The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answer on 14th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government:
- given the current definition of affordable housing in the National Planning Policy Framework, whether they consider that rents set at 80 per cent of market rates should continue to be described as ‘affordable rent’ when this represents more than a third of the income of the average tenant in such accommodation
- whether they plan to calculate the affordability of housing on the basis of the income of potential tenants.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con): There are no plans to change the definition of affordable housing set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The definition makes it clear that 80% is the ceiling that social housing providers have to meet in order for it to be classified as affordable housing for rent, but can be set lower in order to meet the needs of local residents.
Social Rent is a tenure which is already assessed based on local earnings. It is calculated by using 30% of the property’s relative value (based back to 1999), 70% of the relative local income levels (based back to 1999) and applying a weighting based on the number of bedrooms so that smaller properties will have lower rents.
Our Levelling Up White Paper commits to increasing the number of social rent homes.
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