One of the reasons why we object so much to this piecemeal approach is that we object to the detail here but we also object to the principle of the thin end of the wedge. There probably would not be any argument between us if the Government had a housing policy. If the Government were setting out to see that housing need was met, whether to rent or to buy, in the public sector and the private sector, and that there were sufficient houses for people to rent where they wanted to live, there would not be the artificial shortage of homes to rent—indeed, the artificial shortage in some parts of the country of homes to buy—thus forcing up prices of both homes to buy and homes to rent. No one is advocating—I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is not advocating—that that particular power in the Act be used in present circumstances, given the nature of the housing crisis.
The Opposition see no long-term future for traditional private renting for commercial profit as a form of housing tenure. For the avoidance of doubt, I reaffirm our support for shared ownership and assured tenancies, which I declared on 19 February at columns 377–78. I reaffirm also that being another person's landlord for a crude commercial profit is an unacceptable way of earning a living.