HL Deb 02 February 1998 vol 585 cc98-9WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of Britain's housing stock is designated as under-occupied; and what additional demands for housing they expect to be created by family breakdown, expressed both as a percentage of the total housing stock and as a percentage of the 5.5 million homes which they estimate need to be constructed. [HL292]

Baroness Hayman

My department has made no such estimate of the number of homes that need to be constructed. The 1992-based projections, published in March 1995, relate to households and these indicate a 4.4 million increase in the number of households in England in the 25 year period from 1991 to 2016. However, these household projections should not be taken as an estimate of the number of additional houses which have to be built. Rather, they represent just one of the factors to he taken into account by local planning authorities when arriving at figures for housing provision to be included in regional guidance and development plans. Household projections are undertaken for Scotland and Wales on a similar basis.

No separate assessment has been made of the additional demands created by family breakdown. This is because it is not easy to categorise it readily and furthermore, not all family breakdown will lead to the formation of additional households or the need for additional dwellings. However, the group of households consisting of people living by themselves who are divorced and separated is projected to grow by a further 1.2 million in England between 1991 and 2016, with divorced and separated men representing two-thirds of this growth.

From the general household survey, in 1996–97 an estimated 31 per cent. of households in Great Britain were under-occupying, in the sense of having two or more bedrooms more than the generally accepted occupancy standard.