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What is a starter home?

Part of Housing and Planning Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 3rd May 2016.

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Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Chair, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 6:45 pm, 3rd May 2016

We had evidence from various housing associations about how they were going to respond to the proposals. Some made it very clear that they felt they would gain fewer properties to rent under section 106 agreements than under the previous legislative arrangements. They also made it clear that given that there is now no money in the Government’s housing programme for the rest of this Parliament for any houses to rent, in terms of grant assistance, all the resources—the £8 billion—will go either to starter homes or to shared ownership. Many associations believe that they will be building fewer homes to rent on an affordable basis because of the combined effects of policy as a whole. That will vary from association to association.

Tony Stacey, the chief executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, told us that in much of the area where his association works it would not be possible to build back with the money that will be given from the sale of housing association property, and it was likely that the association would simply go and buy up another property in the private rented sector. That could happen as well, and it would not act on the housing stock. There will be very different policies in different areas. I would argue strongly, in relation to starter homes, that we should reflect that by enabling local authorities to come to different agreements that suit their local needs. As the hon. Gentleman will recognise, the Select Committee said very clearly:

“Starter Homes should not be built at the expense of other forms of tenure…it is vital that homes for affordable rent are built to reflect local needs.”