HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 cc146-7W
Ms Rosie Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will consult on his proposals to replace the housing fitness standard with the new rating system. [152676]

Mr. Raynsford

My Department has today published a consultation paper setting out a framework of legislation and guidance within which local authorities would use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) as the basis for action against unacceptable housing conditions.

We published a report on the development of the rating system in July. The system will bring a modern, risk-based approach to health and safety in the home and will underpin our commitment to improving the housing conditions of the most vulnerable people.

The HHSRS illustrates our recognition of the close relationship between housing and health. Considerable steps have already been taken to familiarise local authorities with the new system and we now want to hear their views, as well as those of landlords' and tenants' organisations, on the enforcement proposals. The system will also underpin our licensing scheme proposals for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Legislation to allow authorities to use the rating system as a basis for their enforcement decisions will be introduced as soon as the opportunity arises.

Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library of the House.