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Housing Supply

Volume 617: debated on Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Government are committed to supporting housing supply and ensuring that the housing market works for everyone. Good progress has been made since 2010, with housing supply now at an eight-year high. In October, my right hon. Friend the Communities and Local Government Secretary launched a £3 billion home building fund to provide loans to house builders to unlock over 200,000 homes. However, the scale of the challenge requires us to go further, which is why my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced that the Government will invest £2.3 billion in a new housing infrastructure fund that will deliver up to 100,000 homes, and will invest an additional £1.4 billion to deliver 40,000 new affordable homes.

Will the autumn statement’s £3.15 billion boost for London housing be flexible enough to meet the aspirations of both Londoners wanting a home they can afford to rent or buy and London’s homeless, whose complex needs include the need for supported housing?

I can provide that reassurance to my hon. Friend. The Government are committed to supporting housing supply and ensuring that the housing market works for everyone, including Londoners. London’s £3.15 billion affordable housing settlement will deliver over 90,000 affordable housing starts by 2020-21 across a range of tenures, including homes for low-cost home ownership and submarket rent, as well as supporting housing for Londoners with particular needs, and of course London will also benefit from the housing infrastructure fund.

More people in my constituency rent privately than own their own homes and for most of them ownership is a distant or impossible dream. Are the Government considering looking at the supply of private rented housing on longer tenures, perhaps with rent guarantees, and possibly using tax reliefs or other mechanisms the Treasury has in its armoury, to encourage landlords to provide those longer-term tenancies and better security for the many private rented sector tenants?

The Government are taking action to ensure that we build more homes. There is a need for flexibility in terms of tenure, which was at the heart of my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes), but last week’s autumn statement included a series of measures that will help to ensure that we are building more homes in this country, which is what we need.

Why is there such a large gap between the number of planning permissions and the number of housing starts, and what specifically can the Government do to close that gap?

There has consistently been a gap. What is important is that there is certainty of supply. We need to ensure that we have the right planning system in place and the right fiscal support, and that is what the Government are determined to deliver.

In last week’s autumn statement, the Chancellor raised the tax on house insurance by 20%. How is that supposed to help first-time home buyers to get access to housing?

We were very clear that the 2% increase in insurance premium tax was a revenue-raiser that enabled us to introduce the measure on changing the taper for universal credit, which increases the incentives to work. We believe that was the right course of action, but if we look at the autumn statement, and indeed the announcement made at the Conservative party conference, what is very clear is that this Government are committed to ensuring that we build more homes, which is what the public rightly expect.