David Cameron has said he "very much hopes" people on the national living wage will be able to afford one of his new "starter homes".
The prime minister vowed in the Conservative election manifesto to build 200,000 cut-price houses for first-time buyers, but during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, he came under sustained attack from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said the vast majority of people won't be able to afford the homes.
"[Cameron's] manifesto said that everyone who works hard should be able to own a home of their own, so will families earning his so-called national living wage be able to afford one of his discount starter homes?" asked Corbyn.
"I very much hope they will," replied Cameron, to jeering from the Labour benches. "When I became prime minister, a young person trying to buy a home had to have £30,000 for a deposit on a typical home.
"Because of the schemes we've introduced that is now down to £10,000. I want people to own their own homes, so let's consider this issue: We are saying to the 1.3 million tenants of housing associations, 'We're on your side, you can buy your own home.' Why does he still oppose that?"
Corbyn then cited a report from the housing charity Shelter, which found that 98% of people earning the national living wage – which will initially be set at £7.20 an hour but rise to £9 by 2020 – will be unable to afford the starter homes.
The report from last August read: "Because house prices are now so wildly out of kilter with normal earnings and becoming more so each passing month – even with a discount and a deposit, the mortgage is too big to afford."
Corbyn told the prime minister that, based on the research, only 2% will be able to afford the starter homes. "I hope this word 'hope' goes a long way," he said.
"Instead of building more affordable homes, isn't the prime minster branding more homes as affordable, which is not a solution to the housing crisis?"
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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