Increasing Housing Supply: Local Communities

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – in the House of Commons on 24th January 2022.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that housing supply increases in line with the needs and wishes of local communities.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

As I said in a previous answer, building homes is key to levelling up, and that is why we announced an additional £1.8 billion for housing supply at the last spending review, delivering £10 billion-worth of investment since the start of this Parliament and unlocking over 1 million new homes. However, it is important that local communities have input to the planning process, and we recognise that as part of our planning reforms the planning system must be more engaging and much more democratic.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

Many people in social housing have been able to exercise the voluntary right to buy scheme for tenants of social landlords. However, in so-called rural locations, many are excluded, including many thousands of my own constituents. Would the Minister or the Secretary of State meet me and other MPs with constituents in similar situations to find a way forward that both enables people to own their own homes and ensures that the level of housing stock for rent from social landlords is maintained?

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. We are committed to enabling tenants in social housing to acquire their own home through right to buy or right to acquire, and we have helped nearly 2 million tenants to become homeowners—dream-home owners. I am aware that there are some particular issues in some particular rural areas, and I am very happy to meet my hon. Friend and his colleagues to discuss how we can ensure that those people have the opportunity of home ownership, too.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Labour/Co-operative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

The Minister will know—and you will know, Mr Speaker—that I am a fan of One Direction, and Harry Styles in particular. If it is true that Harry Styles is looking to buy a £10 million property in the west country, he will join the thousands of people who have been hoovering up our homes to make them second homes. The pandemic has turbocharged the housing crisis in the west country, so will the Minister look seriously at ensuring every west country family can have a first home, not just have a region full of second homes for those who can afford one?

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

We are determined to make sure that there are homes available to buy for the people who want them around our United Kingdom, including in holiday hotspots such as the west country. That is why we have brought forward new policies such as First Homes, why we are closing the loophole which allows some people to abuse their second home and holiday let properties, and why we want to build more homes in those places to ensure people have the opportunity to own and enjoy them.