A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has been released showing that of the 200,000 new starter homes pledged to be built by the end of the decade by David Cameron’s Tory/Lib-Dem government in 2014, with two months of that decade to go the total number built so far is precisely zero. These new houses were intended for first time buyers under the age of 40, to be purchased at 20% below market value. The promise was repeated in the 2015 election manifesto, although it had mysteriously vanished from Theresa May’s manifesto two years later.
As Boris Johnson’s new government makes enticing pledges to the electorate to tempt them into supporting his party in the General Election, this is a fact worth remembering. That a Tory promise and a Tory reality are seldom the same thing. The NAO also stated that £2bn was put aside for the project, and £174m spent acquiring land, but the necessary legislation was never passed and the money has since been spent elsewhere while the land was used for more general housing, little of which is affordable.
Labour’s York Outer candidate Anna Perrett said: “People in York will not be surprised to hear that the Tories have failed to deliver on their promise. Our city is the most expensive place to buy a home in the North of England, and there is not a single area in York where homes are classed as affordable for first-time buyers.
York is a desirable place to live, and our vibrant heritage and culture will always attract residents to move here from outside our city putting additional pressure on our housing market. Only Labour is committing to the real change we need to deliver an increase in sustainable and truly affordable houses that give people born and raised here a chance to buy their first home in their city and remain close to family, friends and the community they are a part of.”
York has been named as the most expensive city for home buyers in the North by a report from Lloyds Bank, based on the average cost of a house compared to the average wage. Houses in York are said to cost 8 times the average earnings of residents. Meanwhile a Post Office Money report based on data from the Office for National Statistics has shown that York is one of only 8 cities in the UK, and the only one in the North, to have a zero percent rating for affordability of homes for first time buyers.
Councillor Michael Pavlovic, York Labour’s spokesperson on housing, said: “This is further evidence that the Tories can’t be trusted. Not with a manifesto commitment. Not with supporting those who need affordable housing. Not with spending money wisely. £174m spent and no starter homes delivered. Only a Labour Government will deliver an affordable housing revolution.”
Meanwhile, writing on Facebook, York Central MP Rachael Maskell commented on the story saying: “A decade of Tory/Lib Dem policy sees more and more struggling to get on the housing ladder and a homelessness crisis their policies have failed to address. Labour will bring about real change building the homes we need to rent and buy.”