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 1.3 million new homes have been delivered since 2010, including over 407,000 affordable homes and 135,000 homes for social rent.
I agree that more funding is needed to build social housing and that barriers to development must be addressed. The £9 billion Affordable Homes programme, a part of the £44 billion committed by the Government to improving the housing market, 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 and improve the housing delivery of local authorities. A £5.5 billion fund has been established to unlock more homes by putting in place vital infrastructure in high-demand areas.
Under the last Government, waiting lists for social housing increased 73 per cent, rising from just over 1,000,000 households in 1997 to nearly 1,800,000 households by 2009. I am encouraged that social housing waiting lists have declined by 36 per cent since then to around 1,100,000 households.
I agree that more needs to be done to improve the market and I am confident that the upcoming Spending Review will consider the best way forward in increasing the availability of social and affordable housing.