Affordable Housing (London)

Part of Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th October 2002.

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Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 2:30 pm, 16th October 2002

Perhaps I should have welcomed the right hon. Gentleman to his position, although I am confused about whether he is shadow Deputy Prime Minister or shadow Secretary of State; there are different interpretations according to who is asked, but I welcome him to whatever position it is.

On the right to buy, I think I have made the position clear: we want to consider the matter where there is a homelessness crisis, and that is certainly the case in some inner-city areas and in London. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned a new policy at his party conference whereby about a million people in housing associations would have the right to buy. I should inform the House that that is not a new policy; it was announced by Mrs. Thatcher in 1979 and for 20 years the Conservatives were unable to implement it because they could not get a majority for it in the House. Not only is the policy not new, it is completely uncosted and, frankly, has nothing to do with the right to buy, but only the right to become the Leader of the Opposition.