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General Election 2017: Barwell admits social rent homes would be let at 'affordable' rent levels

Words: Laura Edgar
Gavin Barwell | Cabinet Office

Housing minister Gavin Barwell has admitted that a ‘new generation’ of homes for social rent, promised early in the campaign, will be let at 'affordable' rent levels.

In May, the Conservatives announced plans for deals with councils and housing associations to build “a new generation” of social rent homes. The statement said the party, should it remain in government, would support “the most ambitious” council and housing associations.

The deal would see a proportion of the social rented homes sold after 10 to 15 years. Proceeds from the sales would be invested in more social housing, while the tenant would receive first refusal on buying the house when it is put up for sale.

However, in an interview with Inside Housing (subscription), Barwell said they would be let at "affordable" rents rather than social rent. This can be up to 80 per cent of the market rate.

When asked if the new homes would be let at “low level council rents”, Barwell said: “No, I think the idea is that they are what you’d call affordable rents in housing terminology, but they are social housing.”

Social rent is set according to government formulas. They are lower than affordable rates, particularly in high rent areas.

Social rent homes have not been funded by the government since 2010, when then chancellor George Osborne cut housing funding.

Image credit | Cabinet Office