The Government is currently spending the majority of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) funding on homes that are nothing of the kind. 76% of the homes provided through the new ‘Affordable’ Homes Programme will be homes that cannot be reasonably described as affordable – such as so-called “affordable” home ownership tenures or “affordable rents”, which can be up to 80% of market rent.
First homes are a specific kind of discounted market sale housing and should be considered to meet the definition of ‘affordable housing’ for planning purposes. However, despite giving first-time buyers a 30% discount on the market price, they are unaffordable to the average earner in most of the country, and only the richest 28% of private renters earn enough to access the Government’s new first homes scheme.
I used the first oral questions session for the new Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) – an expensive rebrand of the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) – to highlight this and call for new homes that will actually be affordable for people on low incomes to buy.