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Imla chief says housing needs same approach as Brexit negotiations…

Last Wednesday, Alok Sharma was appointed to the role of housing minister, replacing Gavin Barwell who had lost his seat in Croydon Central. In response, Imla called for more consistency in the position…

Events of the past week have clearly left a lot of issues for the Government to tackle – and more than it would have hoped for when Theresa May called the snap election.

However, the chronic shortage of housebuilding and the need for a joined-up policy across all housing tenures are challenges that have faced every new housing minister and administration for longer than most people care to remember.

With talk turning to the need for cross-party agreement and a common approach to negotiating Brexit, it would surely make sense to adopt a similar consensual, non-partisan approach to determining housing policy to put the UK property market on a more stable footing for the long term.

Peter Williams

…and others hope for ‘revolutionary impact’ from Alok Sharma

We hope Alok Sharma is able to get a grip on a housing crisis that represents one of the biggest threats to spending power in Britain and the UK economy.

We urge him to make clear without delay that commitments made in the housing white paper still stand and that investment in homes of all types remains a key priority, particularly when it comes to affordable, quality rental stock.

With this fresh pair of eyes, the disruptive 3 per cent additional stamp duty charge should also be reviewed as far as institutional investors are concerned.

This type of investment actually improves the UK’s stock of quality rental accommodation and delivers cash to the very developers we rely on to fix the housing market. This needs to be properly recognised in the tax treatment they are subject to.

If the new minister also acted to speed up the planning process, alongside taxing land as soon as it had planning permission to prevent land banking, he would be set to make a revolutionary impact on the problems faced by buyers and tenants.

Neil Millard

FCA probe would be unnecessary ‘if lenders paid the same proc fee’

Readers also continued to react to a comment that the FCA should investigate broker/lender relationships…

A straightforward way of resolving this would be to simply have all lenders pay the same procuration fee.

Under the current system, if the compliance checking is robust then there should be no bias towards a particular lender simply because they pay a higher proc fee.

Different lenders employ different criteria, so a straightforward case, which will fit most lenders, should be placed with the best lender available. If service is an issue and a lender is discounted for that reason, this is usually easily provable.

Carl McGovern

Tribute to Paul Smee recognises his long-term commitment and effort

And following the Mortgage Strategy profile on Paul Smee, who will leave the CML in the coming weeks, a tribute was paid…

Your piece on Paul Smee raised memories of my first encounter with him, while I was on the Imla executive committee soon after the turn of the millennium.

As director-general of AIFA he asked for our support in setting up Ami, and his determination to do this, coupled with his knowledge of the intermediary sector, led to Imla playing a significant role in getting Ami off the ground, under the forward-thinking leadership of John Heron and Tony Ward.

In his six years at the CML, Paul has steered the industry through a very hard and at times frustrating transformation, from its pre-crunch years to the professional and responsible sector of financial services that it is today. I am sure his reassuring and collaborative manner will not go wanting in our industry for long.

James Chidgey

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