William Eichler 01 March 2016

Starter Homes should not be classed as affordable housing, survey reveals

Starter Homes should not be classed as affordable housing, survey reveals image

93% of local authorities, representing all political stripes, do not think that Starter Homes will address their affordable housing needs, according to a new survey.

The new data, published by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), also revealed nearly 80% of local councils do not think that the Government’s flagship Starter Homes should be classified as affordable housing

The TCPA, in conjunction with the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE), carried out the online survey of council leaders, heads of planning, heads of housing and heads of finance in local authorities across England in February 2016.

96% of councils described their need for affordable homes as severe or moderate, but, as the survey showed, they believe the Government’s flagship Starter Homes policy will only make matters worse.

Over two thirds of respondents anticipate that they will be building less social and affordable housing as a result of the Government’s plans to reduce social rents by 1% a year for the next four years.

Nine out of 10 councils are also concerned that the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants will mean that there will be less socially-rented homes available.

The TCPA discovered that the scepticism is not politically motivated. 53% of respondents are from Conservative controlled councils.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the TCPA said:

‘Low cost homeownership, such as starter homes, may help some people get a first step on the housing ladder, but as the survey of council’s highlights this will not address the need for genuinely affordable homes.

‘We need a housing strategy for the nation that provides decent homes for everyone in society, including those most in need in the current housing crisis.’

She continued: ‘Our survey has revealed that four out of five councils do not think starter homes should be classified as affordable housing because they are simply not affordable for essential low-paid workers – whose employment underpins an economy on which we all depend – or for many people on average incomes.’

Paul O’Brien, chief executive of APSE said: ‘What is clear from these survey results is that the headlong rush to extend Right to Buy to housing associations is an ill-thought out measure which enjoys little support, and this is reflected across the different political parties at a local level.

‘With nine out of 10 councils genuinely concerned that the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants will further diminish the already short supply of socially-rented homes, available in their local communities, we say to Government now is the right time to listen on Right to Buy.’

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