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Not one "starter home" built in three years – despite Tory promises

NOT a single “starter home” has been built in three years, despite the government having pledged to construct 200,000 of them, Labour revealed yesterday.

The party is challenging Chancellor Philip Hammond to use today’s Budget to improve its “abysmal” house-building record and ensure that homes promised by the government are built.

So-called starter homes can cost up to £450,000 and are available to first-time buyers. The scheme was first announced in December 2014. 

The government funnelled all its money for housing construction into this scheme, leaving none for building truly affordable council homes.

Instead, the right to buy was extended to housing association tenants and councils were required to sell off their most valuable homes to make up housing associations’ shortfalls.

The commitment to build build 200,000 starter homes appeared in the Tories’ 2015 manifesto.

In addition to the lack of progress on building starter homes, analysis from Labour shows that the number of new low-cost homes to buy has halved since 2010. 

There are now 58,000 fewer affordable homes for first-time buyers than there would have been if building had continued at the level seen under the last Labour government.

Meanwhile, the number of homeowners aged under 45 has fallen by 904,000 over the last seven years.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said: “If hot air built homes, Conservative ministers would have fixed our housing crisis.”

He added that the next Labour government will build 100,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy a year, and help first-time buyers with first dibs on new homes for local people.

It would also establish a new generation of discounted FirstBuy Homes and provide a cut in stamp duty for first-time buyers.

The Labour Land Campaign said that taxing landowners was one potential solution to the lack of affordable housing.

The group called for a land value tax to be imposed on developers and landowners who hoard land until the prices inflate. 

Mr Hammond claims that the Budget will address the problem of homes being unaffordable and has already suggested building 300,000 new housing units a year.

The Chancellor has questioned why there is a “huge gap between planning permissions granted and housing units built” and claimed that there is “no silver bullet” to solve the crisis.

A Labour Land Campaign spokesman said: “If he gets the problem, he might find the silver bullet.

“This Chancellor may not want to see an answer that would alienate his party’s most loyal constituency, namely landowners, but the shadow chancellor knows it.”

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