CONSERVATIVES BROKE MANIFESTO COMMITMENT ON HOUSING, MP TELLS COMMONS
MP Helen Hayes says It is entirely untenable for the Government to include starter homes in the definition of affordable housing.
“A home to buy that requires a deposit of £90,000 and a salary of £77,000 and that costs up to £450,000 is not affordable to most people in London” she told a House of Commons debate.
Speaking during a debate on the Housing and Planning bill (planning permission: provision of starter homes) Helen Hayes said amendment 10B would give local authorities the ability to decide the balance of starter homes and other, more genuinely affordable homes to be delivered in their area.
“By failing to support the amendment, the Government are breaking the commitment they made in launching their manifesto. “More importantly, they are failing communities in London and across the country that need affordable housing.
“It is important to point out what links an affordable, secure home and the aspiration of many people in this country to own a home: the ability to save.
“Someone who is spending too high a proportion of their income on private rents and on deposits for landlords every year because they have no security of tenure does not have the ability to save.
“The bill does nothing about the private rented sector; it reduces the supply of genuinely affordable homes and, in doing so, it denies the aspiration of an entire generation to have an affordable, secure home and, ultimately, to own a home of their own.
“That is an ideological position, and it will deepen the housing crisis and be the shame of this Government.
“Amendment 10B would allow local councils to decide the mix of affordable housing that is delivered in their area, based on their assessment of local need and demand.
“The minister speaks about manifesto pledges, and his point is understood, but I would like to quote the press release that accompanied the Tory manifesto launch: ‘After funding replacement affordable housing on a one for one basis, the surplus proceeds will be used to fund the extension of right to buy’.
“It is entirely untenable for the Government to include starter homes in the definition of affordable housing. “A home to buy that requires a deposit of £90,000 and a salary of £77,000 and that costs up to £450,000 is not affordable to most people in London.
“My constituents simply shake their heads in disbelief at the suggestion that it is. It is not the case that starter homes are replacement affordable housing, and it is entirely misleading of the Government to claim they are.
“Amendment 10B would allow local authorities—the same local authorities that undertake housing needs assessments, that have statutory housing duties, that are democratically accountable to their communities and that know what is needed in their communities—to determine the type of affordable housing that is appropriate in their area.”
In a separate debate (May 11th) on the housing and planning bill Helen Hayes (Lab, Dulwich and West Norwood) told the Commons:
“The Government have talked much about the obstructive nature of the Lords in relation to the Bill, but the Lords are not being remotely obstructive or difficult.
“They are simply not convinced that the Government have done their work or that the Bill will deliver on the Government’s manifesto commitment to one-for-one replacement.
“This is about a transparent and accountable legislative process that gives both Houses the confidence that there is any basis at all to believe that the Bill will deliver what the Government say it will.
“Nobody in the Opposition is saying that starter homes should not be a part of the mix; we want them to be part of a mix that is locally determined by councils that are democratically accountable to their local communities, and we want one-for-one replacement before the proceeds from forced sales are spent on anything else.
“The Government are once again rejecting sensible, pragmatic advice from the House of Lords. “They are ideologically committed to a Bill that will make the housing crisis worse than it already is. I urge the Government to listen to the House of Lords in its further assertion and to accept the amendment it proposed.
Amendment 10B: Planning permission: provision of starter homes 9th May. The House having divided: Ayes 289, Noes 206. Lords amendment 10B disagreed to.
Amendment 47E (relating to like-for-like replacement) The House having divided: Ayes 292, Noes 197. Lords amendment 47E disagreed to. Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendment 47E.
The debates on these amendments can be read here: