Lord Mawson: My Lords, I, too, welcome what I perceive the Government are attempting to achieve in this Bill. The creation of the Homes and Communities Agency could have enormous potential and be a key delivery partner in building successful communities. The aspiration behind this legislation is laudable and presents enormous possibilities for the investment that will follow, particularly in some of our poorest communities. But, as a practitioner who has spent the past quarter of a century attempting to improve housing conditions and to regenerate local communities in some of the most deprived housing estates in Britain with some success, I know that the devil is always in the practical details. For example, giving tenants a vote laid down in statute about transfer seems very reasonable. But when you have watched the political knockabout in one estate that I know well, which resulted in a nine-
I fear that this Bill does not learn from what is working well on the ground and build on it. It seems to fly in the face of the modern enterprise culture that this Government have done so much to encourage. I am confused by much in this Bill and I look for a more balanced approach. I welcome the aspirations, but I am concerned about the practical consequences on the ground. The housing association movement was begun by the social entrepreneurs of their day who used their independence from the state to pioneer new and innovative ways of creating social housing.
In a small and specialist housing association where I was secretary 30 years ago, we pioneered high-
This Bill takes this direction of travel to its next logical stage and, for me, it is a step too far—not that one is against some regulation. Some regulation has contributed to the success of housing associations. It is important in relation to the first-
In the USA, housing has often been the driver behind a great deal of social renewal and innovation. We have learnt from that approach in East London, and over the past nine years have successfully built with partners an award-