Household Projections

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 25th November 1996.

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Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Environment 4:51 pm, 25th November 1996

First, my hon. Friend and I would disagree fundamentally about some of the reasons why we need more homes. It is sad that one in two marriages are now breaking up, as opposed to one in five. That is not something that the Government can easily reverse, but most of us ought to be concerned about the instability that it creates.

There are many reasons for the change in the figures, such as young people who are setting up home earlier, and older people who are living longer in their own homes. We must accept a number of things whether we like them or not, and it is as well to try to decide on how we will deal with them, while hoping that, by other actions—not only in this House, but by the Churches and outside organisations—we can do something about the sad destruction of the family, which is the centre of our society.

We must look more carefully at where county councils put houses, and how we target house building within our big cities and smaller towns. In addition, we must try to get some councils to stop using this subject as a party political weapon.