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Social Rented Housing

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps she has taken to support financially-sound small and medium-sized housing associations to obtain bank credit in order to purchase homes to meet social housing need. (266355)

The Government have taken a number of steps to help ensure that appropriate credit is available to individuals and businesses, including housing associations.

The Government have agreed lending commitments with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock. RBS has committed to increasing lending by £25 billion above its baseline budget in 2009 including £16 billion for business lending and £9 billion for mortgage lending. Lloyds have committed to increase lending by £11 billion, including £8 billion for business lending and £3 billion for mortgage lending. Northern Rock has also agreed to provide £5 billion for new mortgages in 2009 and £9 billion in 2010.

My officials are also in regular communication with HM Treasury, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, and individual lenders to discuss the issue of lending to housing associations.

The Government have also provided grant funding to help housing associations purchase homes to meet social housing need. In May 2009, we announced that funding would be made available for housing associations to purchase suitable properties from developers for use as affordable housing. £236 million has now been allocated to deliver around 6,700 homes, the majority for social rent.

The Government are bringing forward from 2010-11 £550 million to provide around 7,500 social rented homes 18 months earlier than they would otherwise have been delivered. We have also given the Homes and Communities Agency increased flexibility in its use of social housing grant as part of a wider approach to stimulate new development.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties financed through social housing grants have been sold by each local authority in each of the last five years. (266491)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many registered social landlords there were in each of the last five years; and how many properties were owned by registered social landlords in each of those years; (266514)

(2) how many registered social landlords let (a) supported housing and (b) housing for older people in each of the last five years.

Information from registered social landlords (RSL) on the number of properties they own and the number of RSLs providing lets to supported housing and housing for older people is collected through the Regulatory and Statistical Return (RSR) by the Tenant Services Authority.

Information on the number of RSLs and the number of properties owned by RSLs in each year from 2004 to 2008 is presented in table 1.

Table 1: Number of registered social landlords (RSLs) and the properties they owned, 2004-08

RSLs1

Properties owned by RSLs2, 3

2004

1,844

1,906,322

2005

1,746

2,013,385

2006

1,698

2,079,515

2007

1,687

2,178,223

2008

1,676

2,296,368

1 Based on active RSLs submitting data in the RSR.

2 Includes general needs, supported housing, housing for older people, social leased housing and non-social housing. Some properties outside England are also included. Includes self-contained units and bed spaces.

3 Since 2006, RSLs owning/managing less than 250 units/bed spaces have not supplied information on non-social stock. From 2007, this threshold was raised to 1,000 units/bed spaces.

Source:

Tenant Services Authority Regulatory Statistical Return, as at 31 March.

These figures are based on active RSLs submitting data in the RSR and include non-social housing, social leased housing and social rented properties. Some properties outside England are also included.

It is not possible to identify RSLs providing lettings to supported housing and housing older people separately. Due to a change in definitions, it is not possible to provide figures prior to 2003-04 on a consistent basis. Information on the number of RSLs providing lettings to supported housing and housing for older people in each year from 2004-05 to 2007-08 is presented in table 2.

Table 2: Number of RSLs providing lettings to supported housing and housing for older people, 2004-05 to 2007-08

Number

2004-05

906

2005-06

906

2006-07

928

2007-08

870

Note:

Figures cover the period 1 April to 31 March.

Source:

Tenant Services Authority Regulatory Statistical Return, as at 31 March.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effects on rates of (a) homelessness and (b) overcrowding in social rented stock. (267146)

Between 2003 and 2008, the number of homelessness acceptances fell by 58 per cent. and the rate of acceptances from 6.5 to 2.7 per thousand households. The latest statistics show that there were 12,070 homelessness acceptances during the period October to December 2008—21 per cent. lower than the same period last year. The proportion of homelessness acceptances due to mortgage repossessions has remained at 4 per cent. since the end of 2007.

In addition, the number of households in temporary accommodation has fallen for 13 consecutive quarters and is now one third lower than the peak in 2004 (where figures had remained static at around 101,000). There were 67,480 households in temporary accommodation on 31 December 2008—15 per cent. lower than the same date last year. This represents a rate of 3.1 households in temporary accommodation per thousand households, which has fallen from 4.8 at the time of the peak. 50 per cent. of local authorities have already met the target to halve the number of households in temporary accommodation by 2010.

This success is largely due to the effective and positive work local authorities and voluntary agencies have undertaken on prevention measures. We have allocated £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over three years 2008-09 to 2010-11 to support their strategies for preventing and tackling homelessness in their areas.

We also recently announced a £200 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme to help vulnerable home owners. This scheme is available to all local authorities and will aim to help up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households avoid the trauma of repossession over the next two years. This scheme is now operational.

Levels of overcrowding are measured through the Survey of English Housing and assessed against the ‘bedroom standard’, based on the composition of all households and the age and gender of all household members. Based on a three-year rolling average from 2005-06 to 2007-08, we estimate that there are 234,000 overcrowded households in the social sector. These figures will next be updated using results from the new English Housing Survey, probably in January 2010.