey to consult on the proposed register of empty commercial properties, to improve transparency of ownership on the high street and make it easier for businesses or community groups to make use of vacant commercial properties and identify landlords. The consultation exercise will remain open until 9 February 2020, after which we will consider responses and decide how to proceed.

Cold Weather Fund

This Government is committed to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping within the term of this parliament. To this end, on 23 December I announced the allocation of £263 million in funding to local authorities designed to support the delivery of services to tackle homelessness. This is an increase in overall funding for local authority homelessness services of £23 million on the previous financial year.

My department is also funding many additional rough sleeping services across the country this winter through our £10 million Cold Weather Fund. In recognition of the level of interest in the fund we have announced a further £3 million available to all local authorities in England. This will enable us to build on the successes of the fund so far by increasing outreach work further and extending winter shelter provision to support rough sleepers off the streets this winter. These announcements underline our commitment to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping and will ensure local authorities are given the resource they need to make this a reality in local areas.

Housing First

My department announced recently that 200 people have so far been housed through the Housing First pilot, underway since 2018 in Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Liverpool City Region and West Midlands Combined Authority areas. The Housing First approach offers permanent affordable housing to rough sleepers with multiple complex needs as well as wrap-around support to ensure that they are able to maintain their tenancies and provide the support that they need to recover from mental health issues, substance misuse and the physical effects of living on the streets.

Community pubs

On the 22nd of December I announced a £1.15 million fund that will assist an estimated 100 communities to either own their local pub or benefit from new, pub-based community services and facilities. This funding will also create valuable new jobs and volunteering opportunities. Pubs run by the community and for the community help bring people closer together. Importantly, they are a space for older, vulnerable and more isolated residents to access important local services and feel part of their communities.

The £1.15 million fund will support pubs through two key programmes, £650,000 will be allocated to the second ‘more than a pub’ programme. More than a pub provides small grants and specialist advice for community groups at the start of their journey to community ownership. It also supports groups later in the process who require specialist professional advice with larger grants and loans to help with business planning, conveyancing, architectural help or financial advice.

£500,000 will be allocated to Pub is the Hub to enable a range of projects providing new, pub-based community services from post offices and shops to libraries and allotments. This will increase the services available in rural and remote communities and help sustain pubs as community assets and businesses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS19
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 December 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local government 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:

Introduction

Today I have published the provisional local government finance settlement for 2020-21. The proposals set out in this consultation will give local authorities a 4.4% real-terms increase in their Core Spending Power, which will rise from £46.2 billion in 2019-20 to £49.1 billion in 2020-21. It is a strong and well-balanced package, that delivers significant extra resources to the priority areas of adult and children’s social care, while offering protection to other key service areas.

In October of this year we launched a technical consultation, within which we invited views on the proposed package for 2020-21. I would like to thank all colleagues in local government for their responses to the October consultation and thank them in advance for comments on this next consultation. I have now taken the responses to the technical consultation into account and, following this, I am now publishing our proposals for the provisional local government finance settlement for 2020-21: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/provisional-local-government-finance-settlement-england-2020-to-2021.

Extra social care resources

We recognise the importance of addressing the challenges in our social care system. This is why we want to build the same level of cross-party consensus on social care as we have with the NHS, to make far-reaching changes to the way these services are financed and delivered.

In the meantime, we will do all we can to support local authorities. The proposals I have published today 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 council tax adult social care 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 over £5.5 billion of dedicated funding across adult and children’s social care in 2020-21.

Core settlement resources

The provisional settlement also provides protection for vital services by increasing core settlement resources, which includes Revenue Support Grant and business rates baseline funding levels, in line with inflation, and by continuing other key grants from 2019-20.

Council tax

The proposed referendum principles strike a balance between giving local authorities the flexibility to address service pressures, without overburdening council tax payers with excessive increases. Local authorities will therefore 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. In addition, councils with adult social care responsibilities will be able to increase their council tax by a further 2%, on top of the core principle, to be spent exclusively on adult social care. If confirmed, this package will mean that the expected average council tax increase for 2020-21 will be the lowest since 2016-17.

New Homes Bonus

To reward local authorities for house building in their area, I can confirm that we will make 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.

It is not clear that the New Homes Bonus in its current form is focussed on incentivising homes where they are needed most. I am therefore 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 and which is aligned with other measures around planning performance.

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.

Independent Living Fund and Schools

Following the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015, the Government agreed to continue funding pre-existing ILF arrangements until the end of 2019-20, through the Former ILF Recipient Grant.

We can confirm that the Former ILF Recipient Grant will continue to be paid to local authorities in 2020-21. The total value of the grant in 2020-21 will be maintained at the 2019-20 value of £160.6 million, with the same approach to individual local authority allocations. Details will be published shortly.

We recognise that the settlement is just one source of funding that local authorities need to know about. Government has now also confirmed Dedicated Schools Grant allocations for 2020-21.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-12-20/HCWS2/

Conclusion

Local government have asked us for certainty and stability from the settlement for 2020-21. This provisional settlement delivers on this, building on Spending Round 2019 and our recent technical consultation. It provides certainty for 2020-21 for those planning vital front-line services and provides significant extra resources where they are needed most.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS17
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 December 2019
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local government update

Introduction

Today I have published the provisional local government finance settlement for 2020-21. The proposals set out in this consultation will give local authorities a 4.4% real-terms increase in their Core Spending Power, which will rise from £46.2 billion in 2019-20 to £49.1 billion in 2020-21. It is a strong and well-balanced package, that delivers significant extra resources to the priority areas of adult and children’s social care, while offering protection to other key service areas.

In October of this year we launched a technical consultation, within which we invited views on the proposed package for 2020-21. I would like to thank all colleagues in local government for their responses to the October consultation and thank them in advance for comments on this next consultation. I have now taken the responses to the technical consultation into account and, following this, I am now publishing our proposals for the provisional local government finance settlement for 2020-21: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/provisional-local-government-finance-settlement-england-2020-to-2021.

Extra social care resources

We recognise the importance of addressing the challenges in our social care system. This is why we want to build the same level of cross-party consensus on social care as we have with the NHS, to make far-reaching changes to the way these services are financed and delivered.

In the meantime, we will do all we can to support local authorities. The proposals I have published today 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 council tax adult social care 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 over £5.5 billion of dedicated funding across adult and children’s social care in 2020-21.

Core settlement resources

The provisional settlement also provides protection for vital services by increasing core settlement resources, which includes Revenue Support Grant and business rates baseline funding levels, in line with inflation, and by continuing other key grants from 2019-20.

Council tax

The proposed referendum principles strike a balance between giving local authorities the flexibility to address service pressures, without overburdening council tax payers with excessive increases. Local authorities will therefore 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. In addition, councils with adult social care responsibilities will be able to increase their council tax by a further 2%, on top of the core principle, to be spent exclusively on adult social care. If confirmed, this package will mean that the expected average council tax increase for 2020-21 will be the lowest since 2016-17.

New Homes Bonus

To reward local authorities for house building in their area, I can confirm that we will make 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.

It is not clear that the New Homes Bonus in its current form is focussed on incentivising homes where they are needed most. I am therefore 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 and which is aligned with other measures around planning performance.

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.

Independent Living Fund and Schools

Following the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015, the Government agreed to continue funding pre-existing ILF arrangements until the end of 2019-20, through the Former ILF Recipient Grant.

We can confirm that the Former ILF Recipient Grant will continue to be paid to local authorities in 2020-21. The total value of the grant in 2020-21 will be maintained at the 2019-20 value of £160.6 million, with the same approach to individual local authority allocations. Details will be published shortly.

We recognise that the settlement is just one source of funding that local authorities need to know about. Government has now also confirmed Dedicated Schools Grant allocations for 2020-21.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-12-20/HCWS2/

Conclusion

Local government have asked us for certainty and stability from the settlement for 2020-21. This provisional settlement delivers on this, building on Spending Round 2019 and our recent technical consultation. It provides certainty for 2020-21 for those planning vital front-line services and provides significant extra resources where they are needed most.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS9
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