News

NAO to probe zero ‘starter home’ completions

4 November 2019 | By CM staff

National Audit Office (Image: Wates)

The National Audit Office (NAO) is to investigate why not a single ‘starter home’ has been built, despite a government announcement in 2015 that it was planning the construction of 200,000 of them.

Between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) spent almost £174m on acquiring and preparing sites originally intended for building starter homes, following the announcement by former housing minister Brandon Lewis under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Starter homes were intended to be houses built exclusively for first-time buyers under the age of 40 and sold at a 20% discount. The November 2015 Spending Review provided £2.3bn to support the creation of 60,000 starter homes.

But the legislation required to build them is not in place and the NAO said the sites were now being used for housing more generally, some of which is affordable housing.

The Housing and Planning Act (2016) set out the legislative framework for starter homes but without additional secondary legislation, even houses that conform to the intended starter home specifications cannot be marketed as starter homes, the NAO said.

The secondary legislation was due in 2019 but MHCLG has not yet presented the regulations to Parliament and no longer has a budget dedicated to the delivery of starter homes, the NAO said. 

Comments

If the failure to develop any rational Local Plan in my area is anything to go by, MHCLG is failing1) because its targets have no basis in any accurate up-to-date demographics (either current and certainly in not realistic projections) and thus carry no confidence, 2) the broad brush approach to allocating supply takes no cognizance of either local employment opportunities, the capacity of public services, utilities or transport services, 3) thethe funding route and legislative processes have been thwarted to date, 4) MHCLG doesn't understand the limit of its influence over the development of private land (and has actually little land under its control, and can't even control private development/planning, and 5) communities will not let the MHCLG trample on Green Belt and other existing open spaces to the detriment of the local and national environments, nor to the loss of amenity etc for the existing communities.

Steve Frizell, 5 November 2019

Spent the money of something else

Sheila, 5 November 2019

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