Housing

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st June 1978.

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Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment 12:00 am, 21st June 1978

The only thing of importance to someone paying off a mortgage, which is a long-term exercise, is the average cost of borrowing over any period of time. The important statistic is that for every week of this Labour Government £2·50 extra has been the cost of interest rates alone for every average mortgage holder.

The fourth decision for which this Government are responsible affects the future of the building industry itself. I am delighted that the hon. Member for Walton is present. If that industry did not have problems enough as a result of the Government's economic policies, in practice it now faces the uncertainties with regard to the State threat to nationalise companies within the industry.

I know that the House will be familiar with the campaign which is being launched by the construction industry under the name of CABIN, about which we have all seen Press coverage this week. I do not intend to argue the merits one way or another in this debate, because we can do that another time. What I do say to the Government is that if they think that they will get co-operation and enthusiasm from those responsible for the construction industry by allowing the impression to gain ground that nationalisation is always on the agenda, they have no concept whatever of the diversion of management time which is now being committed in order to persuade people in Britain that they should allow that industry to remain in the free enterprise sector.

The pattern is familiar. We have seen it happen in industry after industry, where the Labour Party is prepared to pursue its narrow doctrinal purpose regardless of the efficiency of the industry or the service which it can provide to the country at large. Regrettably, it has now moved on across the whole industrial spectrum to the construction industry and the material supplies industry.