The Government cannot see any good reason for new-build leasehold houses other than in exceptional circumstances. Earlier this month the Secretary of State announced that no new Government money will fund them. We intend to consult over the summer on how a ban on new leasehold houses will be implemented.
Last year the then Secretary of State promised that by the summer the Government would make concrete proposals for banning the sale of new leasehold homes, yet they are still being sold in my constituency. The buyers thereof are unable to sell their homes and are also unable to afford to buy out their freehold at the extortionate rates being demanded by the freeholders. How and when will the Government fix this?
The hon. Lady raises an important point, and that is why we are acting: we are introducing legislation to stop the development of new-build leasehold houses and will restrict ground rent to a peppercorn. We are also planning to fix the loopholes in the law, to increase transparency.
That was why I mentioned the issue of transparency. It is very important that leaseholders get as much information as is practically possible. We are currently working with the Law Commission on how best to support current leaseholders because we want to make buying a freehold easier for people going forward, but we also want to ensure that those with leases are helped out.