Government's Starter Homes policy 'has failed to deliver a single home'

Reports that a government programme to build 60,000 discounted Starter Homes for first-time buyers 'has not delivered a single one, four years after it was launched with a £2.3 billion commitment' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription) reports that an investigation by Parliamentary spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) "found that the government had failed to follow through after the Starter Home scheme was launched in 2015 to help to hit its target of 300,000 net additional homes a year." The paper says that the failure is because government priorities later "shifted", the NAO said, and it was "rolled into other housing schemes". It adds that the NAO also found that because secondary legislation to enact the policy "has yet to go through, even properties that meet the specifications cannot qualify". The Guardian covers the NAO report here.

The Financial Times (subscription) says that, as Parliament goes into recess on Wednesday, the law to enact the starter homes policy, "will not be passed ahead of the December 12 general election, making it a potential target for opposition criticism of the Conservative party’s housing record".

The Guardian reports that shale gas company Cuadrilla is "hoping to overturn a government moratorium on fracking by proving that it can be safe despite triggering earthquakes". The paper says that "Cuadrilla has said it would provide the oil and gas regulator with new data to address the concerns of communities near active fracking sites so the suspension of its operations can be lifted".

A leader column in the FT says the government’s "halt to UK fracking is a step to a greener future". It says: "The moratorium may not technically be the end of fracking. Future technological advances may make it possible to predict the intensity of tremors. Carbon capture technology may also become sufficiently advanced to counteract the effects of burning gas. Until then, it is incumbent on whichever government comes to power to support solutions that are both safer and cleaner. There are no good reasons to delay any further."

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