We have announced a £12 billion investment in affordable homes, the largest in a decade. That will deliver up to 180,000 new affordable homes across England, with the vast majority delivered by 2026. That is building on our previous £9 billion affordable homes programme, which delivered about 250,000 affordable homes. Figures published last week show the highest number of starts of affordable homes since records began in 2010, and a 91% increase in homes for social rent over the year. We have also extended the previous programme by one year to ensure delivery of homes that would otherwise, regrettably, have been lost because of covid disruption.
The Prime Minister says that we need to build, build, build, and that is absolutely the right approach. Will my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing join me in praising Bishop Llewellyn Graham and everyone at Nehemiah housing association for their amazing work in West Bromwich East, and work with them to ensure that local people are skilled up so that we can get the right homes built at affordable prices?
I will join my hon. Friend in thanking Nehemiah housing association for its work on housing in the west midlands over the past 20 years. Compared with the start of the decade, the number of homes built in the west midlands last year had doubled. She is right to talk about skills; delivering the homes this country needs depends on having a skilled workforce. The Construction Industry Training Board estimates that we will need 688,000 skilled construction workers if we are to deliver our target of 300,000 new homes every year.