Duty to Keep Housing Revenue Account

Part of Clause 71 – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 7th November 1989.

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Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks , Newham North West 8:45 pm, 7th November 1989

I do not disagree. I have said that many decisions taken by Tory and Labour-controlled Labour authorities under Governments of both complexions are not defensible in retrospect. They were explicable and understandable, but they were indefensible in social terms. I am trying to deal with the problem that we haw inherited. It is no good the hon. Lady saying that we should not have built these blocks. Rightly or wrongly, we built them and now we have to try to deal with them. The problem is not only in Newham; it is found in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow and many other cities.

It was not only Labour local authorities that built tower blocks; all local authorities built them. Apart from anything else, they were part of the fashion, and architects and planners wanted to destroy all the existing properties and start from a green field site and build vertical streets. I should like to get hold of some of those architects and planners, put them on the 22nd floor, nail the door and leave them there for a few years to see what it is like. Architects, planners and developers do not live in such places; they just build them for other people to live in. They live in nice rural retreats deep in the country.

9.30 pm

I say to those people and to hon. Members that by all means they should have the good things in life, but they should not deny them to other people. That is precisely what the Government do day in day out with the sort of policies that they pursue. I have made my point about the amendments. The Minister should remember that we have not invented the housing crisis in London. It has been created by the policies of the Government. If the Government are not prepared to change those policies, they should go, and every homeless person will throw his hands in the air and cheer to the echo the end of this Government and their damnable policies.