Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill was scrutinised by the Public Bill Committee last week.
The Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Richard Harrington MP (Con, Watford) with all party support, seeks to establish a new criminal offence to tackle the unlawful subletting of social housing properties.
The Committee agreed to extend the Bill to cover Wales, in accordance with the wishes of the Welsh Assembly Government. It also accepted an amendment from the Minister for Local Government Brandon Lewis to add powers to persons authorised by local authorities to require information from specified bodies to help detect and prosecute instances of fraud. The minister said he intended banks, building societies and utility companies to be on the list of organisations that are compelled to supply data.
The Bill, as amended, will return to to the House of Commons for the Report Stage - a date for this has not yet been set.