Labour slams 'disastrous failure' on affordable housing

Posted On: 
17th November 2016

Labour has blasted the Government over damning new statistics which show that the number of affordable homes being built is at its lowest for over two decades.

New affordable housing has hit its lowest level since 1991/92 - the first year of comparable records
PA Images

The overall number of affordable homes built in 2015/16 was 32,110 - fewer than half that of the previous financial year when the figure was 66,600, Government figures have revealed.

It is also the lowest figure since 1991/92, which saw the building of just 29,670 extra affordable homes - which includes homes for affordable rent offered at up to 80% of the market rates.

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The number of social rented homes last year fell to just 6,550, while the number available for affordable home ownership has plummeted by 66% since 2009/10 to just 7,540.

Shadow Housing Minister John Healey blasted the “disastrous” figures, accusing Conservative ministers of “washing their hands of any responsibility”.

“We’ve seen six wasted years with the Tories in charge of housing,” he said in a statement.

“They have no long-term plan for housing and they’re doing too little to fix the housing crisis for millions of people who are just managing to cover their housing costs.”

He accused ministers of trying to “hide their failure” by widening the definition of affordable to include homes close to full market rent or on sale for up to £450,000.

Mr Healey added: "Public concern about housing is at the highest level for 40 years. Millions of families are struggling with high housing costs.

“Faced with this Ministers have turned their back on the way they can help most - by building low-cost homes to rent and buy.

"Phillip Hammond must use next week’s Autumn Statement to reverse the damage his Government have done in the last six years and back Labour's plans to build."

Recent figures showed the number of homeless families with children has soared by 70% since 2010 to 39,120.

Some 15,170 families were accepted as homeless by their local council between April and June this year, up 10% since a year ago and bringing the total for the past year to 42,940.

The number of households forced into temporary accommodation over the period was 73,120 - up more than 50% since the end of 2010.