The Bishop of St Albans asked the following question during a debate on the private rented sector on 20th June 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I welcome many of the reforms. However, have Her Majesty’s Government made any sort of formal economic assessment as to whether these protections will do anything to address the higher costs of private rented accommodation, which can so often drive people to social housing? If not, can they assure this House that there will be sufficient affordable social accommodation for those who really need it?
Lord Greenhalgh (Con): There are two parts to how the right reverend Prelate has put the question. The first is that we need to make sure that there is enough supply of social housing, otherwise people who should be in social housing rather than in private housing lose out. There is a real commitment in the affordable homes programme to deliver far more social rented homes: 32,000, which is double the amount of social rented homes in this period than in the previous one. On the cost of living, the best thing is to take action now, and there have been quite a few measures. Some are universal but some are aimed at pensioners; there is a separate one-off payment of £300 to 8 million pensioner households, and obviously there are the measures around people who require support around the costs of essentials. The Government have stepped in where there need to be specific measures, as well as universal measures around fuel bills. Equally, however, the right reverend Prelate is right that we need to ensure that we continue to build more homes and especially ensure that there are more social homes.
Extracts from the speeches that followed:
Baroness Thornhill (LD): In that case, may I ask why the Government have frozen the local housing allowance, which was the question I asked, if they have what sounds like a very sincere commitment to social housing? Following what the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans said, I was thinking that the people we are really concerned about, with the grottiest landlords and flats and the worst deals, in the past would have been in the social housing sector being looked after by good councils and housing associations. We are really trying to play catch up but let us not kid ourselves; it is a huge task that we have.
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