The new Secretary of State skirted the opportunity to address questions on social rented housing posed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth and Dearne (John Healey), so I will try again. In London in particular, for those on average incomes and below, affordable housing means only social rented housing—housing in which this Government are now investing virtually nothing for the first time since records began—so will the Secretary of State work with the Treasury to ensure that the Government go back to investing in social rented housing so that councils and housing associations provide truly affordable, good-quality homes and, by the way, cut the housing benefit bill that is currently going to rip-off private landlords?
I gently remind the hon. Lady that more than 10,000 local authority homes have been built since 2010, which is three times more than were built under the last Labour Government. We are investing a further £9 billion in affordable homes up to 2021; we have raised the borrowing caps on councils by £1 billion; and we are giving local authorities greater rental certainty from 2020.
We must deliver more homes in my constituency, especially affordable ones, so I would like to plug Chippenham’s housing infrastructure fund bid. Does the Minister agree that these new homes would serve as a vehicle to boost our communities with the infrastructure and services that we much need?
I thank my hon. Friend for that. She is absolutely right: where local authorities have the ambition to get homes built, it is right that they get support from central Government infrastructure funding, so that we do not just build the homes that our country needs but build up stronger local communities with them.