Affordable housing starts were up last year but completions slightly down, according to new official statistics.

London housing

The latest affordable housing figures, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), show that in the year ending March 2014 there were 41,654 affordable housing starts on site delivered in England.

This total represents an increase of 15% compared to the 36,090 dwellings started in 2012 to 2013 via the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) and Greater London Authority programmes.

However, 36,352 affordable homes were completed in 2013 to 2014 - a decrease of 1% compared to the 36,733 completions in 2012-13.

Breaking down the figures, the HCA said it had delivered 34,461 housing completions and 38,845 starts on site in its programme during the financial year ending 31 March 2014.

Of the completions in the HCA 2013-14 programme, which does not cover homes delivered in London by the GLA, 27,643 were affordable homes and 6,818 open market units.

Citing figures showing that nearly 200,000 affordable homes had been delivered since 2010, which includes homes funded though the previous government’s programme, housing minister Kris

Hopkins described the government’s affordable housebuilding efforts as a “clear success story”.

However Labour’s shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds highlighted the fall in the volume of completions.

She said: “In the midst of a massive housing shortage it is shocking that the number of affordable homes built continues to fall under this government.

“We have repeatedly called for action on housing supply, particularly on the need for more affordable homes, but this government has failed to act.

“Under David Cameron the number of homes built has fallen to the lowest level in peacetime since the 1920s.”

The HCA figures also showed that the agency disposed of enough land for 5,944 homes, against a target of 4,771; and for 263,182 sq m of employment floorspace against a target of 194,028 sq m.

In addition, the HCA created over 320,000 sq m of office, commercial and employment floorspace, against a target of 220,033 sq m and brought 114 ha of previously developed land back into use for housing or commercial development, against a target of 98 ha.