Prince Charles reveals plan to overhaul housing policy in Queen’s speech

Prince Charles reveals plan to overhaul housing policy in Queen’s speech

Prince Charles has officially delivered the Queen’s Speech and opened Parliament today this week, with plans to overhaul the housing policy were among the 38 bills discussed.  

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The purpose of the Queen’s speech, which she had to ‘reluctantly’ pull out of due to ‘episodic mobility issues’, is to mark the beginning of the parliamentary session and outline the Government’s proposed policies and legislation for the coming session.

One flagship Bill, being led by Michael Gove, will see “levelling up” plans written into law, for example by making it a legal duty for the Government to report its progress on tackling inequality between different parts of the UK.

He announced the bill to drive local growth, empower local leaders to regenerate their areas and said the planning system would be reformed to give local residents the chance to be involved in local development. 

Councils will be given new planning powers, such as compelling English landlords to put empty High Street shops out for rent that have been empty for months.

The opening sentence of the Queen’s speech said: 

Her Majesty’s government’s priority is to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families.

Prince Charles also said that her majesty’s government will “level up opportunities in all parts of the country and level and support more people into work.”

The speech called the times ‘challenging’ The Prince of Wales announced a ‘Levelling up and Regeneration Bill’ to drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas 

He said the planning system would be reformed to give residents the chance to be involved in local development and councils would be given new planning powers, such as compelling English landlords to put empty High Street shops out for rent. 

Part of this new legislation will also give councils power to take on the second home crisis in areas such as the Southwest, which has seen wealthy investors snap up homes and increase prices. 

Other announcements made in the speech included the introduction of the Social Housing Regulation Bill which aims to improve the regulation of social housing and strengthen the rights of tenants and ensure better quality and safer homes.

A Renters Bill which aims to abolish so-called “no fault” evictions and reform possession grounds for landlords was also announced. The bill will abolish what the government has called ‘no fault’ evictions or section 21 evictions and seek to give renters better rights if they told to leave despite complying with the terms of their tenancy.

But there is a growing criticism from people saying that there is little or nothing in the legislative proposals announced by the government that will address these two key priorities set out in the first sentence of the speech:

  • to strengthen the economy 
  • and help ease the cost of living for families.

The New Economics Foundation made the same point. Miatta Fahnbulleh, its chief executive, said:

Last week, voters sent a clear message to the government: You’re not doing enough to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. People have had enough of the government doing nothing whilst millions are forced to turn their heating off and skip meals. 

Today’s Queen’s Speech was a chance for the government to act – to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and truly level up the country. Not one that plays politics and stokes culture wars, without making any material difference to people’s lives.”

Several Bills have had to be carried over from the previous session, due to the ‘Partygate’ scandal and the war in Ukraine delaying the legislative agenda.

It is believed to be the first time in 59 years that the Queen has not attended the event, and only the third time during her reign.

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