HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 cc91-2

Lords amendment: No. 175, in page 90, leave out line 24 and insert—

("( ) When a local housing authority put a person on their housing register (on his application or otherwise), they shall notify him that they have done so.")

Mr. Curry

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Madam Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 177, 178 and 217 to 222.

Mr. Curry

These amendments are more substantial, but I think that the House will wish to agree with them. They show my willingness to reflect on points raised in Committee. Having done so, I decided that some of the arguments were substantial and I therefore invited the other place to agree the amendments. I now invite this House to do the same.

Amendments Nos. 217 to 222 extend the right of internal review to allocations. We are ensuring that there is an effective review procedure.

Amendments Nos. 220 to 222 allow an appeal on homelessness decisions, on a point of law, to the county court following an internal review. In Committee, I was pressed to do this, and I reflected on it. A review should be rapid, effective and fair. I concluded that some ultimate recourse to the county court was sensible for people who felt that the law had not been followed accurately. There are 21 days in which to do that, which I understand is the normal period for the county court.

Mr. Raynsford

As the Minister said, the amendments are an improvement on the original provisions of the Bill and we welcome them. If people are refused access to a local authority housing register, that may have a serious impact on their prospects of securing good-quality accommodation, and they must have an opportunity to challenge a decision to deny them access to the register if they believe that the decision has been taken wrongly or on the basis of incorrect information. An opportunity to appeal, both internally and externally, is proper and correct. We pressed for this right and we are pleased that the Government have agreed that it should be incorporated in the Bill. We warmly welcome the amendments.

Mrs. Maddock

I also warmly welcome the amendments. I have only one comment: we had a discussion at the beginning of today's debate about how thick the amendments are—this measure could have been dealt with a long time ago.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 176 to 180 agreed to.

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