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What is a starter home?

Part of Housing and Planning Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 3rd May 2016.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy Conservative, South Ribble 6:30 pm, 3rd May 2016

I will make a little progress—otherwise, I will be up and down like a fiddler’s elbow.

Let me turn quickly to amendment 1. A 20% discount over 20 years does not really take account of the practicalities of people’s lives—20 years is far too long. We are talking about starter homes, so one would hope that people are not going to live in them for 20 years. As the Minister said, the average time people live in a house is seven years, not 20. The amendment places restrictions on starter home owners, who are precisely the generation—those aged 20 to 40—whom the Bill aims to empower. I am glad the Government are consulting on the duration of the discount and the taper. If we want builders to build and lenders to lend, we need to take a practical, not an ideological, approach—the policy has to work.

Lords amendments 9 and 10 would replace the national requirement with a requirement that is set locally, depending on local housing needs and viability assessments. That completely undermines our manifesto commitment to build these 200,000 homes, but, as my right hon. Friend John Redwood mentioned, that policy is very popular. Constituents come to us saying, “I want to get a starter home. How can I get my foot on the ladder?” If we were to remove the national requirement, I fear we would delay the process.