Guardianship bill gets royal assent ahead of dissolution of Parliament
Week in Westminster
Published: 28 April 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper
We are delighted that the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill received royal assent this week. The new Act, introduced by Keven Hollinrake MP, will create a new form of legal guardianship so the financial affairs of people who go missing can be administered in their best interests.
The other bills of that have made it onto the statute book during the ‘wash up’ period before Parliament dissolves for the General Election include: Finance Act 2017, Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 and Criminal Finance Act 2017
'Housing: state of the nation' inquiry
The Commons Public Accounts committee published its report following its short ‘Housing: state of the nation’ inquiry. “Despite acknowledging that the housing market in England is ‘broken’, it remains dependent on the existing market, which is dominated by a handful of private developers, to realise its ambition”, according to the report. It goes on to say that the DCLG’s “lack of ambition on such a fundamental issue is matched by a lack of information, in particular on the impacts and value for money of the roughly £21 billion the government spends each year on housing benefit”.
The Communities and Local Government committee’s report on capacity in the home building industry will be published tomorrow (Saturday 29 April).
General Election party manifestos
Party manifestos for the General Election are not expected until after the local elections have taken place on 4 May. However this week in an interview with HuffPost, shadow housing minister John Healey has said that Labour would set up a new dedicated Housing Department to tackle the ‘housing crisis’ –
“We recognise the extent of the crisis and the nature of the crisis…From day one [Jeremy Corbyn] asked me not just to be the Shadow Housing Minister but to be the Shadow Housing Secretary, a signal and a commitment that Labour in Government would create a Housing Department to deal with the extent of the crisis we face, capable of making sure that the rest of Whitehall, where needed, does what is required to support a big push, not just to improve the level of new house building, [but] the range of new houses and the standards and across the piece the experience of what it’s like trying to get somewhere affordable to rent or buy these days.”
Increasing housing supply
Meanwhile, the housing minister Gavin Barwell has been reiterating the government’s plans to increase housing supply. Speaking on the Today programme this morning, Mr Barwell said he wanted to see more land released for housing building, the planning process speed up and the housing market diversified away from a reliance on a few large builders. He also said the government wanted to give councils more powers to build homes and were pursuing joint investments with small local builders.
State opening of Parliament
Parliament has now prorogued in advance of it dissolution on 3 May. No 10 has confirmed that the State opening of Parliament and the Queen’s speech will take place on Monday 19 June following the formation of the new government. In advance of this, MPs and peers will reconvene from Tuesday 13 June when they will formally be sworn in.
We distributed our parliamentary newsletter, Housing Finance at a Glance, this week. In light of the forthcoming General Election this issue gives a brief summary of our manifesto, A housing market to be proud of, which was originally published for the 2015 General Election, much of which is still relevant.