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Week in Westminster - 28 July 2017

Week in Westminster

Published: 28 July 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The first week of the ‘summer season’ saw the publication of a consultation on leasehold reform, following the Government’s commitment to investigate leasehold issues in its Housing White Paper. The Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee launched an inquiry on the future of financial regulation, and the Chancellor has reportedly called for an interim “off the shelf” transition deal for Brexit. Information on this and more below…

Housing

The Department for Communities and Local Government published proposals to tackle unfair leasehold practices. This is an eight-week consultation ending on 19 September 2017. Measures include:

  • Banning new build houses being sold as leasehold (except in exceptional circumstances).
  • Setting ground rents to zero levels.
  • Changing the rules on Help to Buy equity loans so the scheme can only be used to support new build houses on acceptable terms.
  • Closing legal loopholes to protect consumers (for example, leaving some leaseholders vulnerable to possession orders).

Brexit

The Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into the future of financial regulation and supervision following Brexit in order to ensure financial stability and maintain equivalence and maintain market access. Written evidence has been requested by 29 September.

The Financial Times reports that Chancellor Philip Hammond has called for an “off the shelf” transition deal with the EU to maintain current trading relations for at least two years after Brexit. The Chancellor is reportedly sceptical about the idea of forging a new legal agreement, and  foresees a further implementation phase to follow the initial transition period.

The Home Office has commissioned an independent investigation into the impact of EU migrants on the UK economy.

And according to a new report from the Centre for Cities, "wealthy Southern cities will be hit hardest by both a soft or hard Brexit, but are also best placed to adapt to economic shocks ahead”. 

People

Sir Vince Cable will be assisted by the Liberal Democrat’s new Deputy Leader Jo Swinson. As with Sir Vince she is also a newly returned MP having served as part of the Coalition in 2010-15. 

Downing Street has appointed Paul Harrison, previously of the Department of Health, as Press Secretary. Also joining the Number 10 political press team is Kirsty Buchanan who has previously worked as an adviser at the Department of Justice and as Political Editor of the Sunday Express.

Meanwhile a former press aide from Number 10, Tim Smith, is moving to a new role as Media Adviser for David Davis at the Department for Exiting the EU. Former MP Stewart Jackson has been appointed Mr Davis’ Chief of Staff.

HM Treasury has announced Sir David Ramsden as Deputy Governor for Markets and Banking. He is vacating his role as Chief Economic Adviser at the Treasury.

And Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Competition and Markets Authority Dr Andrea Coscelli will now hold the role on a permanent basis.