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

My hon. Friend must accept that we have tried to make sure that we have in place the policies to ensure that the greening and the improvement of our cities takes place, and cities must be prepared to look again at the way in which they develop. We must remember that about 80 per cent. of the units required will be for one-person families. Therefore, the nature of the housing and of the building, for example, the mixed development, will be different from the traditional family housing that we have discussed in the past.

Many of those people would prefer to live in the centre of the city because they want to be near all the amenities. If one is on one's own, it is more difficult to manage a suburban or a rural existence if one works in the centre of town. We are trying to put that sort of development together. We do not want to be caught in a situation in which all hon. Members representing the countryside say, "We can't have them here," and those who represent towns say that we cannot have them there either.

Somehow, the nation must make up its mind about how it will meet the demands, some of which are ineluctable. Some, we cannot solve without facing up to them. Others we could change, if we changed our pattern of life. I want a nation that is prepared to face up to the fact that, if it lives like that, that will be the result. If it does not want that result, it has to change the way it lives.