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Homes: Construction

Volume 630: debated on Monday 30 October 2017

15. What plans he has to increase the number of homes constructed each year; and if he will make a statement. (901477)

Our housing White Paper “Fixing our Broken Housing Market”, published in February, sets out how we will build the homes this country needs. Broadly speaking, we want to do this by diversifying those building homes, increasing build-out rates, supporting homebuyers and releasing more land.

Some 4,500 homes have been built at Beaulieu Park in Chelmsford and another 5,000-plus are planned, but the roads are at capacity and we need a new railway station and a bypass. That is Essex’s No. 1 priority for the housing infrastructure fund. Will the Minister meet me to discuss this important infrastructure to unlock housing?

My hon. Friend is a passionate supporter of new housing for her constituents, which is very welcome. Of course I will meet her . As she knows, I am not able to comment on any particular bids, but I can tell her that there has been a great deal of interest in the £2.3 billion for the housing infrastructure fund.

18. Does the Minister agree that as we embark on a major housing programme we should be building the houses of the future, such as net zero energy bill homes, which are particularly helpful to people on low incomes because they do not have to pay gas and electricity bills? (901481)

Yes, of course we should be doing precisely that. I should add, however, that since 2010 we have strengthened the energy requirements for new homes by 30%, which has reduced energy bills by an average of £200.

I thought I had already clarified it, but let me make it clear again. We believe in protecting the green belt. There will be exceptional circumstances that local authorities can consider, but they will need to take their local communities with them.

I am sure that colleagues on both sides of the House will join me in warmly welcoming back to his place the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Nick Boles).

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. It is good to be back.

The Government have made remarkable progress in cutting the deficit from the 10.5% of GDP that we inherited in 2010 to 2.5% now. May I therefore urge everyone to back the Secretary of State’s call for special borrowing to put in place the infrastructure that will unlock the hundreds of thousands of extra houses that we need? This is the kind of borrowing that we should all be able to support.

Of course all of us in the House support the ambition to build more homes, but my hon. Friend should wait for the Budget announcement in relation to any specifics.

Has my hon. Friend made an assessment of the need for social housing, particularly in new towns such as Harlow, and will he consider tax incentives to ensure that housing associations can build more social housing?

I can tell my hon. Friend that housing associations have hugely welcomed our announcements about rent certainty—social housing rents will rise by the consumer prices index plus 1% from 2020—and the investment of an extra £2 billion, and we are engaged in a constant dialogue with them.