Housing Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 12th January 2004.

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Photo of Keith Hill Keith Hill Minister of State (Housing and Planning), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 3:34 pm, 12th January 2004

I know that my hon. Friend has a long-standing and distinguished record for expressing concern about housing issues. I have to tell him that the Government have set out indicative guidelines on the proportion of social housing that we expect to be delivered in any major housing development. He will also be aware that for large-scale housing developments, the Mayor has laid down clear criteria that are, in most cases, being fulfilled. We are happy about that, but it is essentially a matter for local authorities and for local decision-making. We want to encourage local authorities to respond to the challenges in a way that best meets the needs of local communities.

I want to make some progress. The communities plan sets out the policies, resources and partnerships necessary to deliver a new approach to how and what we build—an approach that connects housing with transport, jobs, public services and improving the local environment. However, the communities plan goes wider than the particular challenges of the south-east: it represents a step change in our approach to development, in order to deliver decent affordable homes and a good quality local environment in all regions. It aims to tackle the challenges of rapid demographic and economic change, the legacy of poor health and conditions, serious housing shortages in areas of high demand, and the impact of housing abandonment in places, in the north and midlands.

We are continuing to find other ways of increasing housing supply and securing better value for money. For example, we are encouraging modern methods of construction and widening the scope of those who can receive Housing Corporation funding.