§ 9. Mr. Miller
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many rented homes were provided through the Housing Corporation in 1993–94; and how many will be provided in 1995–96. 
§ Mr. Miller
Those figures are somewhat misleading. Data provided by the Government in their own statistics show a massive fall in approvals from 1993–94 to the current year and a fall in completions. Add that to the difficulties faced by local authorities because of the rather ridiculous restrictions placed on them by central Government and the fact that the house building market has stagnated because of the Government's fiscal policies, and it is no wonder that we have a housing crisis. When are the Government going to do anything about it?
§ Mr. Curry
What matters is that properties become available, and it makes sense to use resources to make the maximum number of properties available for whatever resources are available. It makes a great deal of sense, for example, to use tenants' incentive schemes, encouraging people to buy in the private sector and freeing up property, because of their effect on the number of properties entering the marketplace for new tenants.
§ Mr. Curry
The hon. Gentleman should not forget that about 250,000 local authority housing association tenancies become available each year, and that 75 per cent. of the programme to which he referred is for homes to rent. He should have the common sense to realise that the important thing is to free up the maximum number of properties so that people can take advantage of them. He should not become too hooked on the idea of new build and he certainly should not become hooked on the idea that local authorities should throw some mythical crock of gold into the gap. Even Members on his own Front Bench will not tell us how they would manage that.
§ Ms Hodge
I agree that it is important to have properties available, but it is also important that properties should be available at affordable rents. Does the Minister agree that, when he allocates grants to housing associations through the Housing Corporation next year, he will have to have regard to the quality of what is produced and the existing rents of those housing associations?
§ Mr. Curry
Therefore, she speaks with some experience on that matter. We are obviously reflecting on questions of the type that the hon. Lady asked us, because 340 it is important to ensure that rent increases do not reach the point at which they start costing resources and that maximum use of resources is made. I am sure that, if the hon. Lady will bide her time, she will discover that we shall cover those in the forthcoming publication.
§ Mr. Raynsford
To put the record straight, may I remind the Minister that his Department recently published a memorandum confirming the need for 60,000 to 100,000 rented homes to be built each year, and that at the same time his Department's annual report—which I assume he does not repudiate—shows that output from the Housing Corporation's approved development programme this year will generate only 18,900 rented homes, not the much larger figure to which the Minister tried to refer in his answer?
Although I understand the Minister's wish to obfuscate and confuse the issue, will he now come clean and reveal that he is responsible for reducing the output of rented housing to the lowest point for 50 years?
§ Mr. Curry
I thought the hon. Gentleman would come up with that one. He is confusing new building and new letting. Let us place the facts on the record. In 1995–96, 36,000 properties will be made available in approved development programme lettings, 7,200 properties will be released by tenants' incentive schemes and about 2,820 will be released by do-it-yourself shared ownership. That gives a figure of 46,020, to which I referred in my earlier answer.