Housing and Planning Bill Lords Committee stage briefing

8th Feb 2016

The following is an outline of JRF’s views on the Housing and Planning Bill ahead of Lords Committee Stage beginning on Tuesday 9 February 2016.

It does not aim to be a comprehensive overview, but instead provides analysis of the parts of the Bill where JRF has particular expertise.

Key points

  • The government is right to help people onto the housing ladder but, on its own, this does not provide a route out of poverty. People need a variety of stable housing options, but too many are being forced into the bottom end of the private rented sector with higher rents and less security. We need a much more ambitious plan to supply genuinely affordable homes.
  • Proposals to allow ‘Starter Homes’ to replace low-cost rented accommodation will reduce the supply of housing affordable to those on low incomes.
  • Action to tackle rogue landlords and estate agents is very welcome and should be the first step in a comprehensive Private Rented Sector strategy.
  • Selling vacant ‘high value’ local authority-owned housing will have an immediate impact on the availability of homes for those in housing need.
  • Setting the threshold at which tenants are judged to be ‘high income’ will require sensitivity to avoid including households below minimum income standards. A tapered approach will be required to avoid creating work disincentives.
  • Efforts to improve delivery of homes through the planning system are very welcome, but must ensure a mix of tenures are delivered as a result.