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More bill amendment defeats for the government

Published: Thursday, 21st April 2016

The government has suffered more defeats in the Lords during the report stage of its flagship housing and planning bill where peers have amended the pay to stay provisions significantly.

Following a series of divisions in the Upper Chamber the requirement to instigate the pay to stay regime will now be voluntary for councils as it is for Housing Associations.

The government was also defeated over its taper proposals for pay to stay. It wanted a 20 per cent taper but peers opted for a 10 per cent taper.

Under pay to stay council tenants with household income of £31,000 or more (£40,000 in London) will be expected to pay up to market rent. The government has proposed a ‘tapered system’ which means that tenants’ rent gradually goes up the more they earn over the threshold.

Another successful amendment resisted by ministers means the pay to stay income threshold will be increased to £50,000 a year in London and £40,000 outside London. The government wanted to have the thresholds set at £31,000 outside London and £40,000 in London.

In another move the government has now accepted that the regulation on council house sales to fund the right to buy extension will now be decided by parliament instead of ministers alone.

Communities and Local Government minister Baroness Williams also introduced changes to the bill to redefine ‘high value’ homes as ‘higher value’ homes. Williams said the amendments were intended to address concerns that “some authorities could have all their housing stock defined as ‘high value’”.

Peers have now begun to consider amendments to the planning measures in the bill. The report stage continues.

View more information on the housing and planning bill

Roger Milne