Housing and Planning Bill - 2nd reading briefing (House of Lords)

By: Steve Akehurst  Published: January 2016


Shelter's briefing for Peers for 2nd reading of the Housing and Planning Bill

Summary

The shortage of homes, especially affordable homes, is at the root of every problem Shelter see through our services. The government's intention to build more homes is therefore welcome, as are many of the measures in this Bill to improve private renting.
 
However, we believe the Bill needs a great deal of further thought to avoid unintended consequences:

  • As currently drafted it risks leading to a net loss of homes affordable to people on low and middle incomes – with existing public resource diverted to schemes for those on more comfortable incomes. The Bill introduces changes to low-rent social and council housing that, taken together, would be the most significant in its history.
  • These changes are pursued through a considerable transfer of power and resource from local authorities to central government. Many hinge on information the government has not yet revealed to Parliament and is instead deferring to regulations. 
  • Low-rent affordable homes are currently a vital lifeline for communities across the country. They offer a security that private renting does not, while low-rents help families save. They also play a significant role in tackling and preventing homelessness. We are extremely anxious about undermining the supply of these homes. While we recognise the government's mandate to expand home ownership schemes, we believe that these can and should be delivered in a way that does not come at the expense of homes for vulnerable people and those on low incomes.

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