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UK Housing Bill 2nd Reading >Right-to-buy affordable housing planning councils brownfield sites and anything else you need to know




Ministers have defended their plans to extend the right-to-buy to housing association tenants as parties clashed over the government's Housing Bill.

Last night both sides there was a general consensus on the housing bill where rogue landlords would be held accountable , more brown field site development and right to buy scheme.

Measures to extend the Right to Buy and to force councils to sell their expensive homes have now been voted through in the House of Commons.


Communities Secretary Greg Clark said it would lead to an increase in housing stock and help people "realise the dream" of home ownership.

though Labour predicted a "fire sale" of affordable homes.

The Housing and Planning Bill is the first to be considered under new "English votes for English laws" rules.

Ahead of its second reading, Speaker John Bercow said parts of it "apply exclusively" to England and others to England and Wales only.

'Lazy assumption'
The plans to allow housing association tenants to buy their homes at a discount were first announced by the Conservatives during the election campaign and altered last month to make them voluntary rather than mandatory.

Ministers have pledged the sold-off homes will all be replaced by housing associations.
Mr Clark said: "It is as much a policy for expanding the housing stock as it is for extending home ownership".

He said it was a "lazy assumption" that there was a "contradiction" between the two goals.
Under the reforms, the government has agreed to compensate housing associations for the sales discount offered to the tenant and housing associations will retain the sales receipt to enable them to reinvest in the delivery of new homes.

'Totally unworkable'
Some Conservative MPs, including the party's London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, called for specific measures applying to the capital.

Mr Goldsmith tabled an amendment calling for a "binding guarantee" there would be a net increase of affordable homes in London.

His Labour rival Sadiq Khan said under existing right-to-buy rules seven homes were sold in London for every new one started. Khan went on to say , On affordable homes in London, does the right hon. Gentleman accept his Department’s own figures, according to which, over the past three years, 9,025 homes have been sold in London under right to buy and there have been 1,310 starts on replacements? That is seven homes sold for every home started. If that is the Government’s record, why should we believe that things will be different going forward?

Greg Clark: responded by saying that in London during the first year of the reinvigorated right to buy, 632 homes were sold and already, a year before the deadline for councils, 1,115 starts have been made. The rate of provision of additional homes in London is running at nearly two for one. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will celebrate that.

When we reinvigorated the right to buy for council tenants, we ensured that every home sold to a resident would allow another home to be built. It is as much a policy for expanding the housing stock as it is for extending home ownership, desirable though that is

Shadow housing minister John Healey said homes that are sold off would not be replaced under the "totally unworkable" proposals, which he said heralded a "field day for developers".
Mr Healey also criticised the government's Starter Homes scheme, aimed at offering first-time buyers a 20% discount on homes worth up to £450,000 in London, saying they would "simply not be affordable".

Mr Clark said this figure was a "cap not a guide", saying he wanted to see prices "well below" it.
As well right-to-buy, the bill:

Gives local authorities additional powers to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector
Makes provision for 'high income' social tenants to pay a market rent as opposed to a social rent
Reforms the planning system, including a new duty for councils to keep a register of brownfield land
Ahead of the bill's second reading debate in the Commons, Mr Bercow fielded questions from SNP MPs on how the new mechanism on so-called England-only legislation would work.
He said MPs would have to accept his decisions on which aspects of legislation the new rules would apply to, telling them he would not provide detailed explanations.
Right-to-buy is being outlawed in Scotland and is not an issue the SNP would normally have voted on. The SNP have promised to act responsibly when deciding when to challenge the application of the new rules - but sources say they will create "mischief" when the opportunity arises.

It will be for Speaker John Bercow to decide whether legislation applies just in England

It is the first bill that has been designated as containing proposals that affect only England and Wales under new standing orders agreed last month.
During the bill's passage through Parliament, there will now be new stages added to the usual law-making process at Westminster.

These will allow MPs for English constituencies and for constituencies in England and Wales to vote on those parts of legislation certified as only affecting England, or as only affecting England and Wales.

If the bill is approved at second reading, a Grand Committee of English MPs, and a similar body of English and Welsh MPs, will be asked to give their consent to the relevant certified clauses.
If any clauses are rejected, they would be reconsidered by all MPs before being subject to the same process of territorial scrutiny again, at which point any disputed clauses would fall.
Any amendments later made by the House of Lords will be subject to "double majority" approval by all MPs and by English or English and Welsh MPs.