Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill: Coalition update
Last night the government defeated Lord Nigel Crisp’s revised amendment to place a duty on the Secretary of State to promote Healthy Homes. This is despite an overwhelming body of evidence that has shown the current policy is not delivering the decent and well-planned homes this country so urgently needs. The measure was widely acknowledged as the first step towards creating a comprehensive framework for housing quality, to better support people’s health and well-being, and deliver real cost savings to the NHS.
Government spokesperson, Earl Howe indicated that whilst the government agreed that ‘the quality of our homes is very important, but we do not agree that further legislation is needed to achieve this’. However, as Lord Crisp indicated, many policies are not mandatory and none ensure that health and well-being are central aims for creating homes and neighbourhoods:
My point is simply that this is nowhere in planning, and the idea that the built environment should not in some way promote health, safety and well-being seems extraordinary. It is equally extraordinary that in this entire levelling-up Bill there is no reference to the climate crisis, as we have just heard, or indeed to the public health crisis … This is an attempt to put health and well-being at the centre of planning.”Lord Nigel Crisp
Conservative peer, Lord Young of Cookham, repeated earlier statements about the value of creating a statutory duty on the Secretary of State, noting ‘the amendment seeks to bring it all together under a comprehensive framework to promote healthy homes’. Baroness Hayman of Ullock indicated Labour peers’ endorsement of the amendment: ‘we also believe that health needs to be at the centre of planning when making decisions about housing. If the noble Lord wishes to press this to a vote, he will have our full support.’
Lord Crisp highlighted the considerable support the campaign has received from across developers, house builders, insurers, local government, planners, and charities. Supporters recognise that failure to deliver decent healthy homes for all is a false economy, that will only harm both people and the planet.
In the end, it was a very closely fought battle with just one vote in it – 186 votes to 185!
The TCPA is committed to fighting on. We invite all those organisations who are committed to ensuring healthy homes and neighbourhoods to continue working with us on this vital agenda.
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