Is the Minister aware that those figures are pathetic when set against the need for housing in the north-west region? When the Secretary of State visits the north-west next week, and especially when he visits the city of Salford, will he please listen intently to the representations that will be made by that authority about the devastating effect on its housing programme of the severe cuts in housing investment programme money during the past six years?
My right hon. Friend is looking forward to his visit to the north-west in a few days' time. He will, of course, listen attentively to representations made by local councillors about the gravity of the housing situation there. I hope the hon. Gentleman agrees that the figures that I gave show a welcome increase in the number of completions in the north-west region.
Does my hon. Friend agree that, although it is important to consider the house building programme in the north-west, the building programme in the southeast is equally important? A planning application in the south-east region had a public inquiry two and a half years ago, and one single inspector has yet to make up his mind one way or the other.