Many of my constituents have contacted me about the Affordable Homes Bill. My colleague Andrew George MP has published an Affordable Homes Bill which intends to create new tools to improve the ability of local communities to meet their needs for affordable homes.
I am travelling down to Westminster to vote on it today and would to thank those constituents whose appointments were moved for their patience and understanding.
The evidence from the Department for Work and Pensions’ interim evaluation of the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy shows that it hasn’t been working in the way it was intended. Therefore the rules should be changed to permanently protect the most vulnerable and ensure that existing tenants aren’t penalised when they cannot move into smaller accommodation.
I don’t think it is fair for any existing tenant who is “under-occupying” to have their housing benefit cut unless they have been made at least one reasonable offer of alternative social rented accommodation with the correct number of bedrooms.
As a party, the Lib Dems have worked hard throughout this Parliament to make sure that the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy was done as fairly as possible. That’s why we introduced new regulations in March 2013 to give full protection to foster carers and families of members of the armed forces, as well as discretionary exemptions for children with disabilities.
I may not speak in the debate as it is important not to run out of time and there will undoubtedly be some MPs trying to 'talk the Bill out' but will be attending and listening with interest.