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Affordable Housing

Volume 684: debated on Monday 16 November 2020

The Government are investing £12.2 billion in affordable housing over the next five years from next year. That includes £11.5 billion for the affordable homes programme, which we anticipate will provide up to 180,000 new affordable homes, should economic conditions allow. Furthermore, at spring statement 2019 we announced a new £3 billion affordable homes guarantee scheme, which will build on the success of the existing £3.24 billion scheme and support the delivery of new build affordable homes.

I thank the Minister for that very full reply; it is good that so much work is going on. Does he think it might be useful to revisit the definition of affordable homes? In the past, we tended to use the definition of 80% of average market value, which, when prices are high—as they often are—is still not affordable. Will he consider that, please?

I am always happy to consider my hon. Friend’s suggestions. He will know that the affordable homes definition in the national planning policy framework includes:

“Housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market”

and the assumption is that that is at 80% of average cost. Of course, we also have a social rent option that local authorities can leverage, and we have certainly allowed local authorities greater ease in developing their own social homes. I also point him to our first homes programme, which provides discounts of at least 30% on homes in perpetuity so that people can realise the dream of their own home.