Affordable Homes

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 2017.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn 12:00 am, 24th April 2017

What assessment he has made of trends in the number of affordable homes to (a) rent and (b) buy since 2010.

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

Since April 2010, we have delivered on average more than 50,800 affordable homes per years, 36,300 of which were affordable homes for rent. Under the previous Government, the annual average was only 42,900, of which only 28,700 were homes for rent.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn

I am expecting several Members of Parliament and Ministers to visit Delyn constituency in the next few weeks; will the Minister come with me to Flint, where he will see a Labour council building council houses for rent? This social housing is supported by the Welsh Assembly, with more than 600 in one constituency alone. Why can he not match that in England?

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

As I just said and contrary to what the shadow Housing Minister said, higher levels of affordable housing are being delivered under this Government than were delivered under the previous Labour Government. Nevertheless, if the right hon. Gentleman’s local council is delivering new council homes, I am glad to hear it. We want more homes of every kind. In Croydon, it was a Conservative council that started to build council housing again, after a Labour council had failed to do so.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the fact that almost 2,000 new houses are currently being built in Crawley’s Forge Wood neighbourhood? There is a complete mix of units, including council, social-rented and low-cost housing.

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

I warmly welcome what my hon. Friend has to say and his support for building the homes that we so desperately need in this country. Contrary to what we often hear from the shadow Front-Bench team, there is a widespread consensus across the country that we desperately need to build more homes of every kind to tackle the housing crisis that has been building in this country for the past 30 or 40 years.

Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Public Services and Education)

The right-to-buy scheme has led to a devastating erosion of social housing stock, with 40% of ex-council houses now in the hands of private landlords. With public money going straight into the pockets of those landlords, will the Secretary of State tell the House how much the right-to-buy scheme has cost the public purse?

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

The right-to-buy scheme has helped nearly 2 million hard-working people own their own home in this country. Since we reinvigorated the right-to-buy scheme in 2012, we have made it a condition that, for each home that is sold, we replace it with a new affordable home. That is the right policy as we help people who have the aspiration to buy their home, but we also make sure that the rented homes are replaced. That is what people will get from a Conservative Government.

Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North

Luton’s housing waiting list is now three times higher than it was in the 1970s, when I was vice-chair of the council’s housing committee. The housing stock has halved in that time from compulsory sales. Is it not the truth that only a Labour Government led by my right hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn will save Britain’s housing situation and make sure that people in Luton can have a decent home?

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

People can look back at the record of the last Labour Government—how many council homes were built between 1997 and 2010? What level of house building did we inherit from the Labour Government in 2010? The truth is that house building in this country has been increasing under this Government. Certainly, there is still further to go, but we are the party that is committed to building more homes for people to buy, more homes for people to rent privately and more affordable homes for people to rent. If we want a solution to the housing crisis, this is the party that is offering it.