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Volume 534: debated on Monday 31 October 2011

The private rented sector has already responded flexibly to housing need over the past few years. By 2010 it had expanded to house some 3.4 million households in England, an increase of 1 million since 2005.

I am grateful to the Minister for his response and apologise for any delay, which was caused by my train. In view of his response, what assessment and modelling has his Department undertaken on the impact of the change to the thirtieth percentile for housing allowance and the extension of the single-room rent to those under 35 years of age? Many private landlords are extremely concerned about the impact on their viability.

I thank my hon. Friend and am grateful that his train got him here on time. The Department for Work and Pensions has published a full assessment of the number of residents projected to be affected by the changes that have been brought forward and has presented to the House the facts of the situation.

If we accept that, as the Minister suggests, we will be more dependent on the private rented sector, what action will he take to deal with the very high rents and very low standards in much of the sector?

The hon. Gentleman might be interested to know that satisfaction surveys have shown that 70% of tenants in the private rented sector say that they are fairly satisfied or very satisfied, which contrasts with 69%—slightly lower—in the social rented sector, so we need to be careful not to jump to conclusions about that. It is of course important that accommodation is of a high standard, which is why many local authorities have developed accreditation schemes, and in some cases licensing schemes, to deal with the problem.