Central to this Government’s mission is the promise of helping more people to achieve the dream of home ownership. That is why we have introduced a new shared ownership model cutting the minimum stake that someone needs to buy a home of their own to 10% and allowing them to increase in 1% steps. Thousands more people will benefit, as up to 50% of the homes delivered through our new affordable homes programme will be shared ownership, with those in rented homes being given the right to shared ownership. This all comes on top of our new Help to Buy scheme, which specifically targets first-time buyers, our First Homes policy, which discounts new homes by at least 30%, and our landmark leasehold reforms announced earlier in the year.
City of York Council is already the subject of written warnings by the Secretary of State’s Department for its failure to produce its first local plan since the 1950s, and has now again been reprimanded by inspectors for delays and errors in the production of that plan. Will he now step in and have this plan drafted for the council to send a clear message to it, and to any other council, that we will not tolerate those who seek to prevent the delivery of homes for rental and ownership?
My hon. Friend will appreciate that in my quasi-judicial role I cannot comment on York’s plan, other than to say that it is long overdue, as he says. York is one of those communities that have failed to produce a plan for a very long time. We have a plan-based system in this country, and the planning reforms that I am bringing forward place greater emphasis than ever on these local plans. One has to have a local plan in order to make the system succeed. It is not optional. Local areas that take too long or do not produce those plans, including York, will need to face the consequences, and we will have to consider how we need to proceed if they do not bring one forward quickly.