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New Social Housing

Volume 526: debated on Monday 4 April 2011

22. What estimate his Department has made of the likely number of new social housing starts between May 2010 and April 2015. (50362)

We are investing £4.5 billion in new affordable housing over the next four years, with the hope of producing 150,000 new affordable homes.

I thank the Minister for his reply, although I note that he referred just to affordable housing, not to affordable social housing. Given the imminent publication of the Government’s child poverty strategy, what conversations has he had with colleagues in other Departments about the impact of the lack of affordable social housing on achieving our child poverty targets?

The hon. Lady is right to draw the subject to the House’s attention. It is sadly true that there were 45,000 fewer affordable social homes in this country following 13 years of her party’s being in power. I have had extensive conversations with colleagues across Government to ensure that, in the next 13 years—or at least in the next four—a significantly greater number of social, affordable and all types of homes will be built across the social and regular housing sectors because this country needs homes, for which the new homes bonus will provide a significant boost.[Official Report, 8 June 2011, Vol. 529, c. 3MC.]

Does the Minister agree that special measures are likely to be required in areas such as Bradford, which has low market rents, because raising our rents up to the 80% level will yield no additional funds for new social housing starts?

Let us be clear that the existing social housing programme continues—£2.2 billion goes into that. An additional amount will go into affordable rent. Affordable rent does not mean 80% of market rent. The key words are “up to” 80% of the local market rent, meaning that in some areas, the figures will be somewhere in between social rent and the market rent, but not necessarily 80%.

May I draw attention to my entry in the register?

Will the Minister admit that he will not build any social rented homes at all, and that the ones that will be built are all inherited from the previous Government? His policy of so-called affordable rented homes—at 80% of market rents—will not produce any social rent properties, and even worse, it will require the conversion of former social rent properties to so-called affordable rent properties when they become available for re-let. That means no new affordable social rented homes, and more people waiting for a home that they can afford.

It seems obvious to me that if homes are not built today or at least at the time of the election, and we subsequently build them, they will be counted in the homes that we build. The fact that we have decided to continue to put £2.2 billion into the build programme in addition to the affordable rent programme means that we will out-build the previous Labour Government not just over four years, but in comparison to their 13 years, in every single year.