Viewpoint: David Cameron’s starter homes policy

Sue Kidd is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Planning and a chartered town planner: 

“David Cameron is right to highlight the need for new house building in his speech to the Conservative Party today.  It seems that at no time since the immediate post war years has the subject been as high on the UK political agenda.

For over 10 years now it has been calculated that we need 250,000 new homes to be built each year to keep pace with growing housing demand but with recent  rates of house building running at 110,000 homes – the gap between supply and demand is ever widening.

The economic and social consequences are all too clear – rising house prices most notably in London and the South East but also in other parts of the country, increasing unaffordability issues, declining home ownership and the rise of ‘Generation Rent’.

Today’s announcement which promises to abandon planning rules that require property developers to build affordable homes for rent in a bid to increase the building of homes for first-time buyers will no doubt benefit some middle income earners.

Houses built under the scheme must be 20% below the market rent and capped at £450,000 inside London and £250,000 outside.

For many lower paid people though this will do little to address their housing problems and aspirations.

The reasons behind the current housing crisis are highly complex and there are no easy answers but the case for increased social housing building is growing. This latest housing initiative seems to be running in the opposite direction.”

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