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Housing: Low Incomes

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans her Department has for provision of affordable housing in (a) Enfield and (b) Greater London; (196795)

(2) what steps her Department is taking to help first-time buyers access affordable housing in the London Borough of Enfield.

The London Plan, the Spatial Development Strategy for London, sets a target of 30,500 net additional homes per year up to 2016-17, which includes 395 for the London borough of Enfield. Of these additional homes, 50 per cent. London-wide should be affordable. As the London borough of Enfield's Unitary Development Plan affordable housing policy was not saved under the new planning system introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the London Plan 50 per cent. affordable housing target is the default target in the borough.

Of the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme 2008-11 budget of £8.4 billion, £3.3 billion will be spent in London. Initial national allocations for new schemes of £3.3 billion were announced in February, of these London received total allocations of £603 million of which around £86 million is for low cost home ownership. Of this Enfield will benefit from over 6m of investment in affordable housing. Rather than allocating all their resources at the start of the programme, the Corporation will be returning to the market at regular intervals to seek further bids for funding affordable housing.

We are improving affordability for purchasers accessing the Government's HomeBuy schemes. From April this year two new equity loan products will be available through the Government's Open Market HomeBuy option. The loans provide first time buyers with more flexibility around the percentage of the value of their home which can be borrowed—up to a maximum of 50 per cent.—and more choice in the mortgage they can take out.

In addition, in the Housing Corporation's 2008-11 Affordable Housing Programme we are improving affordability for purchasers of our New Build HomeBuy/shared ownership scheme through smaller shares and lower rents in the Housing Corporation's 2008-11 Affordable Housing programme.