Don Foster MP

Don Foster MP - 50/267 - Bath's #1 Supporter

New Homes Bonus is getting Bath building again

December 6, 2023 by admin in Don in Bath, News

Councils across England received a cash boost as Liberal Democrat Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell, announced funding each authority would receive from the New Homes Bonus.

The money means councils are rewarded for building new homes and bringing empty homes back into use. In Bath and North East Somerset the Government has given over£1.2 million (£1,218,187) delivering 444 new homes and bringing 53 empty homes back in to use.

Commenting, Don Foster MP said:

“After 13 years of Labour’s failure, the Liberal Democrats are determined to get Britain building again. The New Homes Bonus is doing exactly that.

“We’re beginning to see more new homes being built in Bath and empty homes being brought back in to use. We must now build on this to ensure that more affordable homes are built in the city for those that desperately need them”

“This is something the Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for and we are now delivering in Government.”

Cllr Tim Ball, B&NES Cabinet Member for Homes & Planning welcomed the boost:

“I am very pleased that the Government has allocated this funding for Bath and North East Somerset. This is excellent news for our local area”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:

“These are very pleasing figures, showing that the New Homes Bonus is acting as a spur to get councils building new homes and bringing more empty homes back into use.

“It’s a win-win situation for local communities - £430m of extra funding for frontline services and 159,000 extra homes for local people.

“Labour’s top-down approach to building homes just didn’t work. It was unrealistic and ineffective, and didn’t take into account local needs or wishes.

“Instead the New Homes Bonus is introducing a culture change - making it easier to persuade local people to go for development, and rewarding communities that go for growth.”

New planning policy approach to student housing a boost for Bath - Foster

December 5, 2023 by admin in Don in Bath, News

Don Foster MP, has welcomed the Government move that allows Council’s to include purpose built student flats in Core Strategy Housing Target figures. Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, today made the announcement in Department for Communities and Local Government Questions. Commenting, Don made the following statement :

I have for a long time been raising the issue of why purpose built student accommodation does not count towards Housing targets. The previous government always referred to Planning Policy Statement 3 which ruled them out.

Given the proposed changes by the Coalition Government to planning policy and the new approach to planning for housing numbers, I have again been pursuing the issue.

At lunchtime I had a meeting with Grant Shapps MP (Housing Minister) about student housing and housing targets to discuss the issue and then in Department for Communities and Local Government Questions I asked the Minister the following question:

“Modern, purpose built, university student accommodation resembles blocks of flats.

They reduce the need for family homes to be converted to HMOs and can lead to some HMOs being returned to family homes.

So, in future, will councils be allowed to count such flats towards the delivery of their Core Strategy Housing targets?”

I received the following extremely welcome reply;

“My Rt.Hon. Friend raises an important question. It was the case in the past that housing built for students was not included in the old fashioned targets …..But I am pleased to let him know under our new system the answer is yes, they are included. And what’s more, they will attract the new Homes Bonus as well.”

Given the large student population of Bath, this is excellent news for the city which has for far too long been penalised by this planning anomaly.

Foster delighted as fight to keep mobility component of DLA is won

December 2, 2023 by admin in Don in Bath, Don in Parliament, News

Don Foster MP has welcomed the Government’s decision to keep the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those in care homes. Working closely with Bath MENCAP and local residents affected by proposals to remove the benefit, Don has fought to ensure the payment would not be scrapped. Don was the first MP to raise the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions in January 2011 and has had a series of further meetings with Ministers on the issue.

Earlier this month, Don backed Lord Low’s independent review that stated DLA mobility is essential to meeting the personal mobility needs of care home residents. The report stated that the mobility component provided disabled people with choice and control over how their mobility needs are met. It highlighted that there is no overlap between the support provided by DLA mobility and that offered by local authorities. Don Foster has long argued that this provided evidence for keeping the mobility component of the DLA for those in residential care homes.

Commenting, Don Foster, MP for Bath said:

“I am delighted that the Government has agreed not to cut the mobility component of the DLA for those in care homes. Ending payment of the mobility component to people living in residential care would deny people control over their own lives and undermine the Government’s own commitment to greater personalisation in the support provided to disabled people”

Cllr Simon Allen, B&NES Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing added:

“This decision brings to an end the fears and concerns many residents of Bath & North East Somerset had about their future mobility needs. This decision promotes independence , the continued personalisation of services and is clearly the right thing.”

Commenting further, David Congdon, Head of Campaigns and Policy at Mencap said:

“This is a vital benefit which will enable recipients to get out into their local community and visit friends and family. This is a great example of the Government listening to and working with disabled people and their organisations. We look forward to continuing this positive engagement in relation to wider reforms to the benefits system.”