Orders of the Day — Housing and Planning Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 4th February 1986.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr 4:38 pm, 4th February 1986

I shall not give way now. I shall do so in a few minutes. I do not want to delay the House unnecessarily. but I have quite a lengthy speech and I wish to complete it.

The housing crisis is all around us. We hear so from Conservative Members who say that they do not want houses in their constituencies. The nature of the crisis in their constituencies must be different from what it is in the constituencies of my right hon. and hon. Friends. Britain has a diversity of housing, so no single plan can be held up to meet the crisis. There is no question of anyone arguing that that could be the case.

It is a statement of the obvious to say that we should aim for homes that are dry, allow privacy, and are well maintained and secure. For millions of our fellow citizens that is not achieved. To be precise, 4 million households in England suffer that injustice. Two out of nine homes in England are either unfit, lacking in basic amenities, or in need of substantial renovation. That adds up to a coalition of several million badly housed people, owners and tenants alike. They will not thank anyone for seeking to erect artificial barriers of tenure and finance between them and a decent home. The best definition of decent housing is that in which people are happy. Happiness comes from control over one's life, including one's home. To meet that objective, we need a coherent housing policy. We must test the Bill against that aim.

The Government's short answer is that they are not selling enough flats, but they fail to appreciate why. I claim that people will not buy what they cannot sell. It is a bad bargain at any price, as the owners of defective concrete houses have discovered.