Bill committee calls for views of Lifetime ISA proposals
Week in Westminster
Published: 21 October 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper
The Treasury has published its consultation response and impact assessment in respect of The Savings (Government Contributions) Bill. The Bill will introduce the Lifetime ISA for those aged 18 to 40. Lifetime ISA account holders will receive a 25% government bonus on their savings (up to £4,000 each year) and can access their funds to buy their first home, at age 60 or if terminally ill. The Bill passed its second reading debate this week, and will now be considered by a public bill committee. The committee has called for written evidence on the measures contained in the Bill as soon as possible. Committee stage is expected to be completed by 1 November 2016.
Government decides not to create plan for second annuities market
The government has decided not to take forward plans to create a market for secondary annuities. In April 2015 George Osborne scrapped the obligation on savers to buy an annuity at the point of retirement. He then announced his intention to go further by removing the tax restrictions that deter people who already have annuities from swapping their annuity income for a cash lump sum. The government’s press release cites that creating the conditions to allow a competitive market to emerge can not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections and have therefore scrapped these proposals.
Shared homes: improving conditions
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell announced proposals to improve conditions for those living in shared homes, including minimum room sizes and mandatory licensing rules for homes with 5 or more people from 2 or more households, and to flats above and below shops and other business premises.
Impact of deregulation on residential short-term lets
Following on from this announcement, Baroness Gardner of Parkes raised an oral question in the Lords on the subject of deregulation and its impact on short-term letting of residential properties, and in particular Airbnb lettings in London. DCLG minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded by saying that English property owners are free to sublet their homes where their tenancy contract or mortgage allows. In addition, a property let for more than 90 consecutive days in London would be in breach of planning law which local authorities are responsible to enforce.
In 2015-16 there were 21,992 sales of social housing properties - 12,557 by local authorities and 9,435 by private registered providers (housing associations) – representing around 0.5% of the total stock of 4 million social houses, according to the latest DCLG statistics.
Select commitee hearings
Labour MP Hilary Benn has been elected chair of the new Exiting the European Union select committee. Follow his election Mr Benn said, “It is not going to be sufficient for [ministers] to keep saying they are not giving a running commentary. There is no more important challenge facing the country and parliament than making the best of the decision that the British people have made”.
A number of select committee hearings took place this week which may be of interest. The chancellor appeared before the Treasury committee on his priorities. Not surprisingly questions on Bexit dominated the session. The CLG committee heard from the building industry in respect of their inquiry into the capacity within the industry to meet the government home building targets. And The Lords financial exclusion committee to oral evidence from StepChange and the Money Advice Service on consumer financial guidance, welfare advice, and government policy including the Help to Save scheme.
£1.3 billion has been allocated within the Welsh government’s draft budget for the next five years to support housing. Also this week the Welsh government confirmed that a higher rate of stamp duty for additional residential properties will continue to be levied in Wales when the tax is replaced by its Land Transaction Tax.