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Week in Westminster - 25 August 2017

Week in Westminster

Published: 25 August 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

In advance of Brexit negotiations taking place next week, the Government has published papers on its approach on a range of issues including data protection. The Department of Communities and Local Government announced an increase in their latest house building statistics. And the Labour Party revealed that a million households “face unaffordable mortgage costs” and reiterated their manifesto pledges for first-time buyers.

Meanwhile, the Treasury has announced that the deadline for submitting representations for the forthcoming Autumn Budget is 22 September.


Brexit

Over the last two weeks, the Government has published a number of position papers outlining the UK’s negotiating approach ahead of the third round of Brexit negotiations. The issues covered include:

Housing

According the Department for Communities and Local Government the number of housebuilding starts is its highest level since 2008. During the year to June 2017, 164,960 new homes were started to be built up 13% on the previous year, and have increased by more than three-quarters since the low of 2009. Housebuilding completions have rise by 11% compared to last year.

Launched in December 2015, the number of Help to Buy ISA accounts has reached the one million mark with first-time buyers having saved over £1.8 billion, according to HM Treasury. The Help to Buy ISA will be phased out and replaced by the Lifetime ISA (introduced in April 2017). First-time buyers will be able to open a Help to Buy ISA until 30 November 2019, and existing accounts will be closed to new contributions from end November 2029.

The Labour Party reiterated its manifesto pledges to introduce a New Deal for first-time buyers including “first dibs” on new homes built in their local area, and to provide 100,000 new FirstBuy homes priced at a level linked to local average incomes. This comes as the Party revealed new analysis, drawn from the English Housing Survey, that almost one million households in England are paying more than a third of their incomes in mortgage costs. 

There has been a 30% increase in second home ownership, according to new analysis published by the Resolution Foundation. The research found that the number of people who own multiple properties has risen from 1.6 million to 5.2 million between 2000-02 and 2012-14.