On Thursday 11th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, “That this House takes note of the performance of the United Kingdom’s major housebuilders.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it may be no coincidence of timing that as we debate the performance of the major housebuilders, every day this week in the financial press we have seen the trading results of many of these major companies, the latest being Barratt this morning, the country’s largest housebuilder. There is a consistent picture of extraordinarily high levels of profit and cash being returned to shareholders. However, my first point is that past history tells us this will not last. Housebuilding is a highly cyclical industry and when the next recession comes, new house sales will plummet, as they did in 2003 and 2008. Housebuilders, especially the smaller ones, will fail, and there will be high unemployment in the building trades. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle says housing shortage must be tackled by helping small builders and lifting restrictions on local authorities to borrow and build”
On 29th November 2016, Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government, “further to the announcement in the Autumn Statement that they will invest £1.4 billion to deliver 40,000 affordable homes, how many affordable houses to rent they expect local authorities to build by 2020.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans My Lords, in the financial year 2015-16, the Government’s own statistics show that just 6,550 homes for social rent were completed. That is the lowest number since records began and far below the just under 40,000 completed in the years 2010-11. Would the Minister agree with me that whatever the value of other forms of affordable tenure, only social rented housing is going to deal with the problem faced by the most disadvantaged communities? Will he further tell the House what the Government are doing to address this rapid decline in the provision of this form of housing?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to invest in social rented housing”
On 11th October 2016, Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville asked the government “how they plan to improve the quality and affordability of housing in the United Kingdom”. The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, contributed to the debate.
Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester calls for more affordable housing”
On 15th September 2016 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to reverse the decline in home ownership.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, while the price of land continues to increase so rapidly, landowners have much less incentive for immediate development, particularly if they are negotiating with local authorities over their desire for more affordable housing requirements. Will Her Majesty’s Government take further steps to tackle land-banking, so that we can get more houses up more quickly? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for more home building, less land banking”
On 18th April 2016, the House of Lords debated an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill that would mean victims of domestic violence who leave a secure social tenancy would be able to access a new secure tenancy, rather than the proposed short-term tenancies. The amendment had been tabled by Baroness Lister, with the support of the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister spoke to the amendment on the Bishop of St Albans’ behalf.
The amendment was later withdrawn, after the Government committed to introduce it through regulations. Continue reading “Housing and Planning Bill: Bishop of Peterborough supports protections for victims of domestic violence”
On the 13th April 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, tabled an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill that would prevent Right to Buy from occuring in rural areas unless rural replacements were guaranteed. Baroness Evans of Park responded on behalf of the government. The amendment was later withdrawn.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendment 52, which is in my name and has the support of the noble Baroness, Lady Royall. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Young, for his comments. I also want to note my support for Amendment 51, tabled by the noble Lords, Lord Kennedy and Lord Beecham, which would serve to better protect areas of high value, such as St Albans city and district in my own diocese, from a potential loss of social housing to other parts of the country. Continue reading “Housing and Planning Bill: Bishop of St Albans tables amendment on rural right to buy”
On 11th April 2016, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill at its Report stage. Lord Best and Lord Beecham tabled amendments to increase the period for which Starter Homes had to be sold at a discount. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke in support of these amendments, and Baroness Williams of Trafford responded on behalf of the government. In a subsequent vote, amendment 1 was passed by 275 votes to 181.
Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I apologise for not engaging with the Bill at an earlier stage. Other colleagues from this Bench who have engaged with it are unable to be here today. I declare an interest: I have five children, and I worry very much about how they will own their own properties. Two have already managed to; the other three will need to work on it. It will be a little bit difficult for them. They will not have a great deal from me to help them, as they come from a clergy family. That is my second declaration of interest. Living on a clergy stipend for most of my adult life and living in clergy accommodation means that I have got to know the letting world reasonably well as a way of trying to make provision for my future and my family’s future when I am evicted from my house at some point. Continue reading “Housing and Planning Bill: Bishop of Coventry supports increased controls on Starter Homes”