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Government offers concessions on Starter Homes discount

Week in Westminster

Published: 6 May 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The Housing and Planning Bill began parliamentary ‘ping pong’ this week as the Commons and the Lords attempt to come to an agreement on the final text.

 All 13 amendments forced through on a vote in the Lords were blocked by the Conservative MPs. The Lords amendment, introducing a 20 year period within which the 20% discount on Starter Homes must be repaid if the property is sold, was substituted by the government with amendments which provide a power to implement a tapered approach to resale via regulations later on following the outcome of its consultation.

This approach was accepted by the Lords. However, peers did not accept the government’s attempt to reinstate the nationally set Starter Homes requirement on housing sites, and voted through another amendment to allow local authorities, if they can demonstrate a need, to meet all or part of the requirement through the delivery of alternative forms of affordable home ownership.  

The Bill returns to the Commons for further consideration on Monday 9th.

The Bank of England and Financial Services Bill was given royal assent. The new Act strengthens the governance and accountability of the Bank, and is the last major milestone in the government’s programme of financial services reform.

Conservative MP Maria Caulfield introduced a debate on the “emerging scandal” of letting agent fees and deposits. She called on government to cap letting agent fees; set standards for what can and cannot be charged for; end the practice of charging for tenancy renewal or greater protection for tenants on short-term lets; tougher penalties for letting agents which don’t display their fees; and promote this issue so that tenants are aware there is a difference between the fees that are charged.

The SNP have won a third victory in the Scottish Parliament elections, but do not have enough seats to form a majority government. SNP have 63 seats, the Conservatives have 31 - ahead of Labour’s 24 seats.

Labour is the largest party in Wales. The Welsh Assembly elections resulted in Labour winning 29 seats (3 short of a majority), Plaid Cymru have 12 seats and the Conservatives 11. UKIP won its first seats (7) in the Assembly.  

Labour's Sadiq Khan is ahead on first preference votes in London mayoral election. Full results expected later.

And the Northern Ireland Assembly election count starts this afternoon.