Lords defeat on Tories’ (again) on hated housing bill

Mark Brown mark at tlio.org.uk
Thu Apr 14 13:14:39 BST 2016

Housing Bill: Government Suffers Major Defeats in Lords, as Kill the Housing
Bill campaign grows

Two major elements of the Housing and Planning Bill have been defeated in the
House of Lords last night. The Government could be forced to make major
concessions following these embarrassing defeats, with opposition to the Bill
outside of Parliament growing every day

The Lords supported two amendments to the Bill:

The first extends the Starter Home discount to twenty years, not five as the
Bill stated.

The second allows councils to choose how many starter homes are built in their
area in a bid to make sure affordable housing for those on low incomes remains a

A spokesperson for the Kill the Housing Bill campaign coalition, whose housing
bill demo was attended by 10,000 people last month, said: “These defeats show
just how unpopular the Tories’ bill is becoming. It’s clear that it will worsen
the housing crisis, and force more people into homelessness. It aims to destroy
council housing, condemning millions to a lifetime of insecure, expensive
private renting.

Starter Homes – the bill’s flagship policy – are no solution to the crisis. They
will help only the wealthy, and do nothing for the millions of people struggling
with housing across the country. We will continue this fight against the bill,
inside and outside Parliament. Everyone deserves a decent home, but landlords,
developers and the rich will be the only ones to benefit from this Bill.”

On Friday 15 April UK at 6pm, thousands will assemble at Downing Street to join
a March With the Homeless, with the march culminating in a mass sleep out at
Southwark Council Offices from 9pm. The demonstration is being organised by the
Kill the Housing Bill campaign and Streets Kitchen, a homelessness justice

March with the Homeless    https://www.facebook.com/events/1002019006532518/

Kill the Housing Bill: https://killthehousingbill.wordpress.com/



Labour inflicts another Lords defeat on Tories’ hated housing bill
Opposition peers joined forces with crossbenchers to force the Government to
seek parliamentary approval over sale of high-value council homes.

Last night ministers lost one vote and were forced to offer concession in three
other areas:

    They lost a vote on an amendment which would subject to parliamentary
approval any payments to the Government from the forced sale of council homes.
    Ministers agreed to consider the Labour-backed amendment which would ensure
a like-for-like replacement for council homes offloaded under the forced sale.
    Ministers said they would accept the Labour-backed case to protect rural
areas from the forced sale of council homes.
    Ministers accepted several changes to include extra protections to prevent
bad landlords from taking advantage of new rules allowing them to reclaim
properties in cases of alleged abandonment.

John Healey, shadow Secretary of State for housing and planning, said: “After
yet more defeats and partial climb-downs, the Government’s extreme housing plans
are being exposed as simply not fit for purpose.

“It’s become clear to peers across the House of Lords that this Government has
no proper plan to fix the housing pressures people face. The proposals debated
will mean a severe loss of low-cost homes, at a time when they’ve rarely been
needed more.

“The Tories have lost all credibility with this half-baked Bill. It’s welcome
they have backtracked on some areas, but they must now urgently come back to
Parliament with improvements that safeguard affordable homes for the next


Lords limit ministers' powers on council house sales 
The Guardian, 14/04/2016

Local authorities will no longer be forced to give proceeds of council house
sales to Treasury, as housing bill suffers third vote defeat in House of Lords
Ministers will be forced to seek parliamentary approval before they can make any
changes to rules forcing local authorities to hand over the proceeds of council
house sales to the Treasury, after peers inflicted a third defeat on Wednesday
night to the government’s controversial housing bill.

The bill includes plans for local authorities to be compelled to sell off
higher-value council properties in their area to fund the extension of the
discounted right-to-buy to tenants of social housing – and allows for central
government to be able to sequester the proceeds.
House of Lords defeats some of government's plans for starter homes
Read more

But amid concerns that the legislation would hand unfettered power to ministers
to dip into councils’ coffers, the House of Lords passed an amendment, tabled by
crossbench peer Lord Lisvane – Robert Rogers, the former clerk of the House of
Commons, which will compel the government to come back to parliament before it
can make any changes to the regime.

The defeat in the Lords, where the Conservatives do not have a majority,
followed the loss of two votes on the housing bill on Monday night. The
government was also forced to accept two amendments on Tuesday to other aspects
of its plans, including a Labour-backed proposal to ensure councils replace any
homes they sell, one-for-one.

Labour shadow housing minister John Healey said: “After yet more defeats and
partial climbdowns, the government’s extreme housing plans are being exposed as
simply not fit for purpose.”

“Ministers have lost all credibility with this half-baked bill. It’s welcome
they have backtracked on some areas today, but they must now urgently come back
to parliament with improvements that safeguard affordable homes for the next

Housing campaigners have warned that by focusing taxpayer funding and planning
changes on securing more “starter homes” – which will be sold at a discount to
the market price – the government’s plans risk undermining the provision of more
affordable housing, including homes for rent.

However, housing minister Brandon Lewis has insisted the proposals will “help
anyone who aspires to own their own home achieve their dream”.

The fraught passage of the housing bill is a fresh example of the intense
pressures facing the government as it attempts to forge ahead with its reform
programme at a time when Downing Street’s time and attention is distracted by
the EU referendum in June.

As peers were debating housing, Conservative MPs in the Commons were voicing
their reservations about the education bill, which will force all Britain’s
schools to become academies.

Former schools minister Tim Loughton asked the education minister Nicky Morgan:
“as a Conservative I always believe in choice. Can she outline to me the
downside of schools migrating organically to academy status rather than imposing
a compulsory and arbitrary timeline on them?”

Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, asked: “Can we please have a
compromise at the end of this process by which county councils will not
necessarily be forced to give up control of their primary schools?”

Lucy Powell, the shadow education secretary, said: “Again and again Conservative
MPs made reasonable calls for the secretary of state to abandon her plans to
force all primary and secondary schools to become academies in multi-academy

“It’s absolutely clear that the government would not get the support for these
proposals as they stand. They should hit the pause button and have a serious


Protest to mark housing defeat

Ref: https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-1151-Protest-to-mark-housing-defeat

CAMPAIGNERS celebrating the latest defeat of the controversial Housing Bill
yesterday vowed to “kick it while it’s down” with a national demonstration at
the end of the week.

The fighting cries came after one of the Bill’s major policies was defeated in
the House of Lords on Monday night.

Peers voted with a majority of 94 to amendments to the Bill’s provisions for
so-called starter homes, including an extension of their discounts to 20 years.

The Kill the Bill campaign is now calling for mass sleep-outs on Friday to
protest against the Bill as well as show solidarity with the homeless.

A spokeswoman for the Kill the Bill campaign said the setbacks suffered by the
Tories in the Lords showed how “unpopular” the document was.

“Starter Homes — the Bill’s flagship policy — are no solution to the crisis,”
she said.

“They will help only the wealthy and do nothing for the millions of people
struggling with housing across the country.”

Another amendment tabled by the Lords allowed councils to choose the amount of
starter homes to build in their borough — making sure affordable housing is
still a priority.

Speaking on the amendment, housing expert Lord Best said: “It gets to the heart
of the fundamental problem with this Bill — namely the introduction of measures
to generously subsidise home ownership schemes — with the subsidies being found
by a transfer of public resources away from low-cost rented homes for less
affluent households.”

The Bishop of Stepney Adrian Newman will join housing campaigners at the east
London protest on Friday.

Another group will be rallying outside Downing Street before marching to the
luxury offices of a south London council for its sleep-out.

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