Labour fury as new social rent homes plummet by 97%

Posted On: 
20th June 2017

Labour has blasted the Government after new figures showed the number of new homes built for some of the poorest people in England has plummeted by 97% since 2010.

John Healey accused the Tories of having "washed their hands of any responsibility" for those needing cheaper homes
PA Images

Just over 1,000 social rent homes - which are typically much cheaper than the ‘affordable rent’ homes let at 80% of market rates - were built in the last financial year.

According to official figures the number is down from almost 37,000 in the 2010/11 financial year - a drop of almost 100%.

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Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: "These disastrous figures show that Conservative ministers have washed their hands of any responsibility to build the homes families on low and middle incomes need.

"After seven years of failure, the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis. A Labour government would invest in the affordable homes that the country needs."

Melanie Rees, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said the drop in the number of social rent homes was "deeply concerning".

She added: "Our forecasting has suggested we will lose 250,000 homes for social rent between 2012 and 2020 and these figures would appear to back that up.

"This comes at a time when we need more, not fewer of the cheapest rented homes.

"We believe more investment is urgently needed in genuinely affordable homes to rent."

Meanwhile it was confirmed that the total number of new ‘affordable’ homes built in 2016/17 dropped to 32,600 - fewer than half the number built the previous year.

The figure represents the lowest number of completions for the category - which includes social rent, ‘affordable’ rent and ‘affordable’ homes to buy - since 1991/92.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government pointed to figures showing the number of newly built affordable homes was slightly up in 2016/17 when just two building groups were taken into account.

A DCLG source said the boost - from 22,000 to almost 28,000 - would help improve the overall figures when numbers for other building groups are published later in the year.

A spokesperson said: "Making housing more affordable is an absolute priority for this Government. That is why we have committed £25 billion to get more homes built.

"These statistics demonstrate a step change in the delivery of affordable housing in this country.

"Through a wide range of affordable products, from Affordable Rent to Shared Ownership, we are helping thousands of people to buy or rent a home that is right for them."