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Empty Homes

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
(Mr. Tony McNulty)

I have today published for consultation proposals that, if enacted, would allow local authorities, in defined circumstances, to take temporary management control of some private sector empty homes.The consultation paper "Empty Homes: temporary management, lasting solutions" follows on from the announcement in the Sustainable Communities Plan published earlier this year and builds on a recommendation of the Transport, Local Government and Regions Select Committee in a report published last year.We believe that it is vital to tackle the pernicious effects of empty homes. They blight our communities, are a magnet for vandals and criminals and tie up the resources of local authorities and the emergency services. Bringing empty homes back into use reduces the need to develop land for new homes on urban fringes and in the countryside.The objective of our proposals is to provide an effective back-up to voluntary leasing schemes that does not unduly penalise owners. The principle would not be to deprive owners of their property, but to allow local authorities to control their use on a temporary basis in order get homes re-occupied.Copies of the consultation paper are available in the Libraries of both Houses.