Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for rural affordable housing

St AlbansOn 15th December 2016 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the availability of affordable housing on the ability of both private and public sector organisations to recruit and retain staff.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the lack of affordable housing in recruiting local workers is also felt acutely in many rural areas. Rural exemption sites have proved a good way of providing affordable housing, but with the uncertainty over the recent extension of right to buy, some landowners are reluctant to bring forward land. In light of this, will Her Majesty’s Government publish clear guidelines on the potential for restrictive covenants on rural exemption sites to provide affordable housing in perpetuity for local workers?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is right to address the issue of rurality, which is a particular problem in terms of affordability. He is absolutely right that the problem is associated not merely with big urban centres. The Government are looking at this in the broad context of what to define as a rural area, and will bring forward proposals at some stage to seek to address the problem he just outlined.