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The rising tide of Government defeats on housing has begun

by derekdeedman on 12 April, 2016

By Baroness Cathy Bakewell | Tue 12th April 2016 – 12:34 pm

“A few weeks ago I wrote on Lib Dem Voice about the full throttle attack that Lib Dems in the Lords are undertaking on the Housing and Planning Bill – one of the shoddiest pieces of legislation put before Parliament for well over a decade.

Yesterday the votes began and the Government was defeated twice – a sign of things to come. Getting this controversial bill through may prove Cameron’s toughest legislative battle yet.

The bill fails to tackle the affordability crisis in housing. What the Tories think is affordable, simply isn’t affordable for most people. It is ludicrous that at a time when housing reform is desperately needed, we are sitting in Parliament debating measures which will give large cash bonuses to the better off and simply exacerbate housing inequalities.

The Tory Government has the wrong priorities on housing and simply put, the Lords just won’t support something so damaging. For Osborne it is home ownership at any cost, no matter how many council homes you have to sell off in the process. What of those who can’t afford to buy? No matter – they’ll never vote Tory anyway.

Another problem with this Bill is that the ideas it contains have clearly not been fully considered. They were manifesto headlines which made for a popular announcement at the time, but with none of the detail developed. So even potentially good ideas, such as Starter Homes, are riddled with loopholes.

The Government will face a good deal of embarrassment in the next couple of weeks as the Lords reject many aspects of the bill. The Lib Dems, who are fighting to ensure home ownership is not a preserve of the rich, can take significant responsibility for that.

We will continue to fight this bill until the bitter end and limit Tory damage to an already elitist housing market. The likely impact on homelessness of this bill is frightening. The sell-off of thousands of council homes will rip apart communities, forcing people to move away from areas they grew up in. The impending defeats in the Lords send a clear message – the Government must think again.

Share this e-petition with members and non-members to stop the homes sell-off:”

* Baroness Cathy Bakewell is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords

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