Orders of the Day — Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:10 pm on 7th May 1996.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Coombs Mr Anthony Coombs , Wyre Forest 8:10 pm, 7th May 1996

In giving a general but not unequivocal welcome to the Bill, I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister for Construction, Planning and Energy Efficiency on his hard work, particularly with the building industry, and his almost unrivalled grasp of the issues involved. It is a shame that he is not in his place—he has probably gone to dinner—nevertheless it should be recognised that he has done a wonderful job.

I should first declare an interest. I am proud to have been in the housebuilding industry for the past 20 years and I understand some of the problems that have been mentioned, particularly in respect of part II of the Bill. I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Sir S. Chapman) that I have always used an architect. Generally speaking, the architectural profession produces excellent work.

It would be remiss of me to mention some aspects of the Bill without referring to the extraordinary remarks by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn). He said that Conservative Members tended to laugh at what he had to say. I certainly did not laugh; I found his words absolutely chilling. I am glad that he said them, however, as I suspect that they reflect the views of a large proportion of Labour Members.