Skip to main content

Affordable Rent Scheme

Volume 534: debated on Monday 31 October 2011

We received offers from 197 providers for the affordable homes programme by the deadline of 3 May. On 14 July, we announced that, subject to contracts, 146 providers will deliver 80,000 new homes for affordable rent and affordable home ownership, with Government funding of just under £1.8 billion.

Nearly six months into this scheme, has my hon. Friend had an opportunity to assess what impact it might have on the provision of social housing in areas such as my constituency?

I hope that my hon. Friend will be reassured to know that 15 of the 146 bids were for the Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale area. Ten of the bids were accepted, and nine have been signed up with the Homes and Communities Agency. Overall, the Government are committed to investing nearly £4.5 billion in new affordable housing, delivering 170,000 new affordable homes compared with the 150,000 originally estimated. That means we shall be increasing the supply during this Parliament rather than reducing it, as the previous Government did.

Will the Minister tell us how much money is being provided to local authorities to develop new council homes? Why are his Government insisting that any self-funded local development be provided by increasing council rents to 80% of market value, which makes those rents totally unaffordable in many urban parts of this country?

I want to set the hon. Gentleman straight, because the ratio of the rent packages under the affordable rent offer in London is averaging 65% of market rents across London. Of course, tenants of those homes are eligible for housing benefit, as required.