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“The truth is we need more homes for sale, more homes for private rent and more sub-market homes for rent" - Gavin Barwell MP

Week in Westminster

Published: 23 September 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper

Speaking at a National Housing Federation conference this week, housing minister Gavin Barwell  made further noises that the government is leaning towards a more mixed-tenure housing policy:

“The truth is we need more homes for sale, more homes for private rent and more sub-market homes for rent. And while we’re at it, we need a wider range of people building those homes and more innovation in how we build to speed up construction. If I have learnt two things from all those conversations over the last 2 months, they are that there is no silver bullet and to distrust anyone who walks through my door claiming to have found one.”

Meanwhile at the Liberal Democrat conference this week, Treasury spokesperson Baroness Susan Kramer called for an extra £45 billion to be investment directly into house building, enough to build an additional 150,000 homes a year over the next five years.

UKIP MEP Diane James has been elected leader of the UK Independence Party, receiving almost double the number of votes received by her nearest rival. In her first speech as Party Leader, Ms James urged the prime minister to “get on with” the task of exiting the EU, adding that she would reject “Brexit-lite” and push for a full withdrawal from the Union. She also argued that UKIP was “the opposition party in waiting”

Talking of which…the Labour party conference kicks off this weekend with the result of the Labour leadership election. It is widely expected that Jeremy Corbyn will win by possibly an even bigger margin than seen last year. Many commentators are suggesting that several prominent Labour MPs have already decided not to return to the frontbenches if Corbyn does not agree to a return to shadow cabinet elections. Never a dull moment….

The Treasury Committee published correspondence from Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive, regarding the numbers of financial services firms in the UK holding passports to conduct business in other EEA member states and the number of EEA firms holding passports to conduct business in the UK.

According to the think tank Policy Exchange, housing associations should be allowed to sign individual housing deals which provide greater freedoms and flexibilities, including fewer constraints over rent setting, that commit them to building new affordable market homes.

The Welsh government has published its programme for the next 5 years.  Taking Wales Forward sets out the government’s priorities, including:

  • Provide tailored support for co-operatives and mutuals
  • Carry forward work on financial inclusion, including support for advice services and credit unions.
  • Work in partnership to deliver an extra 20,000 affordable homes in the next term, including supporting construction of more than 6,000 homes through the Help to Buy scheme.
  • Introduce a new Rent to Own housing model.
  • Explore options to end land banking.
  • Continue long term collaboration with house builders to deliver accelerated rates of house building.
  • Safeguard social housing in rural communities by ending Right to Buy and continuing to support the work of Rural Housing Enablers.
  • Support the development of more renewable energy projects, including community energy schemes
  • Continue to invest in flood defence work and better water management
  • Establish a National Infrastructure Commission to provide increased certainty and sustainability for investment in the future

The National Assembly for Wales’ Finance Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the general principles of the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Bill. Submissions are requested by 21 October 2016.