I am fully committed to supporting the social rented sector and its 4 million households. With social housing stock across England plummeting by almost half a million homes between 1997 and 2010, I recognise that this has made it harder for some families to access social housing. Over 1.5 million new homes have been delivered in the last decade including almost 500,000 affordable homes and over 300,000 affordable homes for rent.
More funding is needed to build social housing and that barriers to development must be addressed. The £9 billion Affordable Homes programme will help deliver more affordable housing and socially rented homes.
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 Housing Infrastructure Fund will be established to unlock more homes by putting in place vital infrastructure in high-demand areas.
Waiting lists for social housing increased 73 per cent in the past, rising from just over a million households in 1997 to almost two million households by 2009. I am encouraged that social housing waiting lists have declined by 34 per cent since then to 1,200,000 households.
I agree that more needs to be done to improve housebuilding, which is why I welcome that the recent Spending Review promised continued support through Help to Buy loans and other housing programmes to deliver more homes where people need them.