HC Deb 09 May 1994 vol 243 c64W
Mr. Patchett

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action Her Majesty's Government are taking to ensure affordable housing in rural areas; what statistical information he has of rural housing need; if he will publish it; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young

We provide funding through the Housing Corporation's annual approved development programme for new social housing in rural and non-rural areas. In rural areas—defined as settlements with a population of 3,000 or less—the ADP has approved funds through the corporation's rural programme for more than 6,000 new units between 1989–90 and 1992–93; and some 2,200 units in 1993–94—exceeding the Government's target by some 19 per cent. In 1994–95 the corporation aims to approve a further 1,850 new units.

In addition, the Rural Development Commission provides support for the work of the Rural Housing Trust to assist the setting up and support of rural housing associations, and for other measures which facilitate the supply of social housing in rural areas.

The resources for the ADP are distributed each year in accordance with my Department's housing needs index. The index is calculated for all local authority districts, and the individual scores are published annually by the Housing Corporation.

My Department does not specifically compile information on rural housing need. However, we are currently carrying out research into the nature and causes of housing need in rural England with the aim of identifying possible solutions. We expect the results to be published in due course.

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