Housing Bill: 19 Defeats And U-Turns Inflicted On Government's Flagship Reforms

A bumpy ride for "pay-to-stay" charges and ending lifelong council homes
Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire

NB: This article was amended to reflect three further defeats that took place the following week.

The Government's flagship housing legislation is having a miserable time of it in the House of Lords. Three defeats last week followed by five this mean the Housing and Planning Bill will look significantly different by the time it returns to MPs a week on Monday.

And peers have another day at it.

From ending council houses for life to selling off expensive social housing to subsidise home-buyers, the Housing and Planning Bill is the Government's answer to the housing crisis.

But it has critics. And with an "anti-Tory" Labour-Lib Dem majority in the House of Lords, plus disgruntled Tory peers, the Bill is being slowly demolished.

MPs may ignore the will of the Lords, but there has already been a series of concessions. Here are 19 defeats and U-turns it's suffering from.

1
Defeat: Raid on council coffers
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The Treasury has been blocked from keeping the proceeds of the forced sale of high-value council houses - to fund Right-to-But discounts - without parliamentary approval
2
Defeat: £100k discount on new homes
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A flagship scheme to hand well-off first-time buyers a taxpayer-funded 20% discount on a Starter Home has been moderated
3
Defeat: Forced house-building
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English councils can decide how many starter homes are built in their area
4
Defeat: Making "pay-to-stay" mandatory
Yui Mok/PA Wire
Peers voted in support of a Labour-led amendment to give local councils the discretion over whether to implement “pay to stay”, a market rate charge for better-off tenants
5
Defeat: Charging “pay to stay” at market rates
John Stillwell/PA Archive
Peers to back an amendment to lower the “pay to stay” taper rate from 20p to 10p in every pound, so lower-paid families would not be hit as hard
6
Defeat: “Pay to stay” threshold
Yui Mok/PA Archive
The Lords voted 266 to 175 to increase the “pay to stay” threshold by £10,000
7
Defeat: "Pay to stay" inflation-linked
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Peers voted for "pay to stay" thresholds to be increased in line with inflation every three years.
8
Defeat: Replacement of council homes
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Ensuring a one-for-one - and like-for-like - replacement of council homes where housing shortages can be demonstrated.
9
Defeat: Automatic planning consent
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Wide open “planning permission in principle” powers are to be limited to housing development
10
Defeat: Local power
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Parish councils and local forums right to appeal against developments they think go against a "local plan"
11
Defeat: 'Green' housing
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An amendment to require all new homes in England built to achieve new standards in cutting carbon dioxide emissions
12
Defeat: Rural 'affordable' housing
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Local planning authorities can ask developers of 10 houses or less in a rural area to make some of them 'affordable' compared to local salaries
13
Defeat: Improved drainage
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Brings in new standards for implementation of rainwater drainage
14
U-turn: Rural protection
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The Government is to look at backing down on the forced sale of council homes in national parks and areas of national beauty
15
U-turn: Landlord restrictions
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Ministers have accepted a proposal to make it harder for landlords to evict vulnerable people that have abandoned their homes
16
U-turn: Rural house-building control
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The Government has been forced to consider giving councils discretion to exclude building homes in rural areas
17
U-turn: Council house for life
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Ministers backed down on replacing lifelong secure tenancies with contracts lasting up to five years, and agreed to extend maximum to 10 years
18
U-turn: Protecting tenants' money
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Ministers will insist letting agents have to put money in to a Client Money Protection account to stop stop "rogues" running off with deposit
19
U-turn: Basement re-development
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Ministers agreed to review planning laws relating to basement developments amid fears councils cannot control the growth of “subterranean development”
20
U-turn: "Back-door" eviction
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The Government will look again at private landlords being able to reclaim properties when the become vacant after concern that it was open to being used as a “back-door” way to evict tenants
21
U-turn: Council tenancies
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Secured tenancies to cover the period that a child is in school

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