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Housing Succession Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:18 pm on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 5:18 pm, 31st October 2019

The hon. Lady raises a good point. As she rightly says, some authorities are doing this very well, but perhaps, in her circumstance, that has not necessarily happened. I will indeed work with her to write that letter, or to ensure that this happens and that this discretion is used when it should be.

On affordable house building, we want to ensure that everyone has a place that they can call home. In our 2017 housing White Paper, we pledged to address overall housing supply, and in the autumn Budget 2017 we set out our ambition to deliver 300,000 homes per year, on average, by the mid-2020s. Affordable housing, including affordable homes for rent, plays a vital role in reaching this target. Since 2010, we have delivered over 430,000 new affordable homes, including over 308,000 affordable homes for rent. We continue to support housing associations and councils with grant funding for the construction of new affordable homes. We have made over £9 billion available.

A mix of different tenures is vital to meet the needs of a wide range of people and to allow housing associations and local councils to build the right homes in the right places. That is why we have reintroduced social rent as part of our expanded programme. Social rent will meet the needs of struggling families and those most at risk of homelessness in areas of the country where affordability is most pressured. That would be in the hon. Lady’s constituency.

We have also set a long-term rent deal, announcing that increases to social housing rents will be limited to the consumer prices index plus 1% for five years from 2020. Through all those measures, we are creating an investment environment that supports councils and housing associations to build more. That in itself, if we are building more, could ease some of the pressures the hon. Lady mentioned.

Housing associations build the majority of this new affordable housing. Going forward, we want to see housing associations continue to maximise their contributions to housing supply. That is why we have been listening and working to create a stable investment environment to support the delivery of more affordable homes across the country. We have introduced strategic partnerships to offer housing associations greater flexibility, ensuring funding can be allocated where it is needed across multiple projects while still meeting overall delivery targets. That funding certainly also makes it more viable for developing housing associations to invest in more ambitious projects with greater delivery flexibilities and funding guaranteed over a longer period.

We have gone further, providing the sector with longer-term certainty of funding. Last September, the Government also announced £2 billion of long-term funding, which will boost affordable housing for associations. This unprecedented approach will deliver more affordable homes and stimulate the sector’s wider building ambitions. Strategic partnerships and our 10-year funding commitment mark the first time any Government have offered housing associations such long-term funding certainty.

That is what we need to do to ensure that we can always have that human interaction with tenants in houses when a bereavement happens. We have already opened up £1 billion of this funding through Homes England and we are working closely with the Greater London Authority to open bidding for London. I will close there and again thank the hon. Lady for bringing this debate to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.