HC Deb 26 March 2004 vol 419 cc1115-6W
Mr. Sanders

: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to meet the Office for National Statistics prediction of a need for 56 million homes in the United Kingdom by 2021.[163670]

Keith Hill

: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was not able to identify the source of the reference to `56 million homes'. The latest population projections by Government Actuary's Department show the UK population rising from 59 million in 2002 to 63 million in 2021. It is, however, the number of households that relates to homes. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's 1996 based household projections for England show household numbers rising to 24 million in 2021 an increase of 3 million households from 2001.

The Sustainable Communities plan, published in February 2003, set out a programme of action on how to ensure a better balance between housing supply and demand across the regions.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is addressing the housing shortage in areas of high demand, especially in London and the wider South East, through a step change in housing supply.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is working with local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that existing planned levels of housing provision are delivered—this means an additional 930,000 homes by 2016.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also progressing delivery of the Growth Areas—which, along with London, have the capacity to deliver 200,000 additional homes above current planning targets by 2016.

The latest revisions to Regional Planning Guidance now underway are looking further—to 2021. Policy options will take into account the Barker Review's finding that current levels of housing supply are not sufficient. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister agrees that to deliver our commitment to stability and affordability in the housing market a significant increase in development over time is needed. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister needs to consider the scale of such development and how it can be delivered both in high demand areas and in areas suffering problems of low demand. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also need to balance the economic case for increased development against its social and environmental implications. The need to reflect all these issues in our policies, in order to avoid the mistakes of the past, underpins our commitment to deliver, not just more housing, but sustainable communities that people want to live in.