18 September 2012 | By Carl Brown, Inside Housing

Labour will oppose the ‘weakening’ of section 106 agreements and is in favour of grant funding for social housing, the shadow housing minister has said. In a speech to the National Housing Federation conference in Birmingham yesterday, Jack Dromey said Labour will put housing, jobs and growth ‘centre-stage’.

Mr Dromey attacked the government for allowing section 106 agreements, which require developers to include affordable housing in developments, to be waived where schemes are unviable.

He said: ‘It is absolutely wrong for the government to rob communities and councils of their ability to use section 106 to insist on affordable house building in any development. We cannot have, especially in our big cities, this dangerous drift [towards] the residualisation of social housing.’

Mr Dromey said Labour will commit ‘grant and investment’ for housing but did not expand on whether this would represent an increase on the £1.8 billion of grant spent on affordable housing by the coalition government in the 2011-15 affordable homes programme. He said: ‘You can’t have subsidised housing without subsidy.’

He also pledged ‘greater stability, security, affordability and quality’ in the private rented sector through the regulation of lettings agents. He said: ‘The private rented sector has an important role to play, but not on its current terms.’

Earlier, Mervyn Jones, chief executive of Yorkshire Housing, warned that revenue models that raise rents to increase capacity of associations ‘in the end always cost more to the public purse and of course help us reach our capacity quicker.’

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