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Volume 744: debated on Monday 22 January 2024

Right now, the Government are taking action with the progression of the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill through this place, which delivers on the Government’s manifesto commitments on leasehold reform.

Leaseholders in Leazes Park in Newcastle are having their lives ruined because their supposedly charitable freeholder, the St Mary Magdalene and Holy Jesus Trust, refuses to allow them to extend or buy their leaseholds. Across the constituency, in a cost of living crisis, my constituents face exorbitant management fees, high costs for fire safety and ever-increasing ground rents. Can the Minister tell my constituents why, when the Labour party is committed to comprehensive and fundamental reform of the leasehold system as set out by the Law Commission, he has brought forward a leasehold reform Bill that does not actually reform their leaseholds?

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, which is going through Parliament at the moment—going through in a very constructive way so far, with contributions from Members of all parties, presumably because they recognise the value of the clauses it contains—will make substantive changes for those who have leaseholds at the current time. We look forward to its continued progress through the House.

There will be agreement on both sides of the House that reform is needed. For my part, I welcome the introduction of the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill to get people on to modern leasehold and commonhold, and through the Minister, I invite those who are suffering—the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) explained that her constituents are suffering—to put their points through MPs to the Department, so that when amendments to the Bill are tabled, as many as possible can be discussed and accepted.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. As I and the Secretary of State have said, we are keen to improve the Bill where we can, but it is a substantial Bill that will make substantial changes for people who have needed reform of leasehold for a long time.