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Social Housing

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

5. What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on measures which could be taken by the UK Government to increase funding available for social housing in Wales. (140338)

I have regular discussions on a range of issues, including housing. I welcome the extra £1 billion for Wales that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor provided in his Budget, which covers, of course, every public service.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that council housing must be part of the social housing mix? Will he assure me that he and the Government will respond positively to the message coming from council house tenants such as those in Swansea who say that they wish to stick with the local authority as their landlord and want proper investment in council housing?

I am strongly sympathetic to the point of view that my hon. Friend argues. Indeed, the Welsh Labour manifesto pledged to invest £450 million in new social and affordable housing, thus bringing about 6,500 additional homes. It is important that we make housing a real priority, including that of councils and housing associations, because there is a real need for more affordable homes to rent in Wales and right throughout Britain.

If there is a fourth option for social housing, does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to make it realistic, rather than the vague possibility that it is at present?

Yes. Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has recently signalled exciting new initiatives to take forward extra house building because that is one of the priorities for our next term in government.