Charities win levy get-out

Charitable social housing providers will avoid paying the community infrastructure levy (CIL), Baroness Andrews said at the Planning Bill's third reading this week.

The communities minister outlined a clause ensuring that CIL regulations will include a 100 per cent exemption where the liable party is a "relevant charity in England and Wales". Around 70 per cent of housing associations have some charitable status.

Andrews also confirmed that the other 30 per cent of providers will pay a "significantly reduced rate". The move comes after intense lobbying from the National Housing Federation (NHF).

Lord Best tabled an amendment asking for affordable housing provision through section 106 agreements to take priority over CIL charges (Planning, 24 October, p1). Andrews confirmed last week that CIL revenue would be used to top up shortfalls in affordable contributions.

An NHF spokesman said: "We have been lobbying for CIL exemption for housing associations since the bill was introduced. In the current financial crisis, it will help provide even more affordable homes."

The Lords also won an amendment to require the CIL regulations to go before parliament for a 60-day period. During that time, either house may call for a debate or pass a resolution, giving the Lords a say in the framing of regulations. But this could be overturned when the Commons considers the Lords amendments on Monday.

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