Peers plan Housing Bill strategy

25 January 2016 7:30 am | By Pete Apps

Peers from across the political spectrum are preparing a bid to water down the controversial Housing and Planning Bill, as it returns to the House of Lords this week.

The Housing and Planning Bill is due for its second reading in the Upper Chamber tomorrow, before moving to report stage when several amendments are likely to be placed.

The Conservatives do not hold a majority in the Lords, and have struggled to pass legislation through unamended on several occasions.

Liberal DemocratLabour, crossbench and even some Conservative peers are likely to oppose elements of the bill, giving them a strong chance of pushing through changes to more controversial elements.

The Local Government Association, led by Conservative peer Lord Gary Porter, said on Friday that it would push for amendments on measures forcing councils to sell high-value stock and promote Starter Homes.

Lord Porter said: “As the bill reaches the Lords, we will continue to prioritise a range of amendments… opposing the forced sale of council homes to fund the extension of Right to Buy and seeking a range of local flexibilities in the delivery of Starter Homes.”

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: “Serious concerns remain about the Housing and Planning Bill and there is a large team of Liberal Democrat peers who will be scrutinising it in the Lords.

“The extension of Right to Buy, the sale of high-value council homes and the prioritisation of Starter Homes over other forms of affordable homes could have a very damaging impact on the availability of affordable housing for rent in Britain.”

Inside Housing revealed before Christmas that the duty for local authorities to promote Starter Homes over other forms of affordable housing would be targeted by peers.

A Labour source said: “We will start setting out our arguments that the bill is disastrous for affordable housing, ahead of report stage where we will develop that more formally into some amendments.”