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Affordable Housing

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion 2:30 pm, 10th November 2014

What recent assessment he has made of the availability of affordable housing in Brighton and Hove.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Local authorities are required to develop an evidence base locally. This ensures that their local plans meet the needs for their market and for affordable housing to be consistent with policies in the national planning policy framework. We have published new guidance to local authorities on assessing housing need in their area and 340 new affordable homes have been provided in Brighton and Hove since 2010.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

In spite of national constraints, the Green administration in Brighton has overseen the development of more than 500 affordable homes, with a further 230 in the pipeline, and has built the first council homes in a generation. Brighton council and councils around the country could do much more if the Government would provide direct capital grant funding. Will the Minister reconsider that and meet my constituents to discuss proposals we have put together in a local housing charter to promote fairer rents and more affordable homes?

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

There is about £2.8 billion of headroom in the housing revenue account across local authorities. We have recognised this year that some authorities that have been building have come close to that headroom, so we made extra money available. We have already announced some bids and will announce some more shortly. I encourage local authorities to bid to take up this opportunity, along with the housing guarantee grants that we have been offering with housing associations to provide more affordable housing. I am proud that we have managed to deliver more than 200,000 such houses over the past couple of years.