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Theresa May v Andrea Leadsom for next PM, and capacity of the home-building industry inquiry launched

Week in Westminster

Published: 8 July 2016 | Author: Tamsin Askew

Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom will battle it out to become the next leader of the Conservative Party after Michael Gove was eliminated from the contest.

After the second MPs ballot, the home secretary won the support of 199 MPs, energy minister Angela Leadsom came second with 84 votes, and Michael Gove, the justice secretary, was knocked out of the race after receiving 46 votes.

Conservative members will now decide the winning candidate, with the result due on 9 September.

The winner will become the UK's second female prime minister.

On Monday this week, CML director general Paul Smee gave evidence at an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the private rented sector.

The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the capacity of the house-building industry to meet demand for new homes.

On Tuesday this week, the Bank of England released its financial stability report, and described the current outlook as “challenging”. The Bank reduced capital buffers by £5.7 billion, effectively allowing retail banks to lend £150 billion more to households and businesses.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Greg Hands answered a written question on the housing market. Andrew Rosindell (Romford) asked what steps the chancellor has taken to ensure stability in the housing market and increase the confidence of property developers since the EU referendum of 23 June 2016.

Greg Hands answered that ministers have met with house builders and industry leaders since the referendum result to ensure stability. 

He added: "Action by the government over the last seven years has substantially strengthened the resilience of the financial system. Capital requirements for the largest banks are now ten times higher than before the crisis. Yesterday (5th July) the Chancellor announced that the Bank of England will use the new powers given to them by Government to help boost the lending capacity of the banks to our economy. UK’s main lenders have agreed to make this extra capital available to support lending to UK businesses and households in this challenging time. Government remains committed to boosting housing supply, including by delivering the most ambitious affordable house building programme since the 1970’s."

In the Welsh government on 5 July, Mark Drakeford, cabinet secretary for finance and local government, published a draft of the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Bill and Explanatory Memorandum. The bill will make provision for a tax on land transactions from 1 April 2018, replacing Stamp Duty Land Tax in Wales.

On Wednesday, the Local Government Associations (LGA) published new research that said four million working people will need access to some type of affordable housing even if the country achieves full employment by 2024. Widespread demand for affordable homes will be much higher should the country fail to train millions to take the higher skilled and higher paid jobs that are projected to be created by 2024, the analysis reveals.

The Department for Work and Pensions has published use of discretionary housing payments covering the financial year April 2015 – March 2016.

And new research by think tank Demos finds that British families are not prepared to weather financial shocks.