§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure increased access to high-quality low-cost housing. 
§ Mr. Mullin
The recently announced spending plans for 2001–02 to 2003–04 provide extra investment of £1.6 billion for housing and will increase both the quality and supply of low cost housing. This extra investment includes an additional £872 million over the next three years for new social rented housing provided through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme. It also includes an additional £250 million between 2001–02 and 2003–04 to expand our support for low cost home ownership through the new Starter Home Initiative.
Local authorities are also able to use their additional resources towards the provision of affordable housing, where this best meets local needs. We have recently reinforced the powers available to local authorities to seek the provision of affordable housing as a proportion of new private developments. We will be issuing best practice guidance to help authorities to make more effective use of these powers.
Our spending plans will also ensure that we tackle the backlog of repairs and modernisation in local authority housing in line with our target to bring all social housing up to a decent standard within a decade.
For full details of our planned investment in the quality and provision of low cost housing, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas) on 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 398–404W.