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 Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 2:30 pm, 16th October 2002

I am not surprised that the Deputy Prime Minister is confused about the Conservatives' alleged new policy on the right to buy when, only five months ago, their then housing spokesman, Mr. Clifton-Brown, referred to the right-to-buy scam. Does the Deputy Prime Minister agree that, with 100,000 empty homes in London, one way to solve the housing problem would be to bring some of them back into use? Is it not a disgrace that, if someone wants to build a four-bedroomed, double-garage, mock-Georgian house on a greenfield site, they pay no VAT, yet they have to pay full VAT at 17.5 per cent. to renovate empty properties? Should not VAT be equalised for both at 5 per cent?