Fears have been raised that young people are being priced out of staying in rural East Anglia, despite a government programme to build more affordable homes.

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A Norfolk MP called for more to be done to help people get on the housing ladder in the villages and towns where they grow up following concerns about higher social housing rents and doubts over the delivery of thousands of new low-cost homes.

A new report by the Commons public accounts committee today raises “serious concerns” about the impact of financing the government’s Affordable Homes Programme, which aims to build 80,000 new social homes by March 2015.

MPs have welcomed the idea of constructing new affordable properties, but questioned the reduction in government grants for new homes and the introduction of higher housing association rents to pay for them.

Concern has also been raised that sites for half of the new homes targeted by the Department for Communities and Local Government have not yet been found or gone through the planning process.

Government funding of more than £30m has already been set aside for housing associations to build 968 new affordable homes in Norfolk and 1,037 in Suffolk.

However, members of public accounts committee fear that families living on the breadline will be priced out of living in the new homes because housing associations have been allowed to raise rents to up to 80pc of open market rents to pay for them. They have also questioned the logic of the policy, which will increase the housing benefit bill by a predicted £1.4bn over the next 30 years.

It comes after the government reduced the average grant for new affordable homes to £20,000 per home - a third of that under the previous programme.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, a member of the committee, said the homes programme was a good start, but there was much more work to do.

“It is welcome that the Affordable Homes Programme will build 80,000 new homes by 2015. However, more must be done in rural areas where young people are being priced out of the villages and market towns in which they grew up. This has a knock-on effect on the local economy, where the lack of young people can affect the viability of local pubs and shops. The government needs to find ways to make more land available for starter homes and to inject greater competition into the housing market,” he said.

A total of £1.8bn of government money is being granted to social housing providers over the four year programme, which if all built, would only address 2pc of the unmet housing need in England.

See Friday’s EDP for more.

10 comments

  • What is that man talking about, when the coalition government, which presumably he is part of has now given a get out clause to developers regarding the building of affordable homes within their new developments. The man is like most politicians in that he speaks with forked tongue.

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    John L Norton

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Ha ha, nice one ingo...fortunately, I intend to be spouting as much CO2 for next 40 odd years...Tis a plant food, a kind harmless gas. However, back to the news item, your house of straw would never work on monkey island etc, too many firestarters and other ragamuffins abode.

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    nrg

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Homes could be really affordable and warm if they are build with local materials and by those who want to live in them, should they have the time. They would be built from specially bound straw bales, grown locally, as well as timber, feature solar panels on the roof, a heat pump, rainwater retention and use for washing and flushing. BUT, the will to give up the land to build them, would have to be there in the first place and I cannot see that happening.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • nrg, I'm sure many people here would welcome you stopping breathing for ten minutes.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • ingo, the three little pigs story springs to mind....bricks and mortar, simples...even for green nutters..

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Hasnt Bacon been vehemently opposed to housebuilding up until now? Has he seen the light and realised that plebs need housing too?

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    Fred

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • look to the labour party why the social housing is in such a mess and why british people are being racially descriminated against in housing. The labour party left the social housing list at a staggering 5.2 million . This is the party who moaned when major left it at 2.5 million . The labour party also let in 3.2 million immigrants . Add that to the 2.5 million and you have your answer . . Even frank field the labour mp asked why half of all social housing is going to immigrants. Come on richard bacon. The evidence is there and your party is continuing with labours housing policy of racial descrimination of british people in their own country

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Yikes!!! lets all stop breathing then if C02 is nasty....all the greens hold your breath for 10 mins and our housing crises will be over...simples!!!

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • nrg, simples, bricks and mortar need too much energy, a Roman concept which has led us up a garden path, we can do better now and created housing with low CO2impact. But our councils planning departments are promoting high energy high pollutions methods still, despite the code for sustainable housing.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • D'oh!!! how can these homes be affordable to rent, when they need to be topped up by housing benefit???? Affordable to buy should be the agenda, with a big old price drop to match the p*ss poor wages youngsters now get...simples.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, October 12, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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