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Affordable Home Construction Reaches 24-Year Low

Newly released data has confirmed that in 2015-16, the number of affordable homes built in England fell to its lowest point in 24 years.

Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) indicate that there were only 32,110 constructed, while in 2013-14 the amount came to 66,600. UKCW has confirmed that it will make affordable home construction a priority for 2017.

Ministers attributed the slowdown to the beginning of a new homebuilding cycle, pointing out that £8bn was being invested in affordable housing.

Labour claimed that the figures were dismal and that many homes classified as affordable actually were not.

The figures from the DCLG demonstrated that the number of new properties intended for social rent went down to a mere 6,550. Labour pointed out that this was 80% fewer homes than were built in 2009-10, which was the party’s last complete year in power.

The number of homes designated for private and affordable rent was 16,550, down from 40,730 the year before.

 

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John Healey, housing spokesman for Labour, said that these figures indicated that the current government was creating the lowest number of social rented homes since output started being recorded.

Mr Healey blamed the low on Conservative ministers who declined to build the homes needed by families on ordinary income. He said that the government had no long-term housing plan and was doing too little to tackle the housing crisis for millions of Britons who were barely managing to pay their housing costs.

The Labour housing spokesman also stated that the government was attempting to conceal its failure by advertising more homes as affordable- even with a sale price as high as £450,000 or availability at 80% of market rent.

A DCLG spokesman explained the drop by stating that housing delivery is typically lower during the inaugural year of any new housing scheme and that the figures were a normal part of a five-year building cycle.

He affirmed that building more homes was a government priority, which was why the housing budget was doubled and the UK now had the biggest affordable housing programme in four decades. Overall homebuilding was at an eight-year high, he said.

Anne Baxendale, head of police and public affairs at Shelter, called the figures shocking and unacceptable, given the fact that thousands of people needed affordable housing. The Local Government Association stated that the only way to properly solve the housing crisis was for councils to replace sold properties and build more affordable homes.

Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat said that the dramatic drop in supply was extremely worrying. He urged the government to introduce both bold and strategic measures to follow through on its promise to deal with the ongoing housing crisis in the UK.

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