The Queen has visited Parliament for the State Opening and to deliver the Queen’s Speech setting out the Government’s legislative priorities for the coming term.
The Speech included a preview of a new Housing Bill which will extend the Right to Buy to more than one million housing association tenants and provide the necessary statutory framework to fulfil the Conservatives election manifesto commitment to extend the Starter Home initiative doubling its reach to deliver 200,000 discounted homes for first-time buyers by the end of the Parliament.
A statutory register for brownfield land will be introduced to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020.
A ‘Right to Build’ will require local authorities to identify, and release shovel-ready plots for residents ‘to self-build or commission a local builder to build a home.’
The Bill will also be used to introduce measures to simplify and accelerate the neighbourhood planning system.
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill
Following the recent speech given by the Chancellor, George Osborne on devolution to cities and the building of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the Government will publish a Bill to transfer powers to cities with elected ‘metro mayors’. Although the precise suite of powers and responsibilities and the exact nature of the devolution deal for each city will vary, the powers are likely to include control of more housing functions.
An Enterprise Bill will be brought before Parliament with the aim of reducing the burden of regulation on small businesses. This will include measures to extend the Primary Authority scheme to cut down on duplication across local authority boundaries and a general reduction in red tape affecting small businesses.
Details of these measures, and how they will benefit house builders, are not yet clear. Following his speech on the subject last week, HBF wrote to new Business Secretary, Sajid Javid to invite a discussion on how best to red tape for small developers.
‘English votes for English laws’
The Government will bring forward changes to the rules by which the House of Commons operates to ensure that decisions affecting only England, or England and Wales, can be taken only with the consent of the majority of MPs from those parts of the UK. As devolved issues this will limit the influence of Welsh and Scottish MPs on housing and planning matters.
A transcript of the Queen’s Speech can be read here
A Government briefing note summarising the legislative programme can be read here
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