Bishop of Winchester raises need for more social housing in rural areas

On 5th December 2017 Baroness Jones of Whitchurch asked Her Majesty’s Government “what actions they plan to take to tackle rural poverty.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, housing is a key factor in evaluating poverty. In the county of Hampshire alone, over 20,000 people are on council-house waiting lists, with over 4,000 of them in the New Forest. Given that the Government have recently announced significant new funding for new housebuilding and new affordable homes, can the Minister give us a clear indication of the expected spending on homes for social rent in rural areas?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The right reverend Prelate raises another important issue, that of affordable housing in the countryside. Between 2010 and 2017, 119,000 affordable homes were delivered in rural local authorities in England. We want to do better, which is why the Government have increased funding for the 2016 to 2021 affordable homes programme in England to more than £9 billion. Clearly, I—and other Ministers—want to ensure that rural housing associations bid for this programme, because it is important to ensure it for multigenerational situations in villages.