Low-cost Housing

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 5th March 2003.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield 11:30 am, 5th March 2003

If he will make a statement on his Department's policy on the provision of low-cost housing in (a) the south-east and (b) the midlands.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

All regions, including the south-east and the midlands, will benefit from the increased funding for affordable housing announced in "Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future", which my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister presented to the House on 5 February.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

Does the Minister agree that it is important to minimise exhaust fumes and other forms of pollution? What percentage of low-cost housing will be built within half a mile of available work rather than on green fields?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

As the hon. Gentleman knows full well, the purpose of the communities plan and sustainable housing is to incorporate the growth in jobs. We are looking at areas of high demand and are making sure that we have plans for the future. Let me tell the hon. Gentleman that I was delighted to announce the communities plan in the south-east with the Conservative leader of Ashford council.

Photo of Mr George Stevenson Mr George Stevenson Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South

Will my hon. Friend comment on the enormous benefit of the Pathfinder project to areas in the midlands such as Stoke-on-Trent, where it provides more low-cost housing, regenerates housing stock and brings a sense of development to the housing market in north Staffordshire?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

I am extremely pleased that my hon. Friend has raised that issue. It is essential that we try to regenerate those areas, and that aim goes hand in hand with our work in growth areas, which is why we are making an additional £500 million available. My hon. Friend's constituency will certainly benefit from that.