Financial and building safety announcements in Queen’s Speech welcomed

Financial Services Bill proposals outlined in the Queen’s Speech could boost the mortgage market while building safety plans have been widely welcomed.

According to Ishaan Malhi, chief executive officer of online mortgage broker Trussle, the financial Bill should be used to deliver solutions to improve the mortgage market. ‘Too often, the mortgage industry doesn’t work in the interest of consumers, trapping them into costly rates or failing to serve those in specialist groups,’ he said.

‘Mortgage overspending is having a detrimental impact on consumers. This Bill has the potential to help reform the industry. Today, two million home owners face a loyalty penalty of up to £375 each month in extra interest. Owning your home should mean stability and freedom, but getting a mortgage brings anxiety, stress, and unequal treatment,’ he explained.

‘The industry must act. That’s why we’re calling on lenders to voluntarily adopt the Mortgage Switch Guarantee, setting a higher standard of transparency and making switching mortgage deals easier for borrowers,’ he pointed out.

‘However, further action needs to be taken. Parliamentary attention and FCA intervention to the issue of mortgage prisoners is welcome but we need to expand our ambitions. Mortgages are the largest source of debt for households in the UK, but the scale of the issue is not receiving the attention it deserves from policymakers,’ he added.

Also in the Queen’s Speech, were plans for a Building Safety Bill and Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation (BPF) described it as a priority. ‘The public needs to have confidence in high rise residential buildings, and in the framework that Government has been working on,’ she said.

‘The consultation during the summer was comprehensive, and should provide a good platform for moving ahead with reform. As with other legislation, however, it is only as good as the resource that is put into making any new system workable,’ she added.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) warned that new legislation regarding the implementation of building safety standards needs to be underpinned by a mandatory licensing scheme for all UK construction companies.

‘The announcement that the Government will bring forward new rigorous laws forcing compliance with building safety standards is an important and essential step in improving safety and confidence in our built environment,’ he said.

‘After the Grenfell fire tragedy it’s essential that we raise the bar in construction. However, the Government must go further still and publicly consult on a mandatory licensing scheme for all UK construction companies. This would serve to remove from the industry any firm that ignores health and safety procedure and risks safety in and around the built environment,’ he pointed out.

‘Licensing would also remove rogue traders that bring the image of builders into disrepute, whether they are operating in the private domestic sector or in the supply chain on a large commercial site. We now await further details on this Bill and whether it will have the teeth it needs to improve the construction sector,’ he added.

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