The government has announced a number of housing measures in recent years that have attracted headlines. However, a number of them have now been dropped. Here is a sample of some of the changes that have now been abandoned (Board members are invited to laugh and cry in despair in equal measure):
- Plans to ‘phase out’ lifetime tenancies in social housing were announced in December 2015. Originally the plan was to create new rolling tenancies of five-year fixed terms for new tenants and those who inherited a tenancy, but this was upped to 10 years due to opposition in the House of Lords. This policy was another which passed into law in the Housing and Planning Act but was never brought into force and were formally dropped in August 2018.
- Housing benefit for young people was announced 2012 and finally introduced in 2017, with a vast and complex list of exemptions, the policy was supposed to protect the most vulnerable. Inside Housing showed 11,000 young people would be affected. The government said it planned to scrap the policy in March but has yet to changing the regulations to do so.
- The plan to build 200,000 Starter Homes (to be sold at 80% of market value) instead of more traditional affordable housing was a headline pledge of the government’s manifesto in 2015. After two years of near universal criticism of the proposal from housing associations, councils, lenders, valuers, builders and tenants groups, the government axed its target of 200,000 and the proposal that all developments should include 20% Starter Homes in the Housing White Paper. The money which would have gone to Starter Homes has now been redirected to social rent and not a single Starter Home has been built.
- In George Osborne’s first Spending Review after winning the 2015 election, he announced several housing policies, including plans to make social housing tenants with a household income of more than £30,000 a year nationally and £40,000 a year in London pay full market rents. This policy came in for wide criticism, with warnings that it would drive middle earners out of high-value areas, would be a huge administrative burden to manage and would be a perverse incentive against getting a better-paid job. After a lengthy battle it was toned down in the Housing and Planning Act, but passed into law. However, it was axed in November 2016 without ever being introduced.
- Extending the Right to Buy to housing associations has long been government policy and was a prominent commitment in the 2015 Conservative manifesto. The funding mechanism for this policy has been abandoned and it seems highly unlikely that there will ever be a full-scale roll-out of the extension.
- And finally on the Right to Buy, the long-term commitment of government to replace on a one-for-one basis any additional homes sold under increased discounts (something that has proven to be a hollow promise, has not been abandoned.
(Some of above text has been derived from Inside Housing)