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Housing and Planning Bill: Lords vote through 4 amendments

Words: Laura Edgar
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This week the House of Lords has undertaken two report stage sessions of the Housing and Planning Bill, voting through four amendments.

The final report stage session will be held on Monday 25 April.

On Monday (18 April), the Lords considered “pay to stay”, which would, if implemented, see social housing tenants charged market rates once a household earns over £30,000. The bill says the threshold would be more than £40,000 in London and £30,000 in the rest of England.

The Lords voted 240 to 176 for allowing local authorities to decide whether or not to charge an increased rent for those on a higher income, rather than make it compulsory for them to do so.

Following this, the Lords voted to limit increases on the amount rent tenants on a higher income can be charged. The rent should not equate to more than 10 p for each pound of a tenants income above the minimum threshold. They voted 281 to 178 for the amendment.

A further amendment would see the threshold for tenants considered to be on a high income raised to £50,000 in London and £40,000 for the rest of England. The Lords voted 266 to 175 in favour of the amendment.

Yesterday (20 April), the fourth report stage took place, with the Lords inserting a community right of appeal into amendment 102ZA. This will allow parish councils or neighbourhood forums to appeal against a decision by a local planning authority to grant planning permission in certain circumstances.

A further amendment (102C) was also voted in favour of during the session, 231 to 171. The amendment means that permission in principle will only be granted for housing-led developments.

Last week, the government was defeated on two starter home proposals.

The second stage saw the House of Lords vote 279 to 203 for an amendment, tabled by crossbench peer Lord Lisvane, that would require determinations by the secretary of state provided in the bill regarding payments made by local housing authorities in England be made by regulation. The government will also have to go back to Parliament before it can make any changes to the regime.

An amendment was also passed on 20 April, without a vote, which the RTPI helped to secure.

Baroness Williams of Telford, who is the ministerial lead on the legislation, agreed that the bill should be changed to make it clearer what was meant by the ‘qualifying documents’ that would be used to grant permission in principle.

The RTPI argued for more clarity to “prevent an Act of Parliament permitting any document created by the secretary of state to grant a blanket permission across England”.

The RTPI explained that it has had meetings across the political parties in the House of Lords to try to secure the change.

Read more about this on the RTPI website.

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