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Housing: Standards

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to amend her housing strategy following the adoption of the Decent Homes Standard after 2010; and if she will make a statement. (162418)

In July my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing published the housing Green Paper “Homes for the Future: more affordable, more sustainable”, which can be found at

http://wwwcommunities.gov.uk/publications/housing/homesforfuture.

The housing Green Paper committed the Government to delivering 2 million homes by 2016 and 3 million homes by 2020 by raising supply over time towards the 240,000 per year target in 2016.

The growth by 2016 will include 100,000 new homes in 45 towns and cities that make up the 29 new growth points. We have committed ourselves to investing £1.7 billion for infrastructure in the growth areas over the next three years.

During this parliamentary session, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing has brought forward a Housing and Regeneration Bill. The Bill received its Second Reading in the House on 27 November. It will create the new Homes and Communities Agency, which will deliver more social and affordable housing, promote regeneration and facilitate the establishment of sustainable communities. The Agency will work with local authorities, housing associations and private developers to provide the housing and related infrastructure required. The Bill will also establish a new social housing regulator—the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords—which will drive up the quality of social housing provision by setting standards for housing associations, backed up by new intervention powers to secure improvements where landlords are failing.

We are also providing at least £8 billion over the next three years to invest in affordable housing—initially through the Housing Corporation and then through the new Homes and Communities Agency. This new investment, which is an increase of 50 per cent. compared to the previous three years, will help to deliver 70,000 affordable homes a year by 2010-11, of which 45,000 will be for social rent. The Housing and Regeneration Bill will also make changes to the housing revenue account subsidy system to enable local authorities to keep rental income from new homes to incentivise them to build where it is shown to provide value for money.

Owing to the positive response from local authorities and developers following the Green Paper we have increased the number of ecotowns schemes to be provided by 2020 from five to 10. The entire community will be designed to reach zero carbon standards.

We have also announced around £l billion for Housing Market Renewal pathfinder areas. The investment is aimed to continue to help develop practical solutions to address housing market weakness and tackle high vacancy rates, high population turnover, low demand for social rented housing and low sales value.

The Housing Green Paper reaffirmed the Government's commitment to ensuring both councils and housing associations maintain their focus on improving the quality of their existing accommodation and delivering decent homes. We also committed ourselves to at least £2 billion investment in the Arm’s Length Management Organisation programme over the next spending period 2008-09 to 2010-11.

We are also making some £10.2 billion available over the years 2008-11 through the regional housing pot. This is a very significant increase on the funding for the previous three years, which totalled some £7.8 billion. The funding will underpin our commitment to decent homes and to increasing the supply of affordable housing.