TORY claims of the government’s biggest housing programme in a generation were blown apart yesterday by the its own figures showing a steep fall in building.
According to the latest Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) house-building data, there has been a 20 per cent drop in new builds over the last quarter.
Last November, Chancellor George Osborne promised £7 billion to housebuilding programme during his Autumn Statement and claimed: “We are the builders.”
The Conservatives also promised at the general election to build a million homes by 2020. But experts believed the new statistics to be worrying as the annual number of starter homes actually only rose by 1 per cent in 2015.
Commenting on the figures, homelessness charity Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Our drastic shortage of homes has pushed millions of people into expensive and unstable private renting, shelling out vast amounts of their income on rent and watching the dream of a home of their own slip further out of reach.
“After six years and a Housing Bill that does little to tackle the underlying cause of our housing crisis, the government needs to get on the side of people on typical incomes.
“Rather than schemes like starter homes which only help higher earners, it’s time the government commits to building homes for ordinary people.”
The report also showed that a mere 139,690 new homes were finished in the last 12 months — barely more than half of the 250,000 needed to address England’s homes shortage.
But DCLG believed the new figures could not be taken literally as there had been changes to the building programmes.
A spokesman said: “New home completions have risen 12 per cent in the last year, and are now at their highest level in seven years.”
However, shadow secretary of state for housing John Healey MP told the Star the figures were “deeply disappointing.”
He said: “Ultimately what matters to hard-pressed families is how expensive housing costs have become and this continued failure to build the number of homes the country needs will make the housing pressures people face even worse.
“The short-sighted housing plans are failing young people and families on ordinary incomes by choking off thousands of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy at a time when they’ve never been needed more.”