5 November 2019
Government has pulled the rug from under small builders
The National Audit Office says that despite being announced in 2014, the Government’s starter homes policy has delivered zero homes instead of the promised 200,000 by 2020.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said: “We worked hard with the Government to make them understand how important this policy was to small builders and communities. They’ve not only pulled the rug from under small builders, including many hard-working NFB members, but also from under thousands of homebuyers who would have benefited from this policy.”
A Government spokesperson said, ‘Even new homes conforming to the intended specifications cannot be marketed as starter homes, which has made getting developers on board challenging.’
The NFB, which has been the major driver behind keeping the starter homes conversation alive, says the Government is being disingenuous. The Government needs to remember that developers are not always housebuilders and that housebuilders often build homes for others, which in this case, could have been councils, Homes England, Government or even a developer.
Priced at no more than £250,000 outside London and £450,000 inside the capital, the only criteria for eligibility was to be a first time buyer and under 40 years old. The scheme was meant to deliver on brownfield sites, a specialty of small builders, and deliver much needed planning certainty.
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association, said: “Only last week we tried to make contact with Homes England about starter homes and we now know why we didn’t get a response. The Government has failed to deliver on a key promise that industry had planned for. They must either deliver or kill this policy or they risk further damaging small and medium sized builders.”