A round-up of parliamentary business the week beginning 23 March:
The final day of this Parliament saw the approval of two key draft regulations, both of which have now been published in their final form.
- Bank of England Act 1998 (Macro-prudential Measures) Order 2015 prescribes macro-prudential measures in relation to the residential housing market and permits the Financial Policy Committee to make directions to the PRA or the FCA to address the risks posed by the residential housing lending market to the systemic stability of the financial system.
- Mortgage Credit Directive Order 2015 which implements the provisions of the EU Directive into the UK.
And following outstanding legislation received royal assent:
- Consumer Rights Act 2015
- Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015
- Deregulation Act 2015
Communities secretary Eric Pickles issued a written statement giving an update on the actions that his department has put in place since May 2010 on housing and planning.
During a debate on property taxes in London, CLG minister Kris Hopkins categorically confirmed the government’s opposition to a mansion tax or the introduction of a higher council tax band. Mr Hopkins said that a mansion tax “was not the answer, whatever the question”. And he argued that it would “be comlex to introduce, involve the re-evaluation of many homes and raise fairness issues about the ability of those liable to pay the tax.”
Speaking to the Commons Treasury committee about his Budget announcement, George Osborne confirmed that he is happy with the OBR’s analysis that Help to Buy ISA would tip the balance in favour of first-time buyers and away from buy-to-let purchasers.
A new report by the Treasury committee has described the Financial Conduct Authority as “dysfunctional”. The report, which concerned a “mishandled” press briefing by the organisation last year, suggests an independent inquiry by a senior City figure was needed on the regulator’s effectiveness and calls for a further inquiry by MPs in the new Parliament.
The Farnish review of the Money Advice Service was published on Friday 20 March along with the government’s response. The review proposes a new money advice service which focusses on the quality of relationships it has with all stakeholders. The review also focusses on co-ordination, avoiding duplication of services already provided by others, and a stark reduction in spending. The review also highlights a gap in the provision of financial information.
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