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PM launches 'plan for Britain' and rejects calls for second Scottish referendum

Week in Westminster

Published: 17 March 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The Brexit Bill has received royal assent giving the prime minister the power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty at the end of March. In a speech at the Conservatives’ spring conference today [17March], Theresa May launched a ‘Plan for Britain’. Mrs May used her speech to reaffirm her domestic political priorities and reiterate the government’s Brexit negotiating objectives.

Meanwhile, Mrs May has rejected calls from Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon for a second referendum on Scottish independence in 2018/19. Writing for the Times, the prime minister says there will be no new independence vote for Scotland before Brexit. She goes on to say that to hold a second referendum over the next two years is “not something to which any responsible UK government could reasonably agree”.

In answer to a question from Labour MP Julie Elliott, the housing minister confirmed the range of measures in the housing white paper on which the government will be consulting. These include:

  • Planning measures to support an increase in Build to Rent schemes
  • The definition of affordable housing for planning purposes and amendments to the Starter Homes policy
  • Banning lettings agents fees to tenants ahead of legislation
  • Measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold
  • A green paper on implementing the new funding model for supported housing and the approach to short term accommodation

The Commons approved the draft Individual Savings Account (Amendment No 2) Regulations 2017. The regulations amend the existing ISA regulation to take the lifetime ISA into account and allow it to be introduced on 6 April.

Other statutory instruments laid this week which may potentially be of interest include:

The Scottish government announced that the budget to increase the supply of affordable homes in Scotland has been increased by £18 million compared to last year. A total budget of £590 million will be made available in 2017/18 and includes £422 million in grant subsidy divided between Scotland’s 32 local councils.

And the Welsh government introduced legislation to abolish the Right to Buy scheme in Wales. The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill will provide for the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire for tenants and local authorities and registered social landlords to be abolished after a period of at least one year following royal assent. The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is calling for written evidence to assist in its consideration of the Bill by 28 April 2017.