Affordable homes scheme failure

The Government has failed to deliver any of its promised tens of thousands of new “starter homes” despite setting aside more than £2bn for the project, the Whitehall spending watchdog has said.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 3:57 pm
The Conservative Partys 2015 manifesto committed to building 200,000 homes in England to be sold exclusively to first-time buyers under the age of 40

The Conservative Party’s 2015 manifesto committed to building 200,000 homes in England to be sold exclusively to first-time buyers under the age of 40, in a bid to help young people take their first step on the property ladder.

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Although the Spending Review of that year set aside £2.3bn to support the delivery of the first 60,000 properties under the scheme, the National Audit Office said that, to date, no starter homes have actually been built. While the Housing and Planning Act 2016 created the statutory framework for the project to go ahead, the NAO said the relevant sections of the legislation have yet to come into force.

But it said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government now no longer has a budget dedicated to the starter homes project.

Funding earmarked for it has instead been spent on acquiring and preparing brownfield sites for housing more generally - some of which was “affordable”. Between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the MHCLG and its agencies spent £174m preparing land originally intended for starter homes.