The last Labour Government failed to meet its Decent Homes target. It pledged in 2000 that: “We... are committed to ensuring that all social housing is of a decent standard within 10 years” (DETR, Quality and Choice: A Decent Home for All: The Housing Green Paper, April 2000, p.11). But almost one in ten homes failed to meet the standard by 2010.
Indeed, the last Labour Government actually cut the Decent Homes programme by £150 million in July 2009, cannibalising the housing programme to pay for other policies. I also observe the last Prime Minister planned to cut back housing investment, remarking before the general election: “Housing is essentially a private sector activity. Let's be honest about this... I don't see a need for us to continue with such a big renovation programme” (BBC Newsnight, 30 April 2010).
By contrast, the Coalition Government is investing £2.3 billion from 2011 to 2016 to improve the quality of existing social housing through the Decent Homes programme and large-scale voluntary transfer gap funding.
Across England, the number of non-decent local authority dwellings has fallen from 291,600 on 1 April 2010 to 184,100 in April 2013, and continues to fall thanks to our continuing investment.
The attached table shows figures for London Boroughs, based on their own estimates. Figures for some Boroughs fluctuate from year to year due to councils carrying out more thorough assessments on the state of individual properties; yet there is a clear downward trend across London.