The Coalition did not build more affordable homes in a year than Labour did in 13 years of government

10 June 2022
What was claimed

The Conservative-led Coalition built more affordable homes in one year after 2010 than the Labour party did in 13 years in office.

Our verdict

Incorrect. More than 550,000 affordable homes were completed during the period of Labour government. The most completed in any subsequent year of Conservative or coalition government has been about 66,000.

We built more affordable homes in one year of the incoming Conservative government after 2010—or Coalition government—than the Labour party did in 13 years in office.

During a press conference in Blackpool, the Prime Minister said that the Conservative-led Coalition government built more affordable homes in a single year than the previous Labour government did in 13 years.

A reader asked us if this was true. It isn’t.

There is no generally agreed definition of affordable housing, but by the total measure used on the government’s own data for England, the number of affordable homes built during Labour’s 13 years in office was far higher than in any single year since.

What does the data say?

Data on the provision of affordable homes is released separately for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Housing is also a devolved matter, which makes it more appropriate to focus on house building statistics for England when talking about the record of central governments. Even so, including data from the other nations would not change our conclusion.

According to data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), 557,217 new affordable homes were completed in England in the 13 years between 1997/98 and 2009/10, inclusive.

This is far higher than the total completed in 2010/11 (which was 61,089), or in any subsequent year—the highest of which was 2014/15, when 65,959 new affordable homes were completed in England.

According to DLUHC, “Affordable housing is the sum of social rent, affordable rent, intermediate rent (including London Living Rent), affordable home ownership, shared ownership and London affordable rent.”

Full Fact contacted the Prime Minister’s office to ask for his source on this figure, but at the time of writing, we have not received a response. We can find no way of altering the DLUHC definition which would mean that fewer affordable homes were built in 13 years of Labour government than in any single year since.

If the Prime Minister meant to say that more affordable homes were built in the first year of the Coalition government than in any single year of the previous Labour government, this would be true in England.

The highest number in a single year of Labour’s time in office was in 2009/10, at 58,297, which is lower than the 61,089 completed the following year. (Although the division between these years does not align perfectly with the parties’ periods in government, and some of the homes completed in 2010/11 would have been started under Labour.)

Image courtesy of UK Government

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After we published this fact check, we contacted Boris Johnson to request a correction regarding this claim.

He did not respond. 

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