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7-day switching, Labour's economic strategy, and a new financial exclusion committee

Week in Westminster

Published: 27 May 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) issued a call for evidence on the feasibility of introducing a 7-day timescale for switching services across a range of sector, including financial services and potentially mortgages. BIS acknowledges that there are some major differences in the mortgage market compared with other markets. Our reaction highlights some of these differences.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell set out his economics strategy. In speech to Labour’s New Economy conference, Mr McDonnell said that he will be convening a ‘mayors economic forum’ to bring together local decision makers to participate in the development of economic policy making - one of the forum’s first agenda items will be solving the housing crisis. Labour’s housing plans highlighted in the speech include:

  • Building 100,000 new council houses a year funded from the savings in the housing benefit bill
  • Reversing short-term cuts in housing investment made by government
  • Considering how to reverse fall in home ownership
  • Expanding local authority mortgage lending to help those on ordinary incomes
  • Giving local authority powers to impose rent regulations

SNP MP John Nicolson won the top spot in the private members’ bill ballot for the 2016/17 parliamentary session. The 20 successful MPs are given priority in presenting a bill of their choice and putting is down for second reading on one of the Friday’s allocated for private members’ bills. The ballot bills will have their first reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 29 June.

The House of Lords appointed four new ad hoc committees this week, all of which will exist just for the 2016–17 session. One of these committees will investigate financial exclusion and access to mainstream financial services and report later in this parliamentary session. The financial exclusion committee will be chaired by Baroness Tyler of Enfield

The Northern Ireland Executive has now completed its appointments. Arlene Foster (DUP) and Martin McGuiness (Sinn Fein) remain as first and deputy first ministers respectively. Simon Hamilton MLA (DUP) is minister for the economy, and Paul Givan MLA (DUP) is minister for communities. The UUP and SDLP have opted to enter opposition.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed his appointment of James Murray as his deputy mayor for housing. Mr Murray was the lead councillor for housing and development at Islington Council.

And finally we have distributed introductory briefings to the newly elected members of the London Assembly, Scottish Parliament, and Welsh Assembly. A similar briefing will be distributed to newly elected members of the Northern Ireland Assembly shortly.