Thank you to the those who have contacted me about social housing and affordable homes. I am fully committed to supporting the social rented sector and its 4 million households.
I am relieved that the Government took unprecedented steps to support renters struggling financially during the pandemic. This includes £9.3 billion of additional support through the welfare system and increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile. These significant financial measures will help support tenants to continue to pay their living costs, including rental payments.
Social housing stock across England fell by almost half a million homes between 1997 and 2010, making it harder for many families to access social housing. I am encouraged that over 1.5 million new homes have been delivered in the last decade, including over 500,000 affordable homes and almost 200,000 homes for social rent. More remains to be done, which is why I welcome the recent planning reforms that encourage more affordable housing and £38 billion in financial investment to boost affordable housebuilding in England. The current Affordable Homes Programme is expected to deliver 250,000 new affordable homes by March 2023 – an extension of one year to provide housing associations and councils more certainty due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Half of the homes delivered under the programme will be for reduced rent, including social rent.
In the last Budget, the new Affordable Homes Programme was expanded to £11.5 billion for 2021-22 through to 2025-26 to deliver 180,000 homes, with a further £700 million allocated for the current programme. I am told that this is the biggest cash investment in affordable housing in a decade, which I believe serves to underscore the importance of the issue you raise. £4 billion has been offered to London to boost housing in the capital and nearly £7.5 billion for the rest of England to level up, which is an increase of £2 billion on current funding.
To build on the progress already made, planning reforms have been announced that aim to build more homes where they are least affordable and the consolidated Infrastructure Levy will raise more funds to deliver social infrastructure for the benefit of communities.
However, funding alone will not solve the problem, which is why I welcome action to make the development system simpler and more robust. A new £10 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund will unlock more homes by putting in place vital infrastructure in high-demand areas. The commitments set out in the Charter for Social Housing Residents raise the standard for social housing to meet the needs and aspiration of residents around the country. I am glad that safety, quality, transparency and redress are put front and centre.