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Home Ownership Taskforce

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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The Home Ownership taskforce, which I announced to the House on 5 February, will meet for the first time today, chaired by the right hon. the Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde. It will consider schemes currently available to potential homeowners on low or modest incomes and identify the most effective ways of promoting home ownership.The terms of reference for the Task Force are as follows:

Sustainable Communities: building for the future marks a step change in housing. Resources have been increased substantially to deliver sustainable communities but more needs to be done to help tenants and those on waiting lists to move into home ownership, without the loss of social housing. New ideas and a new approach is vital in helping people on low or modest incomes into home ownership.
The taskforce is to examine the routes and methods by which those in housing need can be helped to meet their home ownership aspirations in a way that ensures the sustainability of that ownership and is cost effective. It will examine who is being helped through current initiatives, to what extent these initiatives free up social tenancies for other occupants, and the scope for better targeting and design. It will also take account of the work being undertaken by Government Departments and others to review issues in relation to existing homeowners.
The taskforce will develop a more rational and straightforward suite of programmes to allow social tenants and those on waiting lists to purchase either their own home or another home, whilst recognising the many different circumstances of aspiring homeowners.
The taskforce will build on 'Evaluation of the low cost home ownership programme' and other recent ODPM research, consider a wide range of innovative funding proposals and take into account proposals on single tenure, commonhold, flexible tenure, equity shares and new forms of public and private low cost home ownership schemes.
Throughout its work the taskforce will take into account the difficulties faced by traditionally disadvantaged groups such as disabled people, and BME communities, in accessing home ownership and look at the different problems faced by people wishing to access home ownership in areas of low demand and the growth areas.
The existing programmes that will be considered are:
  • Right to Buy
  • Rent to Mortgage
  • Right to Acquire
  • Cash Incentive Scheme
  • Voluntary Purchase Grant
  • Shared Ownership
  • Do-it-yourself Shared Ownership
  • Homebuy
  • Self Build
The taskforce will report with recommendations on how the above home ownership objectives can be most effectively delivered.'

The Home Ownership task force is due to report in the Autumn.

We are also publishing today the report, "Equity Shares for Social Housing". in fulfilment of our 2001 manifesto commitment to consider equity shares. Equity shares are one way to deliver our objectives to promote home ownership, increase asset ownership, and improve the image of social housing. The report concludes that the costs of introducing equity shares are likely to be substantial, while the scale of benefits is highly uncertain. We will continue to keep this issue under review.