Today, I spoke in the Second Reading debate of new a Bill that seeks to improve the regulation of exempt accommodation. The Bill makes provision for local authorities to bring in a new licencing scheme which will mean providers will need a licence in order to operate exempt properties within the area. It also makes provision for a national expert advisory panel, made up of representatives from across the sector, which could look at how to implement a system of national regulation.
During the debate, I outlined my support for the bill but criticised the government for not acting faster, and pushed them on the significant amount of work still left to do, once the bill passes. I highlighted cases of abuse I have seen here in Ladywood and pressed the need for better data collection of housing benefit within the exempt accommodation sector, following emergence of ghost tenancies, whereby housing benefit payments continue to be made for tenants that have already vacated the property, or never even lived there in the first place. Overall, this Bill is a strong starting point, but it is high time for the Government to step up and take forward all the measures in the bill and swiftly publish the regulations for the licencing scheme as well as the minimum standards it has already committed to.
You can watch my speech in full here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/c87fe1b0-5dab-4329-b842-1fc0aa852246?in=10:33:19
For years, I’ve been working alongside Aston residents to demand a cleaner Birmingham. You’ve told me about ongoing issues regarding missed collections, dumped rubbish, and the general appearance of the streets. Every time, I’ve taken your concerns to the highest level of Birmingham City Council: fighting the corner of residents and calling for a better service. I’m pleased that thanks to that campaigning, on Monday 14th November there was an all-out Love Your Environment Day in Aston ward. It brought out flytipping crews, the street cleansing team, a crew to clear fridges, a graffiti removal team, the Mobile Household recycling centre on Holte Road, and additional council resources to give the area a proper clean-up. I hope residents will notice the difference and continue to do their bit to keep our area clean – disposing of waste in the correct way and not dumping household furniture or rubbish on the street. As always, please get in touch with my office if you need my help or support on local issues.
I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!