The government's legislative programme for the 2016/17
Parliamentary session will be announced in the Queen's Speech at
the State Opening of Parliament on 18 May.
The government has already set out many of its policies on
housing in the Housing and Planning Bill introduced in the current
Parliamentary session. It's not anticipated that housing will
feature heavily in the potential subjects of legislation for the
2016/17 Parliament session; perhaps with the exception of
homelessness and extension of some form of equity share
arrangements for council tenants.
It's worth remembering that on 17 December 2015,
Communities Minister Marcus Jones confirmed that he would be working with homelessness
organisations and Government departments to explore options,
including legislation, to prevent more people from facing a
ARCH has no further information on any proposed changes to
statutory homelessness duties in England. However, we would not be
surprised if a future Queen's Speech signalled potential changes to
homelessness legislation in England to mirror that introduced
recently in Wales designed to strengthen homelessness prevention
for all, rather than just those in priority need groups.
The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduced a fundamental reform to
homelessness legislation designed to strengthen homelessness
prevention for all, rather than solely those in priority need
groups. It including:
- a new duty to help anyone threatened with homelessness within
the next 56 days
- a duty to provide help to any homeless person to help them
secure a home
- a power rather than a duty to apply the intentionality
- new powers for local authorities to discharge their
homelessness duties through finding accommodation in the private
- Stronger duties on housing associations to support local
authorities in carrying out their homelessness duties.
ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby comments:
"It remains to be seen whether any announcements on homelessness
legislation will be included in the Queen's Speech. If it is, then
any extension of responsibilities on local authorities will need to
carry additional financial resources with it - particularly in
light of the current
upward trend in homelessness presentations and the
length of stay in temporary accommodation in England; which will
only be exacerbated over the next three years by the duty proposed
in the Housing and Planning Bill to require councils to sell their
high-value housing as it becomes vacant."
March Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that:
"The government will explore ways to extend homeownership to
social tenants who cannot afford to take advantage of existing
No further details have been announced. However, ARCH
understands officials at the DCLG have been tasked at looking into
ways in which council tenants, who cannot afford the Right to Buy,
may be enabled to take some form of equity stake in their home that
may enable them to staircase into home ownership in the future.
This might mirror the Voluntary Deal
struck with housing associations which requires them to commit
to"the aim of making available to their tenants the opportunity to
acquire a stake in a home which can increase over time".
While this commitment was signalled in the Budget, it may be too
early for the government to bring forward legislative proposals in
the Queen's Speech for the next Parliamentary session.
ARCH will provide its members with a detailed briefing on any
proposed housing legislation that may be announced in the Queen's