Part of Adjournment (Easter) – in the House of Commons at 6:22 pm on 2nd March 1989.

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Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton 6:22 pm, 2nd March 1989

I shall not give way. After all, the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) spoke for 10 minutes. If we are to discuss these matters, we should be really concerned about them.

I shall conclude by quoting some figures. The hon. Member for Derbyshire, South also used figures. According to the Department of Environment housing and construction statistics published in October 1988, a total of 81,099 local authority houses were started in 1977. In 1979 the figure was 47,465, but by 1988 the figure had fallen to 15,204. Those are not my figures; they are the Department's figures.

I can also quote other figures, such as those relating to the homeless. A recent written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) shows that, at the end of June 1979, only seven local authorities had over 20 and up to 50 homeless households requiring bed-and-breakfast accommodation. By the end of March 1988, a total of 26 towns and cities had more than 20 homeless households. The position is becoming worse.

I do not have time to quote all the facts and figures, but the housing crisis still exists. It is worse than it has ever been for ordinary working people, especially in London. Where do ordinary working people in London live? From where can they get housing? There are not even the rooms that used to exist. That is why there is such a rise in the number of homeless. We have to do something about it. The only solution is to get rid of the Government's policies. I hope that when a Labour Government are elected, we shall tackle the housing crisis for the first time. I believe passionately that no Government have really dealt with it properly. Like many workers among the Opposition, I know about living in lousy, rotten conditions and it is about time that it was stopped once and for all.