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Government did not build pledged starter homes

Thursday 21 November 2019

A government plan to deliver 200,000 pledged starter homes did not result in any homes being built, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.

The plan was announced in 2014, aimed at providing properties at a 20 per cent discount to buyers under the age of 40.

Legislation to take the project forward was not passed, and planning guidance was never put through Parliament, despite expectations that it would happen in 2019. As a result, even new homes meeting the intended specifications cannot be marketed as starter homes.

David Cameron committed to the scheme in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto as a way to tackle a crisis in affordable housing. The project should have also supported the wider growth and regeneration of surrounding areas, with the homes built by the end of the decade.

The NAO found that, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government had acquired, and prepared sites intended for the project – spending almost £174m between 2015 and 2018. The sites in Plymouth, Bury, Basildon, Stockport, Bridgwater, Cinderford, and Bristol are now being used for general housing, only some of which is affordable.

NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive Mark Hayward said: “It is important that Government pledges are honoured. We believe the best way to increase housing supply is to encourage the building of every type of home, and we support any creation of homes that addresses a specific market demand. The next Government must make sure that they fully consider the impact of any pledges they make.”

Propertymark GE2019 Manifesto 

Propertymark has published its own pre-election ‘manifesto’ calling on the new Government to regulate and reform the housing sector.