Local Government Funding

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 3:20 pm on 28th March 2018.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 3:20 pm, 28th March 2018

My Department is very much involved in the preparations for Brexit. We have attended several recent EU exit committee meetings and we are involved. The hon. Lady should wait and see what happens. In due course, she will learn more about my Department’s approach.

In expanding the pilots, we have responded to what councils have told us, and we are doing the same in other areas. For example, the housing infrastructure fund recognises the crucial role that councils play in helping to deliver the homes that our country desperately needs, by providing billions in additional finance to support new development. We all know that we cannot achieve the new housing we need without having in place the right infrastructure, including schools, healthcare facilities, transport links and other essential types of infrastructure. We have received a staggering 430 bids, worth almost £14 billion, to deliver 1.5 million homes. That demonstrates the incredible ambition out there to tackle the housing crisis—an ambition that we are keen to get fully behind; hence our move to more than double the housing infrastructure fund at the autumn Budget, in which we dedicated an additional £2.7 billion, bringing the total to £5 billion. I was delighted recently to announce the first funding allocation of £866 million for 133 projects that will help to unlock some 200,000 additional homes. The work under way with a total of 45 local areas to deliver major infrastructure projects worth £4.1 billion could potentially deliver an additional 400,000 homes.

In his remarks earlier, the shadow Secretary of State talked about house building having fallen to its lowest levels since the 1920s—I think that is what he said. He is right about it having fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s, but he is wrong about when it happened. It happened in the last year of the previous Labour Government, when the current shadow housing Minister, John Healey, was the actual housing Minister. Since then, it is up by more than 50%.

I recently announced almost £300 million of funding for housing deals in Greater Manchester, the west of England and Oxfordshire, and a housing deal for the West Midlands. The West Midlands deal backs the mayor’s ambitions to build some 215,000 homes by 2030-31. Isn’t Andy Street doing a fantastic job, Madam Deputy Speaker? You do not have to answer that. Those deals represent another important step towards meeting one of the defining challenges of our time, as do the measures we are taking on social care.