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Horsham Liberal Democrats

Rebuilding the Housing Bill

March 29, 2016 9:54 AM
By Derek Deedman in House of Lords newsletter

After 9 long days in Committee the Housing Bill will now enter Report after Easter. Peers will vote to make considerable changes to a Bill, which in its current state, will only exacerbate the current housing crisis.

The Liberal Democrats have spoken on a number of controversies in the Bill as it crawls through the House of Lords. This has included debates on affordable housing, the sell off of council homes, right to buy, starter homes, protections against rogue landlords, and pay to stay.

Cathy Bakewell who is leading for the Liberal Democrats on the Bill has previously warned that:

"The main thrust of the Bill is around the Government's manifesto commitment to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants. We know that 80% of the population wish to own their own home. It is an important aspiration and one that we might all like to see achieved, but some serious safeguards are needed to protect the diversity and prosperity of sections of our communities."

In Committee she said that:

"The Government's concentration on starter homes to the exclusion of other tenures is extremely damaging to the housing market and to the aspirations of those looking for a home of any sort. There are those, as we have heard, who will never be able to afford or be eligible for the Government's starter home programme.

There are those who struggle to pay market rents, never mind repayments on a mortgage, and those who will be excluded from renting from a private landlord due to the rents being levied. These people are not to be cast aside as though they are of no importance. Each and every one of them deserves the dignity and security of a decent home in which to live and bring up their children."

John Shipley warned of the dangers of the Government's proposed pay to stay rules which involve imposing market rents on 60,000 council home households:

"It reduces the aspiration to work more and actually encourages people to work less. If they are to lose out with the amount of rent they have to pay it is not worth their while to work, or work as much, so there will be a tendency for people to decrease their hours, with a growth in part-time working."

The first day of voting on the Housing Bill will be the first day the House is back, Monday 11 April.