With respect—perhaps I should not say that, because it usually means that one is not showing sufficient respect—the hon. Gentleman has got my words wrong. I was referring to the conduct of the housing market. Much earlier in the debate, my right hon. Friend referred to the management of the economy as a whole. I am concerned about that, but I was referring to something much more specific. There was the bubble, the boom, that occurred well before the oil crisis.
The economic crisis that ensued as a result of the oil crisis late in 1973 came after the collapse was setting in in the housing market and the property market generally. Halfway through 1973, before the Yom Kippur war which led to the oil crisis, there was all the evidence of a collapse. Decisions were being made by house builders in the latter part of 1973 which led to the 106,000 starts in 1974, compared with 228,000 in 1973. I was confining myself to a particular facet and not concerning myself with the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis at this stage.
However, pursuing the point, hon. Members should pay attention to the figures being quoted by builders themselves who, I think we would all agree, are not natural optimists. They are expecting 150,000 housing starts this year.