Survey finds 80% of councils reject idea flagship scheme will help those needing affordable housing

Bicester starter home Farrells

Indicative design of a starter home

Over 80% of local councils believe that the government’s flagship starter homes do not qualify as affordable housing, a new survey has revealed.

A survey of 353 councils found that only 7% of those contacted believed the homes - which form a central part of the government’s plans to spur a new generation of home ownership - could be considered affordable and could hinder rather than help tackle the housing crisis in England.

The survey was produced by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) .

It also found that 59% of councils now described their need for affordable homes as severe and that nine out of ten councils expressed concern that the extension of Right to Buy to housing associations would result in less socially-rented homes available.

Speaking about the report Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA said: “Our survey has revealed that four out of five councils do not think starter homes should be classified as affordable housing because they are simply not affordable for essential low-paid workers – whose employment underpins an economy on which we all depend – or for many people on average incomes.”

The Starter Home scheme, which allow developers to replace shared ownership and rented homes with properties sold at a discount, has also been criticised by the Local Government Association (LGA) which found that many of the homes would be unaffordable to many aspiring home-owners.

The LGA research found that even with the 20% discount that the maximum cost of the new homes would be £450,000 in London, and £250,000 outside the capital. However research by the LGA and Savills found the new homes were still too expensive for all those who qualified as in need of affordable housing  in 220 council areas and for a further 90% of people in a further 80 council areas. The research defined people who spend q third of their income to either rent or buy a home.