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House of Commons Hansard
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Homes for Social Rent
18 June 2018
Volume 643
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3. What assessment he has made of trends in the level of new homes available for social rent since 2010. [905879]

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Since 2010, we have delivered more than 357,000 new affordable homes, including 128,000 for social rent. We are investing more than £9 billion in the affordable homes programme to support the delivery of new affordable homes.

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The Secretary of State fails to point out that only 199 houses have been built in the past six months. Given his failure to build new housing, can we instead look at actions to deal with the 7,235 privately owned empty houses in Stoke-on-Trent?

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More affordable homes have been delivered in the past seven years than in the last seven years of the last Labour Government. It is a bit rich to press us when we have delivered 217,000 completed new homes in the past year. This Government have committed £9 billion to affordable homes—the hon. Lady should reflect on that—as this issue is our priority.

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The Government have recently announced an extra £2 billion into the affordable homes programme. How many more homes for social rent should this provide by the end of this Parliament?

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We have identified additional funding for affordable homes and social rent. I will be making a further announcement regarding what this means outside London. I will return to the House to update Members on the matter, as I recognise its importance.

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Mr Speaker, I thank you and Members of all parties who supported the Grenfell community by attending memorial services and the silent walk, by speaking in the House and by wearing the green heart. Will the Secretary of State politely insist that all Members who have shown support by wearing the green heart support my request for a Backbench Business debate, so that we can discuss all these issues in one place and discuss the Grenfell response? We have a list of green heart wearers and will be writing to the Secretary of State today. Will he please show that he cares by supporting my debate?

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I commend the hon. Lady for the work that she has done locally, as I commend the strength of her community in the face of this appalling tragedy. I cannot speak about the awarding of Backbench Business debates. If she seeks one, I am sure that it will be considered carefully. We have updated the House regularly on the response to Grenfell, and we will continue to do so.

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The Secretary of State is quite right to disavow responsibility for the Backbench Business Committee. The hon. Lady could, however, usefully sidle up to and have a word with the hon. Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns), who chairs that Committee. He is not in his place at the moment, but I dare say that he will be in due course. I am sure that she will find that a most useful conversation.

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Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the fact that North West Leicestershire District Council is building the first new council houses in my constituency in the past 30 years?

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I absolutely do. I commend the work of my hon. Friend’s council. We are looking at how we can strengthen the housing revenue account further and see a new generation of council house builds. I commend his local authority for getting on with that.

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The Secretary of State has just talked of his affordable homes record, but we all know that this Government’s definition of affordable homes is a joke. It allows an illusion of genuinely affordable house building, which is simply not happening. Many of his own Back Benchers agree, and 10 of them are meeting the Prime Minister on Wednesday to call for more genuinely affordable homes. The number of new social rented homes funded by the Government is at its lowest ever level, with fewer than 1,000 started last year. Will the Secretary of State therefore match Labour’s commitment, in our social housing green paper, to scrap the bogus definition of affordable rent at up to 80% of market rents and to invest in genuinely affordable homes?

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I hope that the hon. Lady will welcome the fall in housing waiting lists under this Government. I say to her very clearly that steps have been taken under this Government to respond to this challenge. I remind her again of the £9 billion that has been committed to affordable homes, with the change that that will bring to so many people in actually creating the vision of a home and making that a reality. That is this Government’s intent, and it is something that we will deliver.