New low-income housing 'fell a third under Labour'

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The supply of new housing for low-income families has fallen by a third since Labour came to power, according to government figures, prompting accusations that the Government has failed to fulfill its promise of providing more affordable homes.

The supply of new housing for low-income families has fallen by a third since Labour came to power, according to government figures, prompting accusations that the Government has failed to fulfill its promise of providing more affordable homes.

Statistics compiled by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister show that 20,900 affordable homes were built by housing associations and other social landlords last year, compared with 30,800 in 1997.

Edward Davey, who shadows Mr Prescott for the Liberal Democrats, said: "These appalling figures show the stark reality of Labour's failure to deliver affordable housing ... Key public-sector workers like nurses and teachers will bear the brunt of the affordable housing shortage."

The need for extra social housing has been made more acute by the continuing rise in house prices, which was confirmed by two sets of figures last week. Fears are growing that public-sector workers in London are being priced out of the property market.

A spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said that the budget for the Housing Corporation, which funds housing associations, had increased by £1.2bn this year. He defended the figures, arguing that projects to refurbish properties to provide homes for low-income families were not included in figures for new house-building. An increase in the Government's Challenge Fund, to pay for affordable homes, would be announced later this month.

The spokesman said: "We have never claimed this is going to be solved overnight. There are big problems but we are determined to resolve areas of difficulty."

Meanwhile, a report published today by the London Assembly condemns plans by Ken Livingstone, the Mayor, for a massive expansion of the capital over the next 15 years.Mr Livingstone envisages the capital's population increasing by 700,000 as hundreds of thousands of jobs are created.

But the report warns that the transport infrastructure will be inadequate to cope with the expansion, and says that the plan is too dependent on Crossrail, the planned east-west rail link. It complains of "short-sightedness" in planning for the predicted extra jobs and claims insufficient work has been done to ensure the jobs go to Londoners.

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