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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

No. This is where there might be differences between London and the south-east, and other parts of the country. The vast majority of London council house tenants, and even housing association tenants, are on the maximum housing benefit, so the public sector is picking up the cost of their rent. I am saying that if someone is earning more—if they are above the threshold—they should contribute more to the cost of their rent. When we examine the figures, we can see that tenants actually pay very little in rent in most parts of London at the moment because housing benefit picks up the cost of their rent. I am saying that if people are employed in reasonable occupations with reasonable incomes, it is right that they should contribute to the cost of public sector housing, and that principle is set out in the Bill. It is the right approach and one we should thoroughly endorse tonight. It is important to put on record that this is not an attempt to force people out of social rented accommodation; it is a matter of fairness and of people paying their way reasonably.

Transport for London has 5,700 acres of land in London, and while not all of it is developable, a lot of it is. That is one public authority in London that has an opportunity to provide land that could be used for the development of housing for rent or for sale. I piloted the Bill that will enable TfL to provide the homes that are required, and it was interesting that the only opposition to it came from London Labour Members, who opposed the opportunity for more than 50,000 homes to be built in London for the very people they represent. I suggest that we should reject all the Lords amendments that are a deliberate attempt to wreck the scope of the Bill, which contributes to the creation of more housing and more affordable housing, to the opportunity for people to own their own homes, and to local authorities working in partnership with the Government to deliver the homes that people want.