MPs will get the chance to back major housing reforms including new significant exemptions to the bedroom tax later this year. Will they take it?
Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, has what he describes as ‘the chance of a lifetime’ to change things through legislation after coming first in the ballot for private member’s bills. Talking to him yesterday gave me a fascinating but slightly depressing insight into how the system – and party politics – work.
He consulted his constituents on a shortlist of options including housing, a Cornish Assembly and health care standards and after more than 2,000 comments has decided to plump for an Affordable Homes Bill with four key elements:
- Extension of Help to Buy or a new Affordable Homes Investment Bank to underpin the ‘intermediate’ market (shared equity/shared ownership/mutual housing) to construct a new lower rung on the housing ladder for those who cannot afford full ownership.
- New exemptions to the bedroom tax for anyone who has lived at an address for more than three years or who lives in a home with disabled adaptations
- A new Use Class for ‘non-permanent residential use’ to empower local planning authorities to control the number of second homes in their area.
- Enhanced powers of compulsory purchase for local authorities where developers land bank development sites or fail to use sites for which planning permission has been granted but development has not advanced or where need for affordable homes cannot be met on ‘exception’ sites through community land auctions/trusts.
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing