Labour MPs seek to curtail bill's Starter Homes provisions

Labour MPs have tabled a series of amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill in an attempt to limit the scope of the bill's Starter Homes provisions.

Houses of Parliament: bill is at committee stage (picture by William Warby, Flickr)
Houses of Parliament: bill is at committee stage (picture by William Warby, Flickr)

The Housing and Planning Bill, currently at the committee stage, includes provisions intended to help the government achieve its aim of delivering 200,000 Starter Homes - sold at 20 per cent below the market price to first-time buyers under the age of 40 - by 2020.

Provisions in the bill would place a duty on councils to promote the supply of Starter Homes "when carrying out relevant planning functions". The bill also includes a clause that would enable the secretary of state, through regulations, to require all applications for residential development above a certain size to include a planning obligation securing a certain proportion of Starter Homes.

A series of amendments to the bill have been tabled by a group of four Labour MPs: Roberta Blackman-Woods, John Healey, Teresa Pearce and Matthew Pennycock.

One of the MPs’ amendments seeks to enable local authorities to be able to ask for planning gain measures that provide for a range of affordable homes other than Starter Homes.

Other amendments tabled by the Labour MPs seek to ensure that Starter Homes are affordable to the average buyer in the area, while another would limit Starter Homes to exception sites, as previously announced by the government.

Further amendments tabled by the MPs would ensure that a proportion of Starter Homes are given to local people, while another would require the reduction of 20 per cent below market value for Starter Homes to remain in perpetuity.

Meanwhile, a separate amendment, also tabled by the MPs, would remove sites from the Starter Homes requirement where other types of affordable housing have already been planned for.

An amendment to the bill, tabled last week by a group of Tory MPs including Zac Goldsmith, Boris Johnson, Nick Hurd and Mark Prisk, would impose a duty on the secretary of state, the mayor of London and London housing authorities to achieve the provision of at least two new units of affordable housing for the disposal of each unit of high value housing within the Greater London area.

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