Bishop of Chelmsford asks about affordable housing

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answer on 14th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government:

  • given the current definition of affordable housing in the National Planning Policy Framework, whether they consider that rents set at 80 per cent of market rates should continue to be described as ‘affordable rent’ when this represents more than a third of the income of the average tenant in such accommodation
  • whether they plan to calculate the affordability of housing on the basis of the income of potential tenants.
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Bishop of Chelmsford asks about affordable housing, housebuilding, and renters’ reform

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answers on 2nd November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of raising the threshold at which affordable housing quotas apply, from developments of 10 houses to developments of (1) 40, and (2) 50 houses, on the creation of affordable housing stock.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con): In August 2020, HMG consulted on raising the threshold at which affordable housing contributions are required from 10 units to 40 or 50 units. This was proposed as part of the ‘Changes to the Current Planning System’.

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Bishop of Chelmsford asks about the Homes for Ukraine scheme

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answer on 24th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address pressures on those hosting Ukrainian refugees through the Homes for Ukraine scheme in order to avoid unintended consequences, such as relationship breakdown or homelessness, where alternative solutions cannot be found for their guests.

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Bishop of Chelmsford asks about affordable housing

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answer on 24th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government whether they plan to include a revision of the definition of affordable housing in the National Planning Policy Framework review.

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Votes: Social Housing (Regulations) Bill 2022

On 18th October 2022, the House of Lords debated amendments to the Social Housing (Regulations) Bill in the report stage. Votes were held on two amendments to the bill, in which Bishops took part.

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Social Housing (Regulations) Bill: Bishop of Chelmsford speaks in support of amendments

On 18th October 2022, the House of Lords debated the Social Housing (Regulations) Bill in its report stage. The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in the debate, in support of amendments tabled by Baroness Pinnock and by Baroness Hayman of Ullock:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, it is good to see this important Bill continuing its progression through this House. I begin by declaring my specific interests as the Church of England’s lead bishop for housing and as a beneficiary of the Church Commissioners.

I add my support to Amendment 1 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock. As the energy crisis unfolds, it is surely wise to address the issue of energy efficiency in the social housing sector in a systematic way, by including it as a fundamental objective. Many who live in social homes are among those with the lowest incomes, so they are already struggling to meet their energy bills right now. In addition to immediate relief and support, we also need to address energy efficiency to ensure true affordability in the long term.

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Bishop of Chelmsford asks about accommodation for refugees in the UK

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answers on 10th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the longer-term sustainability of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

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Bishop of Chelmsford asks about private rented housing

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answers on 5th September 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to publish a response to their consultation Improving the energy performance of privately rented homes, which closed on 8 January 2021.

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Bishop of Chelmsford welcomes Social Housing (Regulation) Bill and urges Government to go further

On 27th June 2022 the Bishop of Chelmsford spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I also begin by congratulating the noble Viscount, Lord Camrose, on his excellent maiden speech. Clearly, he has a whole set of skills and experiences that will ensure that his contributions in this House will be highly valuable, as was apparent in his incisive and to the point speech, much of which I agree with and endorse.

Before I go any further, I declare my specific interest as the Church of England’s lead bishop for housing. Noble Lords will know that the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community has been actively working to envision how the Church, government and the nation might tackle the current housing crisis. Last year, the commission released its Coming Home report, which sets out in detail a reimagining of housing policy and practice centred on five core values, which are that housing should be “sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying.”

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Queen’s Speech: Bishop of Chelmsford speaks about housing

On 11th May 2022, the House of Lords debated the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I am delighted to follow my right reverend friend the Bishop of Guildford and I congratulate him on his excellent maiden speech. I warmly welcome him to the House and to these Benches, and I have no doubt that he will have a significant contribution to make, drawing not only on his long ordained ministry in a diverse range of social settings, as we have already heard a little about, but from his wider life experiences. It may well be that he has been a loss to the world of law and music but definitely a gain to the world of the Church. I very much look forward to working with him here in the future.

Last year I was appointed to be the Church of England’s lead bishop on housing, so I was especially pleased to see the references in Her Majesty’s gracious Speech to the needs of our social housing sector. I welcome the opportunities that the social housing regulation Bill will provide in this Session to make some valuable progress.

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