A round-up of parliamentary business during the week beginning 14 July:
This week David Cameron conducted the most wide-ranging reshuffle since taking office. In what the papers have described as the most symbolic move by the PM to convince the public that the face of his party has changed, Michael Gove was moved from education secretary to become government chief whip. He was replaced as education secretary by Nicky Morgan (formerly financial secretary), one of several women promoted in the reshuffle. Elizabeth Truss has replaced Owen Paterson as environment secretary.
Most notably for housing stakeholders, is Brandon Lewis’ promotion to minister of state for housing and planning. Kris Hopkins remains a DCLG junior minister now responsible for local government.
Within the Treasury David Gauke has been promoted to financial secretary responsible for EU issues, taxation, and personal saving and pension policy.
The Treasury committee took evidence from the Bank of England on its June financial stability report. Mark Carney was asked about the Bank’s decision to intervene in the mortgage market. He referred to the intervention as an insurance policy to guard against the possibility of a return of irresponsible lending. Mr Carney said there are a number of households where a higher loan-to-income mortgage may be appropriate (for example some first-time buyers), so the Bank did not want to stop this type of lending, but wanted to take early action to limit it to prevent a loosening of underwriting standards. He went on to say that the Bank was not currently considering any additional measures. A FPC member Martin Taylor highlighted his concern about the increase in mortgage terms to 30-35 years, saying that this makes forbearance more difficult. Deputy governor Andrew Bailey noted that this was an important point which the Bank was watching carefully. “If mortgages extend beyond the point at which people’s income falls off then we have a long term problem”, he said.
Following the government’s consultation on proposals to introduction a Land Registry delivery company, BIS released a statement this week confirming that they would not be changing the Land Registry model at this time. This announcement does not have any bearing on the measures in the Infrastructure Bill to enable the Registry to play a wider role in the property market and to take on responsibility for providing and single digital local land charge register.
The BBC has report that due to high demand the Scottish government’s help to buy scheme has run out of money for this financial year. More than 2,000 homes have been purchased through the scheme to date with an additional 2,000 likely to be completed by the end of the year. The Scottish government has confirmed that all applications that have so far been approved will proceed.
And the Welsh government has announced the final 10 bills of its legislative programme for the next Assembly year. These include a planning bill to reform and simplify the current system; a renting homes bill to provide a “fairer, simpler and more efficient legal foundation for the relationship between landlords and tenants”; and a tax collection and management bill, providing the Wales Bill (currently going through Westminister) is passed which will give the Welsh Assembly new powers in respect of taxation.
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