§ Mr. Clappison
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what conclusions he has reached as a result of the consultation carried out by his Department on recent rent increases for regulated tenancies.
§ Sir George Young
I have considered carefully the representations from both landlords and tenants on this issue. Although generally no new regulated tenancies have been created since 15 January 1989, the Government gave an assurance at the time of the passing of the Housing Act 1988 that existing regulated tenants would not be subject to the new regime which that Act brought in. Registered rents for regulated tenancies have risen substantially in certain areas since 1989, but still remain well below market rents.
Having carefully considered the representations received as a result of the recent consultation, I am not convinced that the public interest would be best served by altering the legislative balance which currently exists. To provide further legislative controls over rents would hinder efforts to promote the revival of the private rented sector. Housing benefit is available to meet the cost of reasonable increases in regulated rents for those on low incomes. Our objective in all sectors is to move towards personal subsidies rather than subsidies to bricks and mortar. Accordingly, the Government have no plans for further legislation on this sector.
I am concerned, however, that there should be general consistency of approach through the country. I have no powers to issue guidance to either rent officers or rent assessment committees, but I plan to encourage greater exchange of information and views between them to encourage consistency.