A stable home to live in is a basic need. My constituents often approach me at advice surgeries, or write to me at my constituency office, to voice their concerns about the lack of affordable housing here in Devon, to own and rent, and over the summer I met Housing groups in Torridge to hear their experiences. I am in close dialogue with my colleagues, the Housing and Treasury ministers, about what more we can do to promote a stable long-term supply of rental properties in Torridge and I expect further announcements in the spring budget. The Renters Reform Bill will also come before parliament next year, which will bring greater stability and security to tenants.

But people are happier, more secure, and more rooted in their communities when they own their own home. As for home ownership, the slow growth of our local housing stock, the proliferation of second homes, and the inherent desirability of our beautiful county have seen prices rise over many years, drastically outpacing local wages. Local authorities can help a great deal here, and they must work with developers to provide new affordable housing in the right places.

Just a few weeks ago, I had the honour of welcoming new residents to new homes in Lifton. The recently finished properties there, delivered in partnership between West Devon Borough Council, RentPlus and South Devon Rural Housing, are just the beginning of an ambitious plan to increase affordable housing in West Devon. This enables families to rent at well below market rate and save for a deposit on the house they occupy. I very much hope that a similar approach can be taken up in Torridge, and I will be asking Torridge District Council to look at their initiative.

More broadly, over 598,000 affordable homes have been built since 2010 and the Government has introduced measures to help first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder. These include a mortgage guarantee scheme which offers mortgages for those with a five per cent deposit for properties up to £600,000 in value when they might not otherwise succeeded in getting a 95% mortgage. The Lifetime ISA helps those between 18 and 39 to save for a deposit by topping up anything saved in a year by 25%, up to a limit of £1000 a year, and the price at which a residential property becomes liable to stamp duty has also been raised from £300,000 to £425,000 for first-time buyers. This will remain the case until at least 31 March 2025.

But these forms of help are still not accessible to many in Torridge and we need new approaches such as the one I saw in Lifton. Another is the new government scheme, the First Homes Scheme, which is being introduced to provide homes for first-time buyers at a minimum discount of 30% against the market value. Local authorities will be able to set a deeper minimum discount at either 40% or 50%. This discount will apply in perpetuity, enabling future generations to benefit and helping even more people to take their first step onto the property ladder.

It is my hope that our local authorities will vigorously adopt the tools these initiatives provide, which will give some hope to working people and young families of realising their ambition of owning a home.