Week in Westminster
Published: 9 December 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper
Prime minister Theresa May won backing from MPs over her timetable for Brexit talks to begin after conceding to demands to publish a plan ahead of triggering Article 50 and promising MPs a vote on the final deal. Only 89 MPs voted against the government’s outlined plans. Meanwhile, the ongoing court case on whether approving Article 50 requires Parliamentary approval has finished taking evidence and will deliver its verdict in January.
MPs approve FPC powers of direction over buy-to-let
MPs have considered and approved the draft Bank of England Act 1998 (Macro-Prudential Measures) Order 2016. The regulations will allow the Financial Policy Committee to direct the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority to require lenders to place limits on buy-to-let mortgage lending in relation to loan-to-value and interest coverage ratio. The draft regulations will be considered by the House of Lords on Monday 12 December.
Flood Re and leaseholders
Conservative MP John Stevenson introduced a debate calling on government to review the Flood Re-insurance scheme and extend its cover to long leaseholders. Mr Stevenson said: “The real issue concerns long leaseholders who live in a property that is in effect their principal private residence… to all intents and purposes they are homeowners, but for a variety of legal and technical reasons they do not own the freehold… and not covered by the legislation”. Responding the DEFRA minister Dr Theresa Coffey told MPs that she has commissioned officials to look at this issue. She said the insurance industry regularly informs government that on the whole affordable commercial insurance for individual leasehold properties is available through Flood Re. However, Dr Coffey went on to say there are examples of individuals and leasehold property with more than three residential units, as well as residential buy-to-let property, finding it difficult to obtain affordable insurance. The minister welcomed the launch of the British Insurance Brokers Association new commercial product designed to help small businesses, including leasehold properties, in high flood risk areas to access affordable insurance.
Extra funds for estate regeneration
The DCLG announced a new national plan and an additional £32 million of funding for estate regeneration. Councils, housing associations and developers can now bid for a share of £172 million of government investment, and will also be able to get advice from a new national strategy to address common challenges that can stop projects, such as resident protection concerns or finding the necessary finance.
First year review of Scotland's Land and Building's Transaction Tax
While Scotland’s Land and Building’s Transaction Tax (LBTT) has been operationally successful, a lack of consistency in data relating to the tax has made it difficult to fully assess its impact on the property market in Scotland, according to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution committee. In its report on the first year’s operation of LBTT, the committee recommends that the Scottish government’s own review of LBTT should include analysis of the behavioural response to LBTT, the impact on the first-time buyer market, and whether the tax has contributed to increased house prices.
UK vs German housing market
A new report from the think tank IPPR compares the UK and German housing market. The report, German Model Homes?, finds Germany has higher rates of housebuilding, a much less volatile housing market, and a larger private rented sector than the UK.