Homelessness and Mortgages

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:34 pm on 16th November 1992.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Jones Mr Nigel Jones , Cheltenham 6:34 pm, 16th November 1992

No, because I have much more ground to cover.

The most remarkable contribution in today's debate was that of the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Evans). Many of his comments might lead one to think that he had a place on this side of the House. I agree with him that local authorities must be efficient in collecting rent and in turning round property. I pay tribute to Cheltenham local authority, which has cut the time between lets from seven weeks to four weeks and is reducing it still further. As a consequence, the number of families in bed-and-breakfast accommodation has also fallen and continues to do so. I point out that the council is controlled by Liberal Democrats, and that is Liberal Democrat policy in action.

The hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms. Jackson) said that she would like to see £1·75 billion of receipts released. She is right to argue that, though I believe—because I was absent from the Chamber—that the hon. Lady confused some of her figures.

The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor summed up the situation when he asserted that there is a housing crisis and that after 13 years in power it is unacceptable that under the Government there are so many individuals and families in bed-and-breakfast accommodation. I am sure that everyone on this side of the House agrees with that.

My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark and Bermondsey said that the purpose of housing policy is to provide a decent home for everyone, on a tenure of their choice, and at a price that they can afford. By any measure, the Government have failed to do that. The autumn statement does not address the issue. As the hon. Member for Leeds, West said, the autumn statement is a snowflake on an iceberg. I urge right hon. and hon. Members to reject the Government amendment and to support our motion.