Lies or incompetence?

In December 2020 the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published an investigation into Govt’s delivery of Starter Homes. It’s difficult to imagine a more damning report and one that points to the Ministry of Housing (MHCLG) being little more than a propaganda factory.

The Committee condemns as deplorable the “cycle of policy invention, abandonment and reinvention, stringing expectant young people along for years”and “wasting time and resources” on housing policies that “come to nothing as ministers come and go with alarming frequency.”

 The PAC has reported on housing delivery since 2015 and not one of the promised housing programmes has delivered its objectives. The idea of starter homes has now been abandoned and replaced by ‘First Homes’ but says the PAC, it’s reliance on developer contributions is part of an opaque, complex mechanism which risks less money being available to local authorities for affordable housing and infrastructure.

Chair of the Committee, Meg Hillier MP, says: “The Department for Housing is at risk of losing the right to the title. It has serially, constantly failed to deliver affordable new homes or even make a serious attempt to execute its own housing policies or achieve targets before they are ditched, unannounced – costs sunk and outcomes unknown.

“MHCLG needs to ditch the false promises and instead set out clear, staged, funded plans, backed by the necessary laws and with a realistic prospect of delivering. It also needs to ditch what is becoming a hallmark lack of transparency, if it is to have any hope of rebuilding confidence among future tenants and owners that the decent, safe, affordable homes they want and need will ever be built.”

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