Housing and Planning Bill Lords Committee stage briefing

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.