Ditch ‘Starter Homes on steroids’ project and focus on social housing, Hackney mayor tells government

Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Hackney’s mayor has told the government to abandon plans to give first-time buyers discount on new homes at the expense of social housing.

The First Homes scheme, announced in February, would give new homeowners a 30 per cent discount, funded through the affordable housing contributions developers are required to make when applying for planning permission.

But the town hall says it would come at the expense of social housing in new developments, which are also funded from the same contributions, known as Section 106 agreements.

In its submission to an ongoing consultation on the scheme, mayor Phil Glanville compared it to the government’s Starter Homes plan from 2015, which promised 200,000 new homes with £2.3billion of funding but was abandoned last year with nothing built.

He said: “Building more genuinely affordable housing is going to be more important than ever once the coronavirus pandemic is over, as many of our residents come to terms with job losses and reduced incomes.

“First Homes won’t make housing affordable for most people in Hackney, or provide a single new council or socially rented home for the 13,000 families on our housing waiting list.

“Rather than forcing through this Starter Homes on steroids plan – a policy failure already shown to be unworkable – ministers should be pumping funding now into a new programme of council and social housing that will get the country back on its feet and help those in housing need.”