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Brexit, housing policy and Lifetime ISAs

Week in Westminster

Published: 20 January 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

This week prime minister Theresa May gave a much anticipated speech setting out her vision for the UK’s relationship outside of the European Union. The key points were:

  • Both the Commons and the Lords will vote on the final Brexit deal.
  • The UK will leave the Single Market to prioritise controlling EU migration.
  • Most EU budget contributions will end, but small ones may continue.
  • UK membership of the Customs Union will end, but Britain will seek tariff-free access to the EU.
  • She supports a phased transition period to implement different aspects of the Brexit deal post 2019.
  • The UK is prepared to lave the EU without a trade deal in place.

Brexit has dominated this month and will surface again on Tuesday when the Supreme Court gives its verdict on Article 50 and Parliament’s rights.

National Audit Office report

According to the National Audit Office the government’s target to build a million homes during this Parliament has been shifted to the end of 2020, long after the latest point at which a general election could take place. The NAO report gives an overview of the housing market in England, the DCLG and local government’s housing strategy and the overall housing policy landscape. The report concludes that the need for housing has grown faster than supply, and that housebuilding must increase across the country. The NAO said, “Although owner occupation has become more affordable in recent years, it has also become harder for people to become home owners in the first place.”

Government savings bill

The government savings bill to introduce the Lifetime ISA and Help to Save scheme became law this week. Money saved in a Lifetime ISA can be accessed to put towards a first home or once the account holder turns 60. Under this savings scheme, adults under 40 years old will be able to save up to £4,000 a year, with a 25% government top up on their savings. Lifetime ISAs will be available from 6 April 2017.

And finally...

We distributed the January issue of our parliamentary newsletter, Housing finance at a glance.