3 million new homes will include social housing

Govt promises more social housing
Govt promises more social housing

Social housing will feature noticeably in the government's pledge to build three million new homes, ministers have claimed.

Charities and opposition politicians had raised concerns low income renters would be overlooked under Gordon Brown's plans to build three million new homes by 2020.

Mr Brown and housing minister Yvette Cooper have sought to reassure them, however, that the government will promote the provision of social housing.

Ms Cooper told politics.co.uk the government has already overseen a 50 per cent increase in social housing in the past three years.

"But we need to go further," she said, "with local councils playing a stronger role to tackle overcrowding and help people on council waiting lists."

In a departure from previous planning policies, Ms Cooper has said the government will not support segregated housing developments but instead a mixture of social housing and private apartments.

Downing Street has said this autumn's comprehensive spending review will determine in part how many new council homes can be built.

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to prioritises social housing in order to compensate for past shortages.

Writing for politics.co.uk, Lib Dem communities spokesman Andrew Stunell said innovative ways of producing social housing could be found, arguing the government can produce some social housing without recourse to subsidy.

Mr Brown has hinted this week's green paper will allow councils to raise funds by using their own land for new housing and then retaining the income from council houses to fund further building projects.

The prime minister's target of three million new homes will require 240,000 new properties to be built every year.

The Conservatives have accused the government of giving the greenlight to the destruction of the greenbelt, after communities secretary Hazel Blears and chancellor Alistair Darling said environmental concerns must not be able to override the need to boost housing supply.

Writing for politics.co.uk, Ms Cooper said the government is still committed to protecting the greenbelt and will further set targets for producing sustainable 'eco-communities'.

To meet building targets the government will instead seek to use dormant publicly owned land. Mr Brown has already told Cabinet ministers to look at whether land owned by their departments could be redeveloped for residential properties.

The government estimates 500 such sites could be suitable for development, producing 100,000 new homes.


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