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Government pledge to build 200,000 new homes comes to nothing, watchdog finds

affordable housing new homes

The Government’s plan to build 200,000 new homes for first-time buyers in the UK has resulted in no homes being built, according to an industry watchdog.

In 2014, the Government announced its target to build the “Starter Homes”, which were to be sold at a 20% discount to first-time buyers and aimed at those under 40.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron committed to the initiative in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2015. The November 2015 Spending Review subsequently provided £2.3 billion to support the delivery of the first tranche of 60,000 Starter Homes.

However, the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that the initiative amounted to nothing, with not a single new home being built. This comes despite the fact that between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) spent almost £174 million on acquiring and preparing sites originally intended for building starter homes.

The industry body added that these sites are now being used for housing more generally, some of which is affordable housing.

“The shortage of affordable housing for first-time buyers across the UK has been a pressing issue for many years now,” Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions, said. “It is disheartening, therefore, to see potentially positive interventions – such as the Starter Homes initiative – amount to nothing.

“With the General Election fast approaching, all parties must ensure they follow through with any touted targets concerning new-builds. The Housing Crisis cannot be used as a campaigning tool – the property market needs genuine action, not gimmicks or speeches that seek merely to curry favour with voters.”

The NAO has released a full report on the findings of its investigation.