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Housing: Low Incomes

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment she has made of the ability of key workers in London to buy property in London. (155609)

We do not hold data on the ability of key workers to buy property in London. Any such assessment would be for key worker employers to carry out.

We are doing all we can to help people on modest incomes into housing. Since 2004 we have helped just over 16,000 key workers into a home through the key worker living programme.

Key worker living is one element of the Government's HomeBuy scheme which will expand the opportunity for home ownership to over a 120,000 households by 2010. We expect 30,000 of those helped through HomeBuy to be key workers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to introduce the Key Worker Living Programme (a) in Weston-Super-Mare and (b) elsewhere in the South West. (155915)

The Key Worker Living programme is focused on helping key workers in London, the East and the South East of England regions as areas with the greatest recruitment and retention issues.

The Government provide each of the nine English regions with funding for affordable housing and asks the regional housing assemblies (previously the regional housing boards) to recommend how the money should be invested based on regional and local housing priorities. All the assemblies were asked whether they wished to recommend allocating a percentage of their resources to help key workers and only London, the East and South East have done so for the 2006-08 funding period. The South West regional housing board recommended that key public sector workers providing essential public services should be one of the priority groups for low cost home ownership assistance through the 2006-07 to 2007-08 National Affordable Housing Programme.

From April 2006, key workers have become eligible for all Government funded low cost home ownership schemes alongside social tenants, those on the housing register and priority first-time buyers recommended by regional housing boards around the country. In addition, 50 per cent. of homes provided through the First Time Buyers Initiative, being delivered by English Partnerships, which includes areas outside the South East are also available for key workers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what further steps she plans to take to increase the supply of affordable shared equity and rented family homes in (a) Warrington and (b) other housing hot spots in the North West. (158419)

The Housing Green Paper recently announced a 50 per cent. increase in Government investment in affordable homes; at least £8 billion will be spent over the next three years.

In addition the Government committed to deliver at least 25,000 new shared ownership and shared equity homes nationally each year, by 2010-11.

The Government Office for the North West is working with regional partners and stakeholders to develop proposals for a regional equity loans product. Although in its early stages, this demonstrates a commitment to tackle affordability issues in the region.

Furthermore, all housing providers have the opportunity to bid in the Housing Corporation's current investment round for affordable housing. Warrington has the opportunity to bid for Housing Growth Point status, with any bid needing lo demonstrate how affordability will be addressed.