Thank you for contacting me about Shelter's Building Our Way Out report and the New Homes Rescue Fund.
The report raises many important points about our economic recovery, challenges faced by tenants and the need for further investment in housebuilding across the country. I recognise the multiple difficulties that the current pandemic presents, especially when there is still much uncertainty over what further temporary measures may be needed to keep people safe and protect livelihoods.
The lockdown has been a hard time for many, especially those that were shielding throughout the pandemic to stay safe. The six-month eviction moratorium has helped protect thousands of households in their homes, while the new six-month eviction notice period will provide further stability. During the winter, evictions will not be enforced and no notices served until 11 January at the earliest, except in egregious cases such as domestic abuse. I realise the stress that restrictions have placed on individuals and families, and I hope we can get to a point where people can fully resume their lives in a safe way.
I believe we should be building more homes of all tenures, including affordable homes and social housing. Only then can we fix the housing market and ensure there are enough homes for people to live. You may be interested to know that this year's Budget made the single largest investment toward affordable housing in a decade. The new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme is expected to deliver 180,000 homes in the coming years, helping to make sure homes are both available and affordable.
I do not believe that the duration of this programme should be shortened at this time, as this could put at risk thousands of homes that have seen construction delayed and disrupted by the pandemic. This is the reason why the current programme was extended by another year to ensure affordable homes are built and not lost.
At this time of difficulty for so many, it is important to consider all options to aid our national recovery and support those most vulnerable. The Spending Review announced nearly £20 billion of investment in housing, the single biggest investment in new homes in England’s history. This includes the National Home Building Fund, which will provide £7.1 billion over four years and unlock up to 860,000 new homes. It will back smaller developers, unlock brownfield sites and support innovation in construction.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP