The Prime Minister’s big housing announcement at Conference – removing Government funding for affordable rent properties and ploughing it into ‘starter homes’ for purchase – is nothing but a disaster for Londoners.
Of course we need to build new homes but they’ve got to be affordable. Look at the detail and it’s clear the new Starter Homes are nothing of the sort. The homes will be built by private builders and sold at 80% of market prices, in London that means up to £450,000 each, how almost half a million is meant to be affordable to most Londoners is beyond explanation.
Earlier in the year the Housing charity Shelter found that Starter Homes would be unaffordable for a couple on above average salaries in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. For single earners looking to get on the property ladder, the Starter Homes will be unaffordable to all but the top 10% of earners in every single London borough.
Not only will these new homes not be affordable for those on very high incomes in the capital, the Government intends to raid affordable housing budgets to pay for them, resulting in fewer, not more, genuinely affordable homes being built.
The Government needs to take the housing crisis seriously. That means properly funding Housing Associations to build social and shared ownership homes and removing the arbitrary cap on council investment in new homes. Starter Homes which are unaffordable to the vast majority of the population are no replacement for genuinely affordable housing.