The Tory announcements on starter homes will fail young people and produce sub-standard housing. The building of 100.000 homes for the under 40s by 2020 will not achieve home ownership, even with a 20% discount. House prices are already increasing and the 20% discount will not help first time buyers. Many of the houses will be built by dropping the requirements for zero carbon homes, which will mean that many of the houses will not have the improved energy inefficiency standard and will only have to be upgraded by the home owners. At the same time the homes will be more expensive to run.
The 10,000 “Rent to Buy” programme will also be split between London and the rest of England, so in London 5,000 homes will be built and the other 5,000 will be built in the rest of England, so that would be only a handful of homes being built in the Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency.
Cllr Mick Lerry said: “Labour’s policy is designed to overcome three major constraints on house building”, such as:
1. Certainty: New Homes Corporations will take responsibility for areas prioritised for development and setting out the timetable over which that development will take place. This will remove the incentive to hold on to land while the value goes up, because the timetable for development will be clear.
2. Strategic Planning/infrastructure: Enable large sites to be developed even across local authorities’ boundaries, including implementing the crucial infrastructure such as roads, schools and green spaces. Government funding will be routed through these bodies to ensure that infrastructure follows housing need.
3. Competition: At present we rely on just a small number of volume house builders and as a result we build far fewer homes. New Homes Corporations will drive competition and diversity among house builders with powers to package up sites for building by housing associations and construction firms.
Finally the overarching aim is the building 200,000 homes a year by 2020: Use it or lose it powers to tackle developers who unnecessarily landbank. A “Help to Build” scheme to allow SME Builders to access finance and at the same time giving communities a greater share of the benefits from development, such as play equipment and green space.
Cllr. Mick Lerry – Leader of the Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency
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