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Definition of affordable

September 1, 2021 5:09 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

keyOur eye was caught by an article in The Independent newspaper (Bulk of government's 'affordable homes programme' will be for buyers, not renters | The Independent) about the government's £8.6bn "affordable homes programme"

In an announcement by housing secretary Robert Jenrick it appears that most of the programme will be focused on helping homebuyers rather than renters. Out of the 119,000 new homes being built, 57,000 will be for ownership, and just 29,600 will be for social rent. Meanwhile, 6,250 are set to be rural affordable homes.

Now we don't know what your definition of affordable is but the scheme allows "affordable" shared ownership properties to be available to people earning as much as £90,000 in London, whilst outside it is open to people on a £80,000 salary. Once again the reality is different from the headlines. If our young people are to get on the housing ladder "affordable" must mean just that. If you are earning £80000 you can take care of yourself. What is required is more housing at reasonable rents.

Lib Dem Spokesperson for Housing Tim Farron said: "With social housing waiting lists now over 500,000, this is too little, too late. The Government should be making delivering social housing the main priority, not an afterthought. "This announcement once again completely overlooks rural communities which are being turned into ghost towns because of excessive second home ownership. From Cornwall to Cumbria, the Government has well and truly turned their back on our rural towns and villages."

If one were being cynical one might think that the focus on houses for sale is linked to the fact that those who own their own house are much more likely to vote Conservative than those who rent!