Starter homes won’t solve affordable housing crisis, survey finds
1st March 2016 16:10 - Housing
The market research findings were released by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and revealed that approximately 80 per cent of local councils do not feel that the UK Government’s starter homes should be referred to as affordable housing.
The Town and Country Planning Association conducted the market research alongside the Association for Public Sector Excellence. The Associations carried out online surveys of council leaders, heads of planning, heads of finance and heads of housing, within local authorities throughout England. The research took place during February 2016.
Of the councils in the survey, 96 per cent said that the needs for affordable housing was either moderate or severe, however, they feel that the Government’s Starter Homes policy will not help the situation, but make the crisis worse.
More than 2 in 3 respondents said that they expect the Government will build less affordable and social housing on the back of the Government’s plans to decrease social rents by 1 per cent for the next four years.
Of the councils, 90 per cent said that they are concerned that the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants will result in less socially-rented homes being available.
The Town and Country Planning Association uncovered that the dubiousness is not politically motivated, with 53 per cent of respondents being from councils controlled by the Conservatives.
The Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association, Kate Henderson, said of the research findings:
“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.”
Henderson added: “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.”
The Chief Executive of the Association for Public Sector Excellence, Paul O’Brien, said of the findings:
“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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