Government fails to build any of pledged 60,000 starter homes

Aaron Morby 3 years ago
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The Government has failed to construct any of the 60,000 starter homes it pledged to build four years ago to ease the housing crisis.

Funding originally intended for Starter Homes has instead been syphoned off to acquire and prepare brownfield sites for housing more generally, some of which is affordable housing.

Government spending watchdog, the National Audit Office has revealed that £250m has been spent on land for the vaunted policy but not one starter home has been built so far.

In November 2015, the Government provided for £2.2bn of spending to build 200,000 Starter Homes, which would be sold at a 20% discount and will be built exclusively for first-time buyers under the age of 40.

It was hailed as a central plank of the Government’s plan to build up to 300,000 homes a year.

NAO auditors also found that necessary secondary legislation needed to define starter homes has not yet been passed meaning that even homes meeting criteria cannot be recorded as the discounted housing.

The whole initiative has now been quietly canned as the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government no longer has a budget dedicated to the delivery of starter homes.

Funding earmarked for starter homes has now been reallocated to the £9bn Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme and the Land Assembly Fund.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the committee of public accounts, said: “Despite setting aside over £2bn to build 60,000 new starter homes, none were built.

“Since 2010 many housing programmes announced with much fanfare have fallen away with money then recycled into the next announcement.

“The Department needs to focus on delivery and not raise, and then dash, people’s expectations.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said: “We worked hard with the Government to make them understand how important this policy was to small builders and communities.

“They’ve not only pulled the rug from under small builders, including many hard-working NFB members, but also from under thousands of homebuyers who would have benefited from this policy.”

 

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