§ Mr. Oaten
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what is his planned timetable for the regulations which will extend Part M of the building regulations to new dwellings; 
(2) when his Department will announce the transitional provisions to cover the period before and following the extension of Part M of the building regulations to new dwellings. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
[holding answer 22 October 1998]: I have today laid before Parliament—and published— Amendment Regulations that will extend Part M of the Building Regulations, covering access and facilities for disabled people, to include new dwellings. These regulations include transitional provisions. The effect of the regulations is that, from 25 October 1999, new homes will have to be built with features that make them better suited to the needs of disabled people. People will be able to invite disabled people to visit them in their own homes; and home owners will be able to remain in their own homes longer as they become less mobile as they get older.
The benefits of these changes will be very considerable—potentially more than 10 million people will benefit. In particular there will be direct benefits of increased convenience, accessibility and sociability for disabled people. The measures will also help significantly those people who are temporarily disabled through accident or injury and those with young children in prams and pushchairs.
The extension of Part M complements this Government's commitment to implement the remaining duties of Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Part III will improve disabled people's access to goods and services and Part M will ensure better access to new dwellings. It is better and more cost effective for new homes to be designed and built with proper 12W facilities—as already happens with new public and commercial buildings—than to rely on later piecemeal adjustments.