Some of the amendments, which cover the bill’s Starter Homes Initiative and revamped Right to Buy scheme, were completely blocked by the members of the House of Commons, while others were tweaked and sent back to the Lords for a further round of legislative ‘ping-pong’.
The bill has been moving through parliament since October last year, seeing it passed back and forth from the House of Commons and Lords whose members have suggested numerous amendments.
Last month the Public Accounts Committee published a report raising concerns about how aspects of the Housing Bill will be funded.
Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and member of the Public Accounts Committee, accused Lewis of ‘sweeping aside’ findings set out in the report.
“We set out to be helpful to the taxpayer and to the government in implementing their policy, ensuring affordability. We set out the key questions that needed answering before such a policy could be delivered. If I may say so, this minister is being very cavalier in sweeping aside the findings of our report, which were well-measured, cross-party and unanimous,” she said.
Lewis denied he had ignored the committee’s findings, while hitting back at Hillier, accusing the Labour party of a ‘cavalier attitude’ to homeownership. Labour peers in the House of Lords have played a key role in pushing forward changes to the government’s Housing Bill.
He said: “What I am more focused on—I make no apologies for it—is ensuring that we counter the cavalier attitude of the Labour party, which wants to do down people who want the chance to have a home of their own that they can afford to buy. We are determined to deliver our manifesto promise on that.”
The Bill will now be thrown back to the Lords where they will debate amendments put forward by MPs.