Ditch ‘Starter Homes on steroids’ and focus on social housing, Mayor tells Government
Ministers should abandon plans to cut social housing quotas in new developments to give discounts on homes for market sale in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Hackney Council has told the Government.
Under the Government’s ‘First Homes’ proposals, first-time buyers would get a 30% discount on certain new homes in their area – funded through the affordable housing contributions developers are required to make when applying for planning permission.
According to Hackney Council analysis, submitted in its response to the Government’s consultation on the plans, this would come at the expense of paying for genuinely affordable social housing in new developments, which are funded through the same contribution, known as a Section 106 agreement.
A similar ‘Starter Homes’ initiative was announced by the Government in 2015, promising 200,000 new homes with £2.3billion in funding, but was abandoned last year with no homes built.
Building more genuinely affordable housing is going to be more important than ever once the coronavirus pandemic is over, as many of our residents come to terms with job losses and reduced incomes.
First Homes won’t make housing affordable for most people in Hackney, or provide a single new Council or socially rented home for the 13,000 families on our housing waiting list.
Rather than forcing through this Starter Homes on steroids plan – a policy failure already shown to be unworkable – ministers should be pumping funding now into a new programme of Council and social housing that will get the country back on its feet and help those in housing need.
Read the Mayor’s full letter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.