Government fails to deliver on 200,000 starter home pledge

5 November 2019

The National Audit Office says that the government has failed to build any new homes for first-time buyers since it was announced four years ago

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The government has failed to build any new starter homes despite pledging to build 200,000 four years ago, a new report has revealed.

An investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that a £2 billion project to get more first-time buyers on the property ladder has resulted in no new homes being built.

In April 2015, the Conservative Party manifesto committed to building 200,000 starter homes to be sold to first-time buyers under the age of 40.

The 2015 spending review subsequently provided £2.3 billion to support the delivery of 60,000 homes under the scheme.

The NAO says that the homes have not been built after the government did not budget for the project or bring into force the necessary legislation.

It says that funding was shifted away from starter homes and instead spent on acquiring and preparing brownfield sites for housing more generally, some of which is affordable housing.

The Housing and Planning Act (2016) set out the legislative framework for starter homes. However, after government policy shifted this legislation has yet to come into force, the NAO says.

Chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier, says: "Despite setting aside over £2 billion to build 60,000 new starter homes, none were built.

"Since 2010 many housing programmes announced with much fanfare have fallen away, with money then recycled into the next announcement.

"The department needs to focus on delivery and not raise, and then dash, people's expectations."

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, says: "We are committed to building more homes and supporting people into home ownership.

"We have a great track record with house building at its highest level for all but one of the last thirty years - with 222,000 homes delivered last year, and 1.3 million in total since 2010, including over 430,000 affordable homes.

"The number of first-time buyers is currently at an 11-year annual high, and over 560,000 households have been helped into home ownership through government schemes like Help to Buy and Right to Buy."

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