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Social Housing

Volume 603: debated on Monday 14 December 2015

Since 2010, we have delivered 270,000 affordable homes, including nearly 200,000 homes for rent. The majority of rented homes, delivered through the affordable homes programme, are for affordable rent, delivering more homes for every pound of Government investment. The spending review committed some £1.7 billion to deliver 100,000 affordable rented homes.

Let me draw the Minister’s attention to the question I asked, which was about social rented housing, not affordable rented housing. Will he confirm that during the last Parliament, the only social rented houses built had been funded before the 2010 general election, and that there is no funding at all for social rented housing in the comprehensive spending review for this Parliament? Does the Minister accept that the combination of the policies of Right to Buy for housing association tenants and the sell-off of high-value council properties means fewer social rented homes being available for people and longer waits on the waiting list for those people who want one?

Actually, there was a 70% increase in social housing waiting lists under the last Labour Administration, and thanks to the flexibilities we have created, it has fallen. We also saw more social council housing built in the last Parliament than in the entire 13 years of Labour Government before that, and there is still over £2 billion of headroom in the housing revenue account for local authorities to go further and build more. I encourage them to do so.

The building of genuinely affordable homes for social rent in this country has plummeted, and no matter how much the Minister tries to dress up the Government’s record, his Department’s figures are clear and speak for themselves. In 2010, more than 38,000 homes were built for social rent, but by 2014-15, that figure was a truly dismal 9,500. The Housing and Planning Bill makes it virtually impossible to build homes for social rent. There was also the disgraceful sneaking out last week of proposals to end secure tenancies for local authority tenants. What exactly do this Government have against people who rely on social housing to make ends meet, and when is the Minister going to address the huge shortfall in social housing units?

As I said a few moments ago, in the last five years of Conservative government more council homes were built than in the entire 13 years of Labour government, during which the number of affordable homes dropped by 420,000. There is still more than £2 billion of borrowing headroom enabling local authorities to build more. We have made it clear that we will help all those who aspire to own their own homes by extending the right to buy and delivering starter homes throughout the country.