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Affordable Housing

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he will take to enforce Regional Planning Guidance targets for affordable housing provision in the south-west. [126338]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty), Official Report, column 1152W, on 13 June 2003, to a similar question, which made it clear that targets for affordable housing are set out in local development plans based on local assessments housing needs surveys undertaken by local planning authorities. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will continue fully to support policies and proposals by local authorities that are soundly based on such assessments. This process will also be aided by the more strategic and coherent approach to housing issues provided by the new South West Regional Housing Board established in February by the Deputy Prime Minister.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he will take to assist key workers in the south-west to meet their housing needs at a reasonable price. [126339]

As at 30 June 2003, more than 160 key workers in the south-west region had been helped to purchase their own homes under the Starter Home Initiative. From 2004–05, funding for the provision of key worker housing will be integrated into the Housing Corporation's main affordable housing programme. Funding for new key worker housing schemes in the south-west will be informed by advice from the South West Regional Housing Board.On 29 May the South West Regional Housing Body published a draft document setting out priorities for public sector housing investment in the south-west region. It contained a proposal to allocate funding for key worker housing in the region as part of its overall housing strategy. Ministers will be considering this together with other regional housing strategies that are due to be submitted this month.