I beg to differ, given the quantity of casework with which I deal involving increasingly younger groups of people who have to search for help from the citizens advice bureau and various Christian organisations -I met representatives of one in Cheddar, in my constituency, on Saturday-because of disproportionate amounts of debt that originated from gambling.
On a pier, for example, there is often a discrete area where people might expect to see such activity taking place. I assume that piers will not fall within the general conditions relating to high streets and town centres to which
I clearly have no connection with Haringey. My constituency is in rural Somerset and has coastal towns at Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea. Burnham-on-Sea, in common with probably most town centres and high streets, suffers from a proliferation of betting shops. On the coast, there are also a number of gaming machine shops specifically dedicated to that kind of activity. Surely there must be a way-either in the localism Bill or perhaps by local authorities arriving at a definition of what they want-of allowing local authorities to insist that these kinds of shops are situated at first-floor level or above. That would get rid of the problem of people, especially young people, passing along a high street and seeing the enormous shop fronts which the hon. Gentleman has complained about. If we put those businesses on the first or second floor or above, they would need to find ways for people to access them under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, but we would be left with only a shop doorway-
Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
From my experience of working with adults with learning disabilities, I know that it quite common to encounter people who can read, but do not always have the right level of comprehension. I note that the White Paper refers to a reading check at the age of six. I would like to know a little more about that and to be assured that this means a test of comprehension as well as a reading test.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance she has issued to Ofgem on its duty to have regard to the purposes of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
I shall raise three quick structural points, which I hope the Minister will consider in his response and in his proposals going forward.
I come from rural Somerset, where house prices are high. There has been a great rise in house prices over the past 10 years, but people still have low incomes. The average income is £18,500 and many of the workers are part-time workers, with many jobs which they tack together, and seasonal workers.
I have three questions. First, once the existing housing is rented out, will the Government give housing associations the flexibility to build brand-new homes and let them out at the traditional social rents, or will all the new homes have to be charged at 80% of the market rent, which is high? The problem for tenants in my constituency is that they have very little capacity to save money towards their own housing, as such a large proportion of their income goes on housing costs.
The next two points are similar to those raised by the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Glenda Jackson). Can the Minister clarify the situation for tenants who have mental health issues? There are two gentlemen in my constituency who use private rented accommodation. Because of their age-they are in their early 30s-they may be asked to move into shared accommodation. Will they be able to access that discretionary housing allowance? Those payments would ensure that they were able to remain in their existing housing, rather than having to move out for a year, two years or three years and into shared accommodation, such as a flat. I want to ensure that they are protected in some way against the disruption of a move, particularly when that might be extremely detrimental to their mental health.
My third point is about the alarming and increasing practice in one district council area of my constituency, where homes that have a dining room are classified as having an extra bedroom. Therefore, a three-bedroom house with a dining room becomes a four-bedroom house, a four-bedroom house becomes a five, a five-bedroom becomes a six, and so on. As a result, families, who are the only ones able to obtain such housing, end up with no living space. People normally retreat to their bedroom if that is the only space that they have in the house, but such a loss of family space is extremely detrimental. That of course has a subsequent impact on the private rented market, because the example that the local authority sets becomes custom and practice throughout the housing sector in my area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has issued guidance to Ofgem on its duty to have regard to the purposes of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to enter into contractual arrangements for long-lead items on the Future Submarine Programme; what estimate he has made of the total cost of such items; what assessment he has made of the capability of such arrangements with arrangements for review by Parliament of all options of Main Gate, including cancellation; and what consideration he has given to ensuring that cancellation fees for long-lead item contracts do not restrict the consideration of alternatives.