“Two of the Conservatives’ flagship housing policies have been dropped from a key government document, raising questions about the future of the plans.
The new “single departmental plan” published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) does not include a single reference to Starter Homes, which form a central plank of the Government’s commitment to increase home ownership, or of the planned extension of Right to Buy.
…In the latest version, five specific pledges to boost home ownership, including delivering Starter Homes and the extension of Right to Buy, have been downgraded to a single-line promise to “increase home ownership through schemes including Help to Buy”.
… Furthermore, a specific commitment to “increasing home ownership” has been absorbed into the broader aim of fixing “the broken housing market”.
… Ministers had promised to build 200,000 of them by 2020 but The Independent revealed last month that not a single Starter Home has yet been built. This led to officials admitting the policy remained an “ambition” – but have now removed all mention of it from DCLG’s housing objectives.
The previous iteration of the departmental plan included a clear commitment to the policy. It said: “We are delivering a major boost to affordable home ownership with Starter Homes and extending Right to Buy to housing association tenants.”
It reiterated a pledge to build 200,000 Starter Homes, including 30,000 on brownfield land – former industrial sites earmarked for development.
Labour said the omissions in the new document showed the Government had “given up” on helping first-time buyers.
John Healey, the party’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “With home ownership at a 30-year low and the number of younger homeowners in free fall, the Government has now given up on first-time buyers.
“We need much more affordable housing for younger people looking to buy their first home but ministers have erased new housing for first-time buyers from the Communities Department’s official objectives. …”