Tory MPs call for social housing boost in spending review

Signatories to letter include David Davis and Damian Green, who says social housing can be a springboard for success

A group of Conservative MPs have called for a further spending boost for social housing to help lift the economy.

David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, and former deputy prime minister Damian Green are among 16 MPs to have written a letter to the prime minister. 

They are seeking a replacement of existing social housing plans with a more ambitious scheme for the next two years. 

The move comes ahead of the Chancellor's spending review next week that will outline government spending priorities. 

The letter highlights the need for better social housing provision across the country, including in many of the "red wall" constituencies that returned Tory MPs last year. 

The MPs say many constituents are "trapped indoors in housing not fit for purpose but accruing rents they could ill-afford".

The letter urges Boris Johnson to "end the welfare dependency that could be invested in quality social homes and in doing so support the SMEs that will build them and enable people to save to support their dreams of home ownership". 

In September, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a £12bn investment into affordable housing, some of which was allocated to social housing.

However, critics of the plans pointed out that just £700m would be available over the next two years.

While Mr Jenrick's plans could result in up to 180,000 new houses being built, it remained unclear what proportion of that total would be social housing. 

Damian Green

Mr Green told The Telegraph: “Good social housing is an essential part of a healthy housing market, and for many families can be the springboard for success. Reviving social housing could be a key part of the levelling-up agenda which all Conservatives support.”

Mr Davis said: “We cannot afford to deny the next generation the same opportunities that many of my generation had when growing up. The government must now develop an ambitious plan of investment to grow the stock of good quality social housing in this country. We need to show those Red Wall, first-time Tory voters, who leant us their vote in 2019, that we have their interests at heart.”

Kate Davies, chief executive of the Notting Hill Genesis housing association said: “Social housing is home to one third of London’s police officers and ambulance staff, and one third of workers in care-related jobs. Not only would accelerating the delivery of social housing help to provide a home for key workers in our society it would play a vital role in creating jobs and strengthening the UK’s economic recovery.”

The Department for Housing Communities and Local Government spokesman said the Government was increasing the supply of affordable housing with the biggest funding commitment in a decade.

“Our new £11.5bn Affordable Homes Programme will deliver up to 180,000 new affordable homes across the country with many available for social rent to help those in the greatest need," he said.

“Our proposals to reform the planning system will bring in a new, simpler infrastructure levy that will deliver at least as much, if not more, onsite affordable housing than today.”