A round-up of parliamentary business the week beginning 23 February:
How is the Green Party going to fund its proposals to build 500,000 social homes by 2020? That was (one of) the question that caused a stir this week as a result of an extremely awkward LBC interview with party’s leader Natalie Bennett. The party’s policy briefing puts a little more flesh on the bones. In addition to the extra social homes, the party also proposes to:
- diversify the building industry;
- reform property and land taxes to curb speculation and excessive demand;
- bring more empty homes back into use and convert empty municipal buildings where appropriate;
- provide tenants with greater security of tenure and stabilise rent controls;
- insist landlords improve energy efficiency of the homes; and
- begin to rebalance the economic prosperity in the UK to reduce demand in London and the south east.
The DCLG is consulting on proposals aimed at speeding up the planning system including setting time limits for section 106 negotiations. The consultation will run until 19 March 12015.
The DCLG has also published a range of data this week:
- The English housing survey 2013/14 headline report showing 63% of households were owner-occupied - 33% owned outright and 31% owned with a mortgage.
- Household projection figures for England which projected the number of households to increase from 22.3 million in 2012 to 27.million in 2037.
- Right-to-buy sales statistics for the fourth quarter of 2014 showing a 15% increase year-on-year.
Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty announced an intention to extend the Help to Buy (Wales) equity loan scheme beyond its current end date of 31 March 2016. This announcement has been expected for some time. Welsh government will be in a position to develop more detail around the practicalities of how they might want their extended scheme to operate once the Welsh budget for 2016-17 and later years has been set, following the next UK government spending review.
The latest issue of our parliamentary newsletter, Housing Finance at a Glance, was distributed this week and focusses on our manifesto for the election, recent mortgage market activity, the starter homes initiative, and the implementation of the mortgage credit directive.
For information on our public affairs work, contact Michelle Vosper.