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CLG committee starts inquiry into right to buy extension

Week in Westminster

Published: 23 October 2015 | Author: Michelle Vosper

After the government’s announcement last week that it had struck a deal with the National Housing Federation (NHF) to offer right to buy for housing association tenants on a “voluntary” basis, this week saw the start of the CLG committee inquiry into the subject.

Along with the NHF and the Tenant Participation Advisory Service, we gave oral evidence to the CLG committee. Unsurprisingly the session was dominated by questions directed to the NHF on the nature and extent of the voluntary arrangement with the government. However, the committee was also interested lenders attitude to lending on right to buy properties, our views on continuing to provide funding to the housing association sector, and the advice process for potential borrowers.  We also touched on the development of the shared ownership model.

Meanwhile, the Treasury committee held two sessions this week on its inquiry into the Bank of England Bill. The Bill aims to amend the governance and accountability arrangements of the Bank. The first session was with Bank governor and deputy governor which focused on the role and scope of the Prudential Regulation Authority, and also touched upon the question of bank ring fencing and the potential impact of the leverage ratio. The committee’s second session was with the chancellor during which Mr Osborne highlighted the forthcoming consultation on providing the Financial Policy Committee with powers of direction over the buy-to-let market (similar to those for the residential market), as requested by the Bank.

The Treasury committee also held one of its regular sessions with the chairman and acting chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority. This is the first such session since Martin Wheatley stepped down from his post.

In answer to questions from shadow work and pensions secretary MP Owen Smith, DWP minister Justin Tomlinson confirmed that all support for mortgage interest claimants will continue to receive the same level of support as now towards their mortgage interest when it becomes a loan. And all claimants will receive impartial advice on taking out a loan.

Between 1 July and 30 September 2015, 370 property purchases were completed using a Welsh government’s shared equity loan. This brings the total number of purchases under Help to Buy Wales since its introduction on 2 January 2014 to 2,235.

Labour MP and prospective London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan published his manifesto for London for consultation. His plans in respect of housing in the Capital include:

  • establishing a team dedicated to fast tracking the building of affordable homes for rent and buy;
  • establishing an affordability test to deliver 50% affordable housing in new developments;
  • creating a London living rent, a new form of tenure for those on average incomes who cannot afford to buy and would otherwise have to rent privately;
  • establishing a London-wide not-for-profit letting agency to promote longer term stable tenancies for the private rented sector;
  • making the case for greater financial devolution to the Mayor and use these powers to increase investment in new affordable housing;
  • and making sure Londoners are first in the queue for new homes.