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Andrew Stunell responds to an article in the Guardian on social housing

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell responds to an article in the Guardian suggesting that families will be priced out of social housing by …

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell responds to an article in the Guardian suggesting that families will be priced out of social housing by plans for higher rents.

Dear Sir,

Far from what your article suggested, social rents will not increase to 80 per cent of market levels “across the board” (Families on benefit ‘will be priced out of social housing’, Sunday 21 August). Our Affordable Homes programme will lead to thousands more homes being delivered over the next four years, as well as ensuring the mix of homes this country needs are built.

Appetite for our Affordable Homes Programme has far exceeded expectations - we now expect to provide up to 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015, compared to the 150,000 originally. As providers have bid to offer affordable rent homes, their rents have been set at a range of levels up to 80 per cent of market rent - and in London, the majority of these were well below 80 per cent.

As a Government we have been clear from the outset that these changes will not affect the tenancy rights of existing tenants, or the wider responsibilities of landlords. Existing social tenants will still pay the same rent levels they are now, and some 95 per cent of new social tenants will still be on social rents in 2015. These homes will be available to help some of the millions of people stuck on waiting lists across the country. And your article also failed to highlight how this research from the Cambridge Centre recognises how the Affordable Rent programme could ease the strain of meeting private rents for thousands of struggling families.

Andrew Stunell MP Communities Minister