§ 48. Mr. Robert Hicks
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to increase the rate of provision of low-cost housing both to buy and for rent in rural areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chope
Over the last two years the Government have announced a series of measures to promote provision of low-cost housing to rent and buy in rural areas. We have more than doubled public funding through the Housing Corporation for new investment by housing associations, so enabling the corporation to increase the targets for rented housing under its special rural programme to 1,500 a year by 1992–93 and identify a rural element within its low-cost home ownership programme. We have also made changes to the planning rules, to permit development of low-cost housing for local needs on sites not previously designated for housing, and introduced a repurchase scheme to ensure that shared ownership housing in rural areas remains available for local people. Taken together, and along with the steps we have taken to free the private748W rented market, these measures should make a major contribution to increasing the supply of low-cost housing to meet local needs in rural areas.