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Social Housing

Volume 613: debated on Monday 18 July 2016

5. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the level of funding available for social housing. (905887)

Housing is a devolved matter. In England we have committed £8 billion to deliver 400,000 much-needed affordable homes—the largest affordable housing programme for nearly 40 years. The result of the EU referendum does not change that commitment.

The UK has had £43 billion of European Investment Bank loans over the past eight years, whereas non-EU countries such as Norway or Switzerland have had only £1 billion. Can the Minister provide any detail on his contingency plan for the funding of social housing and infrastructure projects when that EU finding inevitably dries up?

That obviously makes some contribution towards our delivery of affordable housing but, as I said, the Government have committed £8 billion. That will deliver starter homes, shared ownership homes and more affordable and intermediate rent housing. This is the largest programme that we have seen in more than 40 years and it will make a big contribution to tackling the housing issues that we see in our country.

I welcome the Minister to his new post, and I welcome the Government focus on affordable homes to buy through the starter homes programme, but we also need affordable homes to rent. Does the Minister agree that as we have made the decision to leave the EU, now is the right time to consider more investment in social rented homes to meet local needs and local affordability?

My hon. Friend is right to say that we need a mix of tenures—a mix of offers. That is what the programme provides. He tempts me into decisions that will ultimately be for the Government and for the Chancellor at the next Budget, but he makes a powerful case for further investment in affordable housing.

I welcome the Minister to his new role and look forward to seeing him and the Secretary of State at the Select Committee before long. Are the Government still committed to building a million homes in this Parliament? Given that leaving the EU could have a depressing effect on the private house building industry, will he reconsider the Government’s current policy of not providing one single penny towards the building of social housing in their budgets, and recognise that to deliver a million homes, we will have to build some social housing?

The simple answer to the Select Committee Chairman’s first question is yes, we are still committed to building a million new homes. Across this House, I hope, there is a consensus that we need to increase the level of house building. As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake), we are looking at a mixed programme, including investment in affordable and intermediate rent, as well as shared ownership and helping people to own their own homes. I point the hon. Gentleman to the research that shows that 86% of our constituents want to own their own home. One of the critical things that we should all be trying to do is help people enjoy the opportunity that nearly all of us as Members of Parliament enjoy.