Martin Ford 08 December 2020

MPs savage abandoned £192m housing scheme

A £192m affordable housing programme that failed to deliver any homes has been labelled ‘deplorable’ by MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC)’s report on the Starter Homes scheme said it ‘deplore[s] the time and resources wasted’ until it was left to ‘drift out of existence’ earlier this year.

Some of the funds will support the building of some homes on remediated land, but it has been superseded by the First Homes initiative, which councils must ensure 25% of affordable homes built by developers contribute to.

PAC chair Meg Hillier said: ‘The Department for “Housing” is at risk of losing the right to the title. It has serially, constantly failed to deliver affordable new homes or even make a serious attempt to execute its own housing policies or achieve targets before they are ditched, unannounced - costs sunk and outcomes unknown.’

The PAC has urged the Government to ‘work more closely with local authorities’ to create more social housing to move people out of temporary accommodation.

The District Councils’ Network and Local Government Association backed the call.

DCN vice chair, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: ‘Councils need to be given the local flexibility and powers to set the number of First Homes in their areas, so they can better meet the housing needs of local communities.’

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