Housing and Planning Bill

Housing and Planning Bill

This is my speech to the full council on December 2nd.Thank You Mayor,

Included in this bill are reforms such as banning orders for rogue landlords, ‘rent clawback’ measures, and better data sharing on bad landlords. The Labour Group welcomes these proposals, they will make an important difference to the lives of private renters. There is an opportunity to do even more to improve the sector.

However, there are truly problematic things in this bill. The Housing and Planning Bill introduces duties for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to enforce the Right to Buy extension to housing associations. It also brings in provisions to make local authorities pay a fixed sum to government each year based on income from selling high-value vacant homes, and places duties on councils to promote the supply of discounted Starter Homes. In short, it gives Provisions for councils to make a fixed payment to government each year, based on an estimate for the income from selling high-value vacant homes. It also places a duty on councils to consider selling vacant high-value housing. In addition, also imposes measures to force ‘high-income social tenants’ to pay up to market rents.

As Starter Homes are not currently affordable to most families on low-and-middle incomes, they should be built in addition to, not in place of, existing affordable housing. Local authorities should not be compelled to accept them if they are not affordable to their local community.

The bill will not help most people struggling to buy their own home, will mean a severe loss of affordable homes for local communities across England, will centralise significant powers in the hands of the secretary of state and deprive councils of the capacity to meet the housing needs of their communities and local people of a proper say in the planning process; and will weaken the obligation of private developers to contribute towards affordable homes for local people.

So we want the Leader of the Council to write to Greg Clarke with our concerns, discuss these concerns in a meeting with our three MPs and then spell out the consequences of the bill on our website. 

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