Jan Crosby, KPMG’s Head of Housing, comments on an announcement by Greg Clark MP of the £26m Starter Homes fund for house builders.
“The introduction of the Starter Homes scheme certainly appears to be an encouraging initiative to make home ownership more affordable for young people. However, there’s currently a lack of detail; it would certainly be helpful to see a timescale for when the first starter homes will be available and how many will be built per year to reach the target of 200,000 by 2020.
“Within the announcement is a commitment to a £10m fund in 2015-16 for local authorities to prepare brownfield sites to enable Starter Homes to be built, but in the scheme of 200,000 homes this is really a drop in the ocean. However, if this sum was redirected to fund additional planning officers it would have a much bigger impact, especially on the speed of permissions.
“An area where more reassurance is needed now is the impact on affordable homes. Starter Homes are going to be partially funded by the exemption of provision of affordable homes, which essentially amounts to a drop in funding. With the social and affordable housing sector already hard hit by measures announced in the Budget, such as rent decreases and Right to Buy, this seems like another blow. What we need is a commitment from Government that social and affordable homes will be funded in other ways, to ensure we are continuing to house those for whom home ownership is simply not a reality.”
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Frances Shennan, KPMG Corporate Communications
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This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.