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MP and Housing Secretary agree to work together to bring new affordable homes scheme to the South Lakes

May 18, 2021 6:41 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick offered to work with local MP Tim Farron to bring a new Government affordable housing scheme to the South Lakes.

The First Homes programme is designed to see homes provided for who people want to stay in the place where they live or work but are struggling to afford a home at market prices, with priority given to first-time buyers and key workers such as NHS staff.

The scheme will see homes sold with a discount of at least 30 percent, with that discount passed on to future buyers when First Homes are resold so more people can be helped onto the housing ladder.

It comes after Tim raised the negative effects of excessive second home ownership on towns and villages in the South Lakes in Parliament.

Speaking during a debate on the Queen's Speech, Tim said: "In the last 12 months, 80% of house sales in Cumbria have been to the second home market - people who have already got a house and who are therefore depriving, in numbers, those communities that they've bought a home in of a full-time resident population.

"Does the minister understand the damage that does to communities such as the Lakes and the Dales?

"What will he do to make sure the houses he builds actually end up in the hands of people who will live in them?"

In response, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "He makes an important point - I will say two things to him.

"Firstly my Right Honourable Friend the Chancellor and his predecessors have brought forward tax changes so that there are further costs involved in purchasing second homes or for international buyers to enter the market. That money helps to fund our Affordable Homes programme.

"Secondly I hope that he will become an enthusiastic advocate of First Homes - because not merely does it provide homes for first-time buyers and keyworkers but it does so for people from their local area.

"So his constituents will benefit from those homes and then they will be locked for perpetuity to first-time buyers and key workers from his area.

"If he wishes to work with me on that then I'd be delighted to ensure that some are brought forward as quickly as possible in his constituency."

Speaking later on in the debate, Tim said: "I will take him up on his offer.

"In the South Lakes we will offer to be a pilot for First Homes on the understanding that it is not a replacement for the existing provision of affordable homes through the planning system."