The Labour MP and Building columnist responds to Andrew Stunnell’s latest column in a letter to the editor
I have rarely read such a preposterous collection of unjustified boasts and misleading statistics as Sir Andrew Stunell’s article (“A cause for celebration”, 7 March 2014, page 28).
The very fact that he wants to celebrate in the midst of one of the most acute housing crises of recent history speaks volumes. None of his claims survives a serious analysis of the figures, so to put the record straight:
The latest figures from his former department, Communities and Local Government, for the number of additional affordable homes built by this government is 45,000 (April 2010 - April 2013) not the 90,000 that Stunell claims.
By comparison, 91,000 affordable homes were added to the stock in the last three years of the Labour government, so the coalition is doing worse than its predecessor, not better as Stunell claims.
What is unforgiveable about these misleading claims is the way they ignore the collapse of the supply of truly affordable social lettings to be replaced by so called ‘affordable rent’ tenancies
Nick Raynsford, MP
Like his former ministerial colleague, Grant Shapps, Stunell bases most of his claims on estimates of the number of new homes likely to be generated in future (“at least 150,000 by May 2015”). The only difference between Stunell’s and Shapps’ hollow boasts is that Shapps’ figures were larger and therefore even more misleading.
He used to claim that 175,000 new social and affordable homes would be created in just three years.
But what is most unforgiveable about these misleading claims is the way they ignore entirely the collapse of the supply of truly affordable social lettings to be replaced by so-called “affordable rent” tenancies at anything up to 80% of market rents.
As Savills demonstrated for the G15 housing association group last year, the supply of homes at social rents fell from 34,190 in 2009/10 to just 9,577 in 2011/12. The Housing Forum in its recent report (“Making a place for low cost housing”) commented “if this trend continues, it will inevitably create an unsustainable division between those able to access housing which is affordable to their income and those who cannot”.
No cause for celebration here, Sir Andrew.
Nick Raynsford MP, Labour