Tuesday 23 April 2019
Informal ECOFIN 5-6 April
An informal meeting of Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) Ministers was held in Bucharest on 5-6 April 2019. Ministers discussed the following:
Working lunch—multiannual financial framework
Ministers discussed the multiannual finance framework in the context of the European semester and financing of the EU budget.
Working session I
Central bank governors joined for the first working session.
a) Institutional cycle priorities
Following a presentation from Bruegel, Ministers and central bank governors discussed priorities for the next EU institutional cycle.
b) Capital markets union
Ministers and central bank governors then discussed the way forward for the capital markets union.
Working session II
a) Labour mobility in the EU
Following a presentation from the Centre for European Policy Studies, Ministers discussed the macroeconomic and fiscal impact of labour mobility in the EU.
b) Taxation and economic growth
Ministers discussed the role of taxation in supporting EU economic growth.
c) Preparation of the April G20 and IMF meetings
Ministers approved the EU terms of reference for the G20 meeting and international monetary and financial committee statement, ahead of the Spring meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.
Housing, Communities and Local Government
Private Rented Sector
You will have seen that last week I announced reforms to the legislative framework governing how private tenancies can be ended in England to improve security in the private rented sector for both tenants and landlords. This announcement followed my Department’s recent consultation on “Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies”. I also published the Government’s response to this consultation.
The private rented sector has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, and the sector needs to keep pace with these changes. The number of people who live in the private rented sector has doubled, and it is home to more families with children and older people. These households need stability and security in their home.
The current legislative framework leaves tenants feeling insecure. They can be asked to leave their homes, with as little as two months notice, without the landlord providing any reason, using eviction proceedings under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This sense of insecurity can profoundly affect the ability of renters to plan for the future, to manage their finances or to put down roots in their local communities.
The Government intend to establish a fairer system for both tenants and landlords by legislating to repeal section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Bringing an end to so-called “no fault evictions”, would mean that a tenant cannot be forced to leave their home unless the landlord can prove a specified ground, such as rent arrears or breach of tenancy agreement. It would provide tenants with more stability and protect them from having to make frequent and short notice moves. It would also empower tenants to challenge their landlord about poor property standards where this occurs, without the worry of being evicted as a result of making a complaint.
The private rented sector must also remain a stable and secure market for landlords to continue to invest in. The legislation I intend to introduce will include measures that provide landlords with additional safeguards to successfully manage their properties. We will strengthen the existing grounds for eviction available to landlords under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This will allow the landlord to regain their property when they want to sell it or move into it themselves.
It is important that landlords can have confidence that the court system works for them in instances when there is no other option but to seek possession of their property through the courts. That is why this announcement includes improvements to court processes, to make it quicker and smoother for landlords to regain their properties when they have a legitimate reason to do so.
Removing no-fault evictions is a significant step. This announcement is the start of a longer process to introduce these reforms. We want to build a consensus on a package of reforms to improve security for tenants while providing landlords with the confidence that they have the tools they need.
We will launch a consultation on the details of a better system that will work for landlords and tenants. The Government will collaborate with and listen to landlords, tenants and others in the private rented sector to develop a new deal for renting. Ministers will also work with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector who use these powers and use the consultation to make sure the new system works effectively.
Business Greenhouse Gas Reporting Guidance and Regulations
This written statement confirms that responsibility for business greenhouse gas reporting guidance and regulations will transfer from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This change will be effective immediately.
Work and Pensions
Office for Nuclear Regulation Corporate Plan
Later today I will lay before this House the Office For Nuclear Regulation corporate plan 2019-20. This document will also be published on the ONR website.
I can confirm, in accordance with schedule 7, paragraph 25(3) of the Energy Act 2013, that there have been no exclusions to the published documents on the grounds of national security.