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What is a starter home?

Part of Housing and Planning Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 3rd May 2016.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 7:15 pm, 3rd May 2016

It is quite clear there should be an opportunity for everyone to exercise the right to buy. In London, people who use buy-to-let arrangements are getting a return of probably about 3% to 4% on their capital. They are not necessarily getting a huge rate of return, so they are providing facilities for people to live in accommodation when those people cannot possibly afford to buy their own home, or choose not to do so. There are people who choose to rent rather than buy because that suits their lifestyle better.

I want to move on to an issue that seems to have been forgotten in all this. The reality is that someone who demonstrates that their housing need is sufficient—in other words, they are homeless—has a chance of winning the lottery prize of getting social rented accommodation. If they currently get such a prize, they can live in the property for the rest of their life, regardless of their income. That has to be wrong; it should not happen. People come to me every day and say, “I can’t get a council property. I can’t afford to rent a property in the constituency. All the local authority is offering is, with respect, a place in Bradford, Wolverhampton or somewhere in Birmingham, but nowhere near London.” The reality is that people are being priced out of the market because we are building too few homes and, equally, we are allowing people to live in social rented accommodation for far too long after their incomes have risen considerably. That cannot be right. Social rented accommodation should be for people who need it.