Long-term Plan for Housing - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:42 pm on 11 January 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Penn Baroness Penn Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 2:42, 11 January 2024

My noble friend makes two very good points. England has a proud history of new town development, and well-planned, beautifully designed, locally led garden communities are playing a vital role in helping to meet our housing need, through providing a stable pipeline of new homes. The Garden Communities programme supports local authorities to build places that people are happy to call their home. That programme was launched in 2014, and has awarded over £58 million of capacity funding to assist places to deliver their proposals for housing. A further £12 million has also been invested to deliver the infrastructure critical to unblock the delivery of homes. The 47 locally led garden communities have the capacity to deliver over 300,000 new homes by 2050. That is something that the Government absolutely continue to support.

The number of planning consents being down was referenced by the noble Baroness, Lady Taylor. When it comes to the wider conditions in the housing market, we recognise that this is a challenging time. The broader economic conditions we face due to very high levels of inflation, and the high interest rates that are in place to bring that down, make it harder for people to get on the housing ladder. That is why this Government have been focused, laser-like, on tackling inflation. We met our commitment last year to halve the level of inflation, and are back on the road to the Bank of England’s 2% target. That is the most effective way in which we can make sure that people are able to afford their mortgages and access the housing market in the way they wish to. But there are also important things that we can do—for example, ensuring that our affordable housing programme continues throughout this period to provide more stability and certainty in terms of the pipeline of new homes while it is a difficult market out there for housebuilders.