This week its all about the House of Lords...
Week in Westminster
Published: 30 October 2015 | Author: Michelle Vosper
During a week which saw peers voting to delay the chancellor’s measures to reform tax credits and sparking a “constitutional crisis”, it’s all about the House of Lords this week.
Members of the Lords agreed two draft regulations in respect of the implementation of the Flood Reinsurance scheme. The Flood Reinsurance (Scheme Funding and Administration) Regulations 2015 sets out the framework within which Flood Re will operate and how the levy will be calculated. The second, The Flood Reinsurance (Scheme and Scheme Administrator Designation) Regulations 2015 designate the scheme and administrator and enable the Flood Re scheme to begin operation. On the timing of the implementation of Flood Re, the minister said: “it will be a matter for Flood Re itself, once it is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, to determine when it will be in a position to offer cover, but the fund has assured ministers that April 2016 is a realistic date to become operational”.
Peers also agreed the Draft Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (No3) Order 2015. The statutory instrument will mean that from 31 March 2016 mortgages dating from before 31 October 2004, which are currently regulated as credit agreements, are regulated instead as mortgages. The change is as a result of the requirements of the EU mortgage credit directive.
Lord Kennedy of Southwark introduced a short debate on housing in London, asking the government what action they are taking to address the shortage of housing in the Capital.
The general principles of the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill, were debated during the bill’s second reading debate in the Lords. According to the minister introducing the debate, the bill will strengthen the governance and accountability of the Bank of England; updates requirements for Monetary Policy Committee meetings and publications; gives the National Audit Office the power to launch “value-for-money” studies across all parts of the Bank; and extending the principle of personal responsibility to all sectors of the financial services industry.
While Right to Buy for housing associations was the subject of a number of written questions posed by Baroness Bakewell and Lord Dear.
There is very little to report from the House of Commons this week. Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell asked questions about life after the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme. And in answer to a question on shared ownership from Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, the housing minister stated that the government is currently considering how shared ownership can be made more accessible to first-time buyers and increase its attractiveness to lenders and investors.
Finally, the subject of support for mortgage interest (SMI) was briefly touched upon during prime minister’s questions. Labour MP Ian Lucas asked why the government are limiting SMI for the redundant steel workers. He was referring to the changes being made under the Welfare Reform and Work Bill which will convert SMI into a loan. David Cameron’s reply simply referred to the fact that SMI had been a temporary measure on mortgage payments for five years.