§ Mr. Laws
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what action he is taking to increase the supply of affordable housing in south Somerset; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the effects of the increase in property prices in south-west England since 1999; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McNulty
The Government recognise the pressures on affordable housing in many parts of the country, including south Somerset. Through the Housing Corporation the Government will provide £1.8 million towards delivering affordable housing in south Somerset this year. This represents an increase of £200,000 on last year, when 160 affordable housing units were provided most of which were for rent.
According to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Survey of Mortgage Lenders, house prices in south-west England rose by 31.8 per cent. during the three years 1999 to 2001. Home ownership is affordable for most people. Homeowners are benefiting from low interest rates, low unemployment and robust income growth. For people purchasing a home in south-west England during 2001, total mortgage payments averaged 17.44 per cent. of their income. This compares to 28.42 per cent. of income in 885W 1990, and is lower than 1999 (17.91 per cent.) and 2000 (19.43 per cent.). However we are well aware that there can be serious problems for many first time buyers in areas of high demand.