Goldsmith challenges the Government on affordable housing definition

3 February 2016, Blog

Housing is high on the agenda as we enter the final 13 weeks of the mayoral race. Though having had previous involvement with plans put forward in the new Housing Bill, Zac Goldsmith has spoken out against the Government’s legal definition of affordable homes set out in the Bill.

The new legislation widens the definition of affordable housing to include starter homes for first time buyers that are on sale for up to £450,000. The definition currently applies to homes available to rent who can’t afford market rates.

Goldsmith told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the new definition is “not all that helpful”. He went on to say: “Legally an ‘affordable home’ is a 20% discount. But in the real world a 20% discount on a £600,000 home in Primrose Hill is not an affordable house to the vast majority of people.”

His criticism of the Government’s plans is perhaps a signal of him trying to appeal to voters in London who regard affordability of housing as a key issue. He has made his own commitments to alleviate the capital’s housing crisis if he becomes Mayor in May. He told Andrew Marr that his plan is to regenerate the “dilapidated, poorly designed estates from the 1950s and 60s”, on the condition that that is what these communities want.

With Labour’s Sadiq Khan setting out a Londoners’ shared ownership scheme, housing will continue to be a battle area for the capital’s mayoral candidates. 

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