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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

I would argue this: let us tackle the scarcity. Let us start a building programme of 100,000 social homes a year. That is the only way that we will hit the target of the quarter of a million homes this country will need. We have never built a quarter of a million homes without a massive social house building programme, and it is unlikely we will do so in future.

I will make one more point about the mix of communities. In other communities where there is, at the very beginning, a limited number of social rented properties, the right to buy that has already happened, together with the proposed extension of the right to buy, will mean that those are exactly the same communities that have the higher-value council homes. Not only will the right to buy remove social housing in those areas, but the sale of vacant higher-value council properties will remove social housing as well. It is likely that, in future, some communities will have no social housing to rent whatsoever, irrespective of people’s needs. That is the other conclusion, and it is very worrying indeed. In some communities, there will be no home available for those on low earnings or short-term tenancies who have a real housing need but who cannot afford to buy. That is another product of the Bill and I am against it. I hope that Members will support the Lords amendments to at least mitigate its worst impacts.