Government drops two flagship housing policies

New plans do not include references to Starter Homes or an extension of the Right to Buy.

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The new ‘single departmental plan’ published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) only states a promise to “increase home ownership through schemes including Help to Buy”.

Furthermore, a specific commitment to ‘increasing home ownership’ has been absorbed into the broader aim of fixing ‘the broken housing market’.

A promise of 200,000 Starter Homes has yet to see a single one built, with officials admitting the policy remained an ‘ambition’.

The previous iteration of the departmental plan included a clear commitment to the policy. It said: ‘We are delivering a major boost to affordable home ownership with Starter Homes and extending Right to Buy to housing association tenants’.

It reiterated a pledge to build 200,000 Starter Homes, including 30,000 on brownfield land – former industrial sites earmarked for development.

References to the planned extension of Right to Buy to 1.3 million housing association tenants have also been quietly dropped from the latest document.

Whereas the 2016 document promised to ‘implement a voluntary agreement with housing associations and the National Housing Federation that will extend Right to Buy level discounts to 1.3 million housing association tenants, giving them the opportunity to buy their own home’, the latest version includes no mention at all of the controversial Right to Buy scheme.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the new strategy document was a ‘high-level summary’ and did not reflect a change in policy.

A DCLG spokesperson said: “This single departmental plan is not an exhaustive list of all of the department’s policies. This is a high-level summary of our priorities and overall aims for the government.”

The latest plan was published as ministers said the implementation of a third major Tory housing policy is to be be pushed back until 2019 at the earliest.

A government spokesperson said ministers were “considering” how to implement the policy.

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