The number of social homes being built has decreased in numbers by 90%, since 2010 when the Conservative Party was elected, according to new official figures.
Only 1,409 of the lowest-cost homes were started in England in the 2017-2018 financial year, compared to 39,402 in 2009-2010.
However, more social housing was built last year than the previous year after ministers responded to the Grenfell Tower tragedy by promising new investment in low-cost housing.
The decrease since 2010 comes after Conservative ministers decided to relocate funding for social homes into more costly types of property, namely ‘affordable’ homes. Affordable housing is rented out at up to 80% of market value, whereas social rents are typically set at around 50% of market rates.
The Grenfell disaster pushed ministers to reconsider their approach, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid, admitting the Conservatives had “failed” on housing.
The Labour Party said the latest figures showed the government was still not investing enough in social housing.
John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, said: “A year since Theresa May admitted that the Conservatives haven’t given enough attention to social housing, it’s clear ministers are still not building the homes the country needs.
“After eight years of failure on housing, the Conservatives should back Labour’s long-term plan for a million new genuinely affordable homes.”
It comes during reports that Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has warned his cabinet colleagues that the government’s NHS cash injection, announced this week, means there is no money left for investing in other areas – including housing.
Senior ministers were said to have been told they would not be given additional funding from the Treasury, despite growing calls for investment in areas such as housing.
Dominic Raab, the housing minister, said: “It’s good news to see affordable housing starts and completions rising.
“We are ambitious to do much more to build the homes Britain needs, and to make them more affordable for those on low and middle incomes.”