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New-build Homes

Volume 547: debated on Monday 2 July 2012

14. What his most recent estimate is of the number of homes to be built in the south-east in the next five years and of the proportion of such homes that will be let at affordable rents. (114400)

We do not forecast levels of future house building. However, taking into account delivery in the first term of this Government, up until March 2015 we expect to deliver 107,000 affordable homes in London and east and south-east England through the Homes and Communities Agency programme and the Greater London authority. Of those, over 37,000 are expected to be for affordable rents.

I am rather confused by that answer, because the Minister has just said that he does not forecast numbers of new homes but in an earlier answer he forecast 170,000 new homes. I do not know when a forecast is not a forecast. May I tell him what the housing situation is like on the ground, because his responses so far have not revealed it properly? In Slough, 43 affordable new homes have been started, down from 103. I have had more inquiries about housing this year than in any year since I was elected in 1997. We have nearly 300 people whose homes have been repossessed. [Interruption.] If I could come to the question—

Order. I think that the hon. Lady wants to know what the Minister is going to do about the situation.

May I specifically ask the Minister what he can offer to people in a situation where there are more people on the housing waiting list in Slough than there are affordable homes?

Order. There is no breach of order. [Interruption.] Order. I must say to the hon. Lady that the Minister is not out of order. I do not think she should take offence, as the Minister did not mean to be offensive in any way; he was being light-hearted and jocular, as we all seek to be.

If it assists in our proceedings, I am happy to withdraw the comment.

I fully acknowledge that we need more social and affordable homes. That is why we have a programme that is adding to the stock of social and affordable homes. I say to the hon. Lady that Slough will end up with more social and affordable homes in 2015 than there were in 2010, unlike the period in which Labour ran this country and its housing policy.