The Conservatives want to replace every home sold under their policy Right-to-Buy with a new one but in Yorkshire they’ve just managed to build just one for every twenty properties sold so far.
Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister John Healey claims this poor track record of replenishing housing stock under Right-to-Buy doesn’t bode well for their ambitious housing bill, which was debated in the House of Commons last night.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark said during the second reading of his Government’s legislation: “For many years we haven’t built enough homes in this country. It’s true of successive Governments and it’s been true for many decades. New households have been forming in Britain at a rate of 200,000 a year, yet the last year in which we built 200,000 homes was in 1988.
“Providing the homes our country needs is a defining challenge for all of us in this House.”
He said the Bill would help future generations achieve “a home of their own.”
Mr Healey told The Yorkshire Post, however, that he had doubts they would be able to achieve their one-for-one target.
He said: “It’s very hard to believe them when they say the new Right-to-Buy will be any different. This is a bill driven by the policies of the Conservative Party and not by the housing needs of the country.”
The Government’s Housing Bill aims to address the country’s housing crisis. Its revamped Right-to-Buy plan would in theory replace every home sold, with another one built by a housing association.
They’re also making it easier for developers to provide ‘starter homes’ with a 20 per cent discount of the market value. They will be available to first time buyers under 40, and up to a value of £250,000 (£450,000 in London).
Rogue landlords will be blacklisted, and in extreme cases councils will be able to ban those who don’t abide by the law. Councils will also be assisted in selling off high value assets that can be used to support people into home ownership.
However Mr Healey, who is MP for Wentworth and Dearne and Labour’s former Housing Minister, said he has particular concerns for rural communities, which will struggle the most to replace homes lost from the social market through Right to Buy, and inevitably sold again on the private market.
He said: “Despite what ministers say there is nothing in the bill that will offer great affordable homes in rural areas where it’s hardest to replace them.”
He also took aim at the Smarter Homes policy.
He said: “If you want to buy your new home, then these so-called starter homes are a none starter for you and unaffordable to most people on average incomes.”