Barwell admits Tories have broken promise on starter homes

BARRATT HOLMES, our housing correspondent, reports on a manifesto commitment which the government’s Nimby housing minister now says won’t be kept

About as popular as Nicola Sturgeon: Has Theresa May realised that she has made an error making Gavin Barwell minister for anything?

Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell, in his role as the housing minister, has confirmed that the Tory government has already broken one of its manifesto pledges from 2015, with not a single one of the 200,000 “starter homes” promised by the Conservatives two years ago having been built, and with the commitment quickly proving to be another empty promise.

In the brief time that he has been a minister in unelected Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, Barwell has already presided over a delayed and underwhelming housing White Paper, “Fixing Our Broken Housing Market”, which even senior officials in his own Department for Communities and Local Government are publicly admitting won’t fix anything.

Barwell has also been caught out trying to mislead on national television over homelessness statistics which have risen every year since he was first elected to Westminster in 2010.

And now, according to a report in the latest Private Eye, Barwell is the Nimby presiding over the housing portfolio when owner-occupation has fallen to 62.9 per cent, the lowest since 1985, and the proportion of more recent home-owners (those buying with a mortgage) has fallen below 30 per cent for the first time since 1981 – so much for the Thatcherite wet dream of a “home-owning democracy”.

The promise to provide the 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers under the age of 40 was repeated no fewer than five times in the Conservatives’ 2015 election manifesto. Barwell’s Tories said that they would “build 200,000 new Starter Homes – 20 per cent below the market price, for first time buyers under 40”.

One in the Eye: already notorious in Croydon, Barwell’s now making it into Private Eye on a frequent basis

They also said that they would: “Build more homes that people can afford, including 200,000 new Starter Homes exclusively for first-time buyers under 40.”

The manifesto clearly states the 200,000 figure is just for starter homes, and promised a further 275,000 additional affordable homes by 2020 on top of that figure.

It went on to say that the 200,000 figure was a “clear objective” and was at the “heart” of the party’s housing plan.

So it might be true after all: Tories are heart-less.

Conservative commitments: this was the 2015 Tory manifesto which helped get Barwell re-elected

Because this week Barwell started back-pedalling faster than a Tour de France peloton after sighting the approaching drug testers when he said that the discounted starter homes will only make up “part” of the 200,000 figure.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question from Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister John Healey, Barwell said: “Starter homes will form an important part of our programmes to help over 200,000 people become home owners by the end of the Parliament.

“The number delivered will depend on what local authorities consider most appropriate to respond to housing need in their area.”

Healey told the Daily Mirror, “In their 2015 manifesto the Conservatives made a clear commitment to build 200,000 ‘starter homes’ for first-time buyers by 2020, but two years on not a single one has been built, and now the housing minister has confirmed to me that the pledge has been dropped.”

  • Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell, Housing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Barwell admits Tories have broken promise on starter homes

  1. Says Gavin Barwell: “The number delivered will depend on what local authorities consider most appropriate to respond to housing need in their area.”
    Says Stanley Unwin: “Since the clockloders slippit an hourloder, with darklymost mordies and sunbole plummety from the firmamel at a ridiculopper tile in the afterlubrius, the thorkust turns to winter. Oh yes.”

    The quotes are totally interchangeable.

    Both are almost celestial gobbleygook.

    Both are typical of their authors.

  2. derekthrower says:

    Well Gav does have form on creative accounting with his electoral expenses claims over the last few years, but the problems of making promises just for the next five minutes are now starting to create a log jam of reality for him. His record is starting to contradict every utterance he can manage and revealing him as a very lightweight operator who does not have any credibility.

  3. veeanne2015 says:

    As selling and buying homes is an expensive business, it will cost Housing Associations far more to replace the homes they are being forced to sell than they will get for them – result FEWER affordable homes available !
    Had the Government given all the money for right-to-buy discount for those already in affordable homes, and the free deposit interest subsidy to many more, to reputable Housing Associations instead to acquire property on a RENT/BUY policy, this would have provided both more affordable homes AND more people on the property ladder.

    With Westfield plans to close the whole of Whitgift for years, putting thousands out of work, unable to pay their mortgages, many will lose their homes through re-possession.
    Government policy of continually cutting Council income resulting in more unemployment has the same effect.
    What, I wonder, is Gavin’s comment on these disastrous policies ?

Leave a Reply