A plan to pump taxpayers’ cash into Starter Homes has been slammed as “nothing but a disaster for Londoners” by Tower Hamlets’ mayor.
John Biggs attacked Prime Minister David Cameron’s policy following its announcement at the Conservative Party conference during which the Tory leader said his party’s focus would shift from Generation Rent to Generation Buy.
The scheme combines an accelerated drive to build new homes with proprieties then released onto the market at cut-price rates for first-time buyers.
However Labour’s Mr Biggs said ministers were not taking the housing crisis seriously and the policy would fail to deliver the necessary boost to London’s homes.
He said: “Look at the detail and it’s clear the new Starter Homes are nothing of the sort.
“The homes will be built by private builders and sold at 80% of market prices.
“In London that means up to £450,000 each. How almost half a million is meant to be affordable to most Londoners is beyond explanation.”
He said the scheme did nothing for those on low incomes.
Housing charity Shelter said Starter Homes would be unaffordable for a couple on an average income in both Newham and Tower Hamlets.
It also found properties would be out of access to all single buyers aside from the top 10% of earners in each borough.
Shelter said buying a Starter Home required an income of £76,957 in London – well above the average wage.
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb told City AM: “Our research has shown Starter Homes will too often only be affordable for higher earners, not the millions of people working hard for an average wage who will be left stuck in expensive private renting.”
Mr Biggs said: “Starter Homes which are unaffordable to the vast majority of the population are no replacement for genuinely affordable housing.
“That means properly funding Housing Associations to build social and Shared Ownership homes and removing the arbitrary cap on council investment in new homes.”
With a war of words erupting over affordable housing, Mayor of London Boris Johnson revealed 52,000 Londoners had been helped into his low deposit, Shared Ownership homes though the First Steps scheme.
Targeted at those on low and medium incomes in the capital, it aims to assist buyers with purchasing a home in particular zones.
These cost less than buying in the same neighbourhood, on the open market with deposits starting at £5,000.
The past two housing zones offered up 53,000 new properties and 10 further areas will be developed before his Mayoral term ends.
Mayor Johnson said: “I am determined to help even more achieve their dream of owning their own home.
“The next wave of new housing will be kick-started by my 20 housing zones, which are set to deliver over 50,000 mixed tenure homes at a fast pace.
“The zones are regenerating huge areas of the city and that’s why I am determined to create a further 10.”