Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Cheltenham Max Wilkinson has slammed the government’s “shambolic” failure to deliver on a promise to build 200,000 homes for first-time buyers.
The National Audit Office has today revealed that the Conservative plan for “starter homes” announced in 2014 had been scrapped after legislation to take the project forward was never passed.
The homes were meant to be aimed at those under the age of 40 and sold at a 20% discount.
Max, who has spearheaded a £100million scheme to build 500 affordable homes for young people and families in Cheltenham, described the Tories’ failure as a “kick in the teeth for everyone who dreams of getting on the housing ladder”.
He said: “The Conservatives made a promise at the 2015 general election to build these affordable homes and they have shown that they simply cannot be trusted to deliver on what they say.
"They have let down 200,000 young people and families who could have had the security of a roof over their heads which they own.
“The housing crisis is worsening. Under the Conservatives, nowhere near enough houses are being built. Costs have continued to spiral, putting home ownership further and further out of reach for young people.
"Every one of us has friends, children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews struggling with today's housing market. Opportunities previous generations had just don’t exist today.
“Too many young people have no hope of ever owning their own home, and too many families don’t get the chance they need.
“This kind of shambolic approach to housing is why we need local areas to take a positive approach to building affordable new homes for young people and families.
“As Cheltenham's MP, I will demand better than this. I’ve already secured £100m to be spent on affordable homes in Cheltenham, and I’m only getting started.”
Last October, Cheltenham Borough Council approved a £100m plan to invest in around 500 affordable homes for young people and families in the town.
The initiative was kickstarted by a motion to the council in 2017 from Max, a Lib Dem councillor for Oakley ward, calling on the authority to tackle unaffordable housing in Cheltenham.
Max has made raising the housing plight of young people and families a key part of his local campaigns to ensure Cheltenham remains a vibrant and competitive place into the future.
Businesses in the town have raised concerns that attracting and retaining younger staff is becoming a challenge due to housing costs and insecurity.
The £100m will be invested in homes to rent affordably on secure long-term contracts, which will help younger people who struggle with high rents and insecure accommodation.
There is also potential for some of the properties to be available on a shared ownership model for those who want to take up a more affordable mortgage.