David Cameron's pledge to 'turn generation rent into generation buy' criticised

David Cameron's pledge to 'turn generation rent into generation buy' has come under criticism from a leading housing charity after it was announced during the closing speech of the Conservative Party conference today.

The pledge saw the prime minister promise to launch a housing "crusade" and build 200,000 affordable new homes by 2020 by overhauling planning laws on affordable housing to include low-cost "starter homes".

But the chief executive of housing charity Shelter has said so-called starter homes "will be unaffordable for families on average wages in 58% of the country in 2020."

Here's more details of Mr Cameron's "dramatic shift" in housing policy.

  • What's Mr Cameron proposing?

David Cameron will outline his plans for a house-building drive. Credit: PA Wire

Currently councils may stipulate that a certain proportion of properties in any development are affordable homes for rent.

Mr Cameron believes this rental-only requirement is blocking the construction of new homes because developers are reluctant to invest in properties which will take many years to turn a profit.

So he wants to relax the rules so developers will no longer be required to build affordable homes for rent.

Instead they will be able to build low-cost homes for sale.

  • What is the Starter Homes scheme?

The Government's Starter Homes scheme was announced earlier this year. Credit: PA Wire

The Starter Homes scheme - first announced in the run-up to May's general election - requires properties to be offered for sale at a discount of 20% below market rates.

The discount will apply to homes worth up to £450,000 in London and £250,000 outside the capital.

Purchasers must be first-time buyers aged under 40 and may not sell or rent out the property for the following five years.

The Tories believe this scheme will provide 200,000 new homes by 2020.

  • Wait, do Brits actually want to own their own home?

The majority of Brits would rather purchase a home than rent, according to one survey. Credit: PA Wire

The Tories think so.

The party cites a survey which suggests 86% of Brits would prefer to buy than rent.

But a fifth apparently say the high cost of housing is a barrier.

Government officials say there is a "massive untapped" demand for low-cost homes to buy, which they say the market is prevented from providing because of "rigid" state rules.

  • Here's what the PM said on the issue...

David Cameron pictured at the Tory conference. Credit: PA Wire
  • What have critics said?

Leading housing charity Shelter has says the porposed starter homes will be "unaffordable for families on average wages" across more than half of the country.

Referring to research it published earlier this year Shelter said:

Labour's Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning John Healey also questioned whether the Tory pledge would actually benefit the majority of the public.

Dan Wilson Craw, policy manager at pressure group Generation Rent, said "starter homes" will do nothing for renters "who are really struggling".

  • And what's all this talk of 'legacy'?

Cameron with one of the favourites to replace him as leader, George Osborne. Credit: PA Wire

The conference has been dominated by speculation over the identity of Mr Cameron's successor, with senior Tories including George Osborne, Boris Johnson and Theresa May jockeying for position in the looming race.

The prime minister is expected to confirm his intention to stand down at the end of his second term after 10 years in Downing Street.

He will vow to make the 2010s a "turnaround decade" for the country.