7th October 2015
The Prime Minister used his speech to the Conservative Party conference today to promise to turn “Generation Rent” into “Generation Buy” by requiring developers to build more affordable homes for purchase.
However, the announcement drew criticism from the charity Shelter as it warned that the Government is failing to replace more “genuinely affordable” social housing that is being taken out of the system as a result of its Right to Buy schemes.
David Cameron said: “When a generation of hardworking men and women in their 20s and 30s are waking up each morning in their childhood bedrooms – that should be a wakeup call for us.
“We need a national crusade to get homes built.
That means banks lending, government releasing land, and yes – planning being reform…”
He added: “Today, I can announce a dramatic shift in housing policy in our country.
“Those old rules which said to developers: you can build on this site, but only if you build affordable homes for rent…
…we’re replacing them with new rules…
…you can build here, and those affordable homes can be available to buy.
“Yes, from Generation Rent to Generation Buy…”
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, says: “You don’t solve an affordability crisis by getting rid of the few affordable homes we’re building, yet that’s exactly what this policy will do.
“Today’s announcement confirms our fears that Starter Homes costing up to £450k will be built at the expense of the genuinely affordable homes this country desperately needs. Our research has shown that these Starter Homes will too often only be ‘affordable’ for higher earners, not the millions of people working hard for an average wage who will be left stuck in expensive private renting.
“There’s nothing wrong with helping people on to the property ladder, but the government has to invest in genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent for all of those on ordinary incomes who are bearing the brunt of this crisis.”
David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation says: “We are pleased that the Government has accepted our offer to independently deliver an extension to the Right to Buy. This is a better and more flexible Right to Buy for residents, for housing associations and the nation’s housing supply. Residents will get the opportunity to realise their dreams of homeownership and housing associations will be able to replace the homes sold, boosting the nation’s housing supply.
“We made the offer on the back of sector-wide support for our proposal, which addresses our initial concerns around supply and independence. This new Right to Buy will help housing associations retain the independence that has allowed them to channel £76 billion in private investment into home building over the last 30 years, and see them get the full market value of homes sold – crucial for building replacements.
“Housing associations are a vital piece of the housing crisis puzzle and natural allies for a Government with serious housebuilding ambitions, having built more than 1 in 3 of all new homes last year. The sector welcomes this opportunity to work closely with Government and bring about a new era for building and begin to end the housing crisis.
“Housing associations have always been committed to helping their tenants get on in life, whether that’s finding a job or buying their first home.”