'Affordable' housing gets £3bn boost

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Indy Politics

An extra £3bn investment was announced by Yvette Cooper, the Housing minister, for "affordable" housing in Gordon Brown's drive to end the housing shortage. But it could still take 32 years to clear the backlog of 1.6 million who are on council waiting lists for social housing to rent.

Ms Cooper hailed the Green Paper on housing yesterday as "the most significant programme of housebuilding for decades'' and "an ambitious positive response to the growing challenges that many people face in their day-to-day lives''.

Councils will be forced through the use of grants to identify more land for housing to meet the Government's target of two million new homes by 2016 and three million by 2020. The budget for affordable housing will be increased from £5bn to £8bn and the Green Paper proposes a rise in "social housing" of 45,000 to 50,000 by 2011, amounting to 200,000 homes. But at that rate it could take 32 years to clear the council housing backlog.

The strategy is aimed at helping many young people buy a property for the first time, possibly on shared equity schemes, by releasing more land for 70,000 "affordable" houses a year by 2011.