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New Homes Bonus

Volume 571: debated on Monday 25 November 2013

Will the Minister say something about why the scheme that his Prime Minister set up has been such a disaster? Just 1,427 homes have been built under this scheme, although we need 800,000 homes in London, because there is a huge demand problem. The average London deposit now costs our young people £100,000.

I am sorry, but the right hon. Gentleman clearly does not understand the scheme. It has delivered some £1.3 billion to local authorities, including about £5.5 million for his own authority.

May I put it to my hon. Friend that although I think everyone understands that there is an acute shortage of housing in many parts of this country because of the lamentable failure of the previous Government to build sufficient houses and because of what most people regard as excessive immigration, in the charming market towns of Louth and Horncastle in my Lincolnshire constituency there is the deepest cross-party concern about developers’ proposals to put up about 1,000 new houses in and around those two market towns? What everybody is asking is where are the jobs, the school places, the ambulances, the hospital beds and the policemen to be found for such a project, which will in fact destroy these happy communities?

With all respect to my right hon. Friend, I am afraid the new homes bonus is not about encouraging people to build homes. The way to address the issues he raises is to get a strong local plan, and I suggest that he takes the challenge that he has just given to the House to his local council.

I am somewhat bewildered that the Housing Minister thinks the new homes bonus is not about incentivising councils to build new homes. In fact, contrary to that, his predecessor said at least 400,000 additional homes would be built as a direct result of the new homes bonus. The truth is there has been a 26% drop in the affordable homes supply and £1.3 billion has been spent by this Government under the new homes bonus to deliver fewer than 1,500 homes. Does the Minister think spending nearly £1 million per home is good value for taxpayers’ money?

The bonus itself is not for building homes. This Government have built 400,000 houses. This Government are absolutely committed to building affordable houses and have already reached 50% of our affordable housing target—over 99,000 houses—and will deliver 170,000 by the end of this period.