Bishop of St Albans asks about number of social homes built in the past five years

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 15th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of social homes built in each local authority area in each of the last five years.

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Bishop of Durham speaks about need for more social and affordable housing

The Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate on housing demand on 8th November 2022, emphasising the need to build more social housing and affordable homes:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I begin by commending the report and thank the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, for introducing this debate. I also commend the work of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Chelmsford, who, as the Church of England’s lead bishop for housing, has tirelessly engaged with this issue and the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill.

Last year, the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community published its Coming Home report, which set out a vision for housing to be sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying. It is through these values that strong and lasting communities can be built, enabling people to thrive and flourish. It was very interesting to note how warmly these five values were welcomed by the industry itself as a guide.

However, the reality is that a large proportion of housing in this country does not embody these values. It is widely stated that we face a housing crisis, including a shortage of social housing. Social housing is designed to help those whose needs are not served by the market, most commonly those on the lowest incomes. However, when Meeting Housing Demand was published, 1.9 million households were on local authority waiting lists for social housing in England. With rents and interest rates rapidly rising, more households are being pushed into poverty and this list is only growing longer.

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Queen’s Speech: Bishop of Chelmsford speaks about housing

On 11th May 2022, the House of Lords debated the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I am delighted to follow my right reverend friend the Bishop of Guildford and I congratulate him on his excellent maiden speech. I warmly welcome him to the House and to these Benches, and I have no doubt that he will have a significant contribution to make, drawing not only on his long ordained ministry in a diverse range of social settings, as we have already heard a little about, but from his wider life experiences. It may well be that he has been a loss to the world of law and music but definitely a gain to the world of the Church. I very much look forward to working with him here in the future.

Last year I was appointed to be the Church of England’s lead bishop on housing, so I was especially pleased to see the references in Her Majesty’s gracious Speech to the needs of our social housing sector. I welcome the opportunities that the social housing regulation Bill will provide in this Session to make some valuable progress.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government to increase social housing

On 16th June Baroness Sanderson of Welton asked Her Majesty’s Government “when they plan to publish the social housing White Paper“. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on the loss of social housing units.

The Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, these Benches welcome the upcoming White Paper, but we are still losing tens of thousands of social housing units annually, with a net loss of 17,000 in 2019 alone. Can the Minister confirm to your Lordships’ House that increasing social housing will be addressed in the White Paper, and is he able to give us some indication as to the steps that Her Majesty’s Government will implement to address this worrying decline?

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Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government to listen to Church commission on housing

19.01.09 abcOn 2nd July 2019 Lord Evans of Watford asked the Government “what steps they are taking to increase the number of homes for social rent”. The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, asked a follow-up question:

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his point about social housing delivery. He is right that it has been a challenge for successive Governments. We have delivered 79,000 social homes since 2010, which, it has to be said, is better than the numbers achieved in the previous nine years. In relation to his point about garden villages, we had previously announced 29 and last week we announced another 19. That is significant. It includes providing a special community village for dementia-friendly housing, which again is very good news, and I hope that that will also feed into the discussions that we are having about modern methods of construction.

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome very much that last answer. In that connection I declare an interest, in that I have set up a commission to look into the housing crisis and the contribution that can be made by civil society and particularly the Churches. It comprises a former Permanent Secretary and a huge number of significant experts. One of the commission’s earliest priorities is to look at how we create communities rather than simply build houses. That means that there is a need for multipurpose community facilities and for looking at the sociological aspects as well as the mere physical construction. Will the Minister undertake to listen to the representations from that and similar inquiries over the next 18 months to two years?

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Church Commissioners Written Answer – Social Housing

On 19th October 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered a written question from the Rt Hon. Frank Field MP on social housing.

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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? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester raises need for more social housing in rural areas”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government to invest in social rented housing

St Albans 2On 29th November 2016, Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government, “further to the announcement in the Autumn Statement that they will invest £1.4 billion to deliver 40,000 affordable homes, how many affordable houses to rent they expect local authorities to build by 2020.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans My Lords, in the financial year 2015-16, the Government’s own statistics show that just 6,550 homes for social rent were completed. That is the lowest number since records began and far below the just under 40,000 completed in the years 2010-11. Would the Minister agree with me that whatever the value of other forms of affordable tenure, only social rented housing is going to deal with the problem faced by the most disadvantaged communities? Will he further tell the House what the Government are doing to address this rapid decline in the provision of this form of housing?

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