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02.03.16

Four-fifths of councils say Starter Homes are not affordable housing

The housing crisis will not be addressed by the government’s Starter Homes initiative, according to over four-fifths of local councils.

A joint survey of English local authorities from the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) found that 96% of councils have a severe or moderate need for affordable housing.

However, 93% of respondents did not think the Starter Homes will address affordable housing needs and almost 80% did not think they should be classified as affordable housing.

Recent research from the Local Government Association (LGA) found that discounted starter homes prices will be out of reach for all people in need of affordable housing in 220 council areas, and for more than 90% in 80 areas.

Kate Henderson, the TCPA’s chief executive, said: “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.”

Other problems pointed out were the 1% reduction to social housing rent, which 69% said had negatively impacted their plans for new social and affordable housing, and 89% said that the extension to the Right to Buy scheme will mean that less housing will be available for social rent.

The LGA has warned that the Right to Buy extension will lead to the loss of 80,000 council homes.

Paul O’Brien, the APSE’s chief executive, said: “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.”

The survey also found that the government’s housing reforms are not necessarily popular in its own party, with 53% of responses coming from Conservative controlled councils.

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