Prime Minister’s Bid to Dismantle EU Housing Rules Thwarted
In a turn of events following recent by-elections, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backpedalled on his intentions to dismantle EU regulations hampering house construction, a move that was initially aimed at creating around 100,000 new homes.
The Prime Minister, who has been amidst a whirl of diplomatic engagements in the Middle East, aimed to rally his party with some voter-friendly initiatives back home. However, the Tories faced a setback as Labour snatched away two significant seats in Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire, posing a challenge for Sunak ahead of the General Election.
According to The Telegraph, Sunak’s ambition to abolish the “nutrient neutrality” stipulations, which presently limit new housing projects near rivers, has faced a roadblock.
The Conservative Party had hoped to brand themselves as the champions of house building to allure the first-time buyer demographic, but their plans were thwarted in the House of Lords due to Labour’s resistance against discarding the EU mandates.
With time running out before the upcoming election, the chances of introducing new legislation on this front appear slim. A government source conveyed to The Telegraph that despite the setback, it’s Labour that now wears the tag of ‘housing blockers.’
They expressed, “Sir Keir Starmer shamelessly halted the construction of 100,000 homes with local consent merely to engage in political theatrics in the House of Lords. The double standards from Labour concerning house building are glaring – at crunch time, Starmer proved to be a blocker, not a builder.”
As the government strategises anew, considerations around tax reductions are in the picture, with discussions around elevating the threshold for higher earners in the 40 percent bracket. Reports suggest that this change might be introduced in the 2024 spring budget, right before the nation hits the polling booths.
Story source also mentions that alongside the Prime Minister, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is weighing the cuts to either stamp duty or inheritance tax.
Reflecting on the by-election outcomes while on his return journey from the Middle East, Sunak acknowledged the “obviously disappointing results,” yet emphasised the importance of context. He noted, “Mid-term elections are always challenging for the ruling governments. There are local factors at play here too.”
Sunak reaffirmed his dedication towards “delivering on the priorities of the British populace” post the electoral defeats. He pledged to continue pursuing his five prime agendas, which encompass curbing inflation and halting migrants from crossing the Channel in small vessels.
As for the speculated tax amendments, a Downing Street spokesperson refrained from commenting and stated, “I wouldn’t be able to speculate ahead of a fiscal event.”