Affordable Housing

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:48 pm on 22nd October 2002.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 4:48 pm, 22nd October 2002

I beg to move,

That this House
notes that the current crisis in affordable housing has reached such a level that there is a national need for more than 80,000 new affordable dwellings per annum for the next decade and beyond;
regrets the failure of the present Government to take earlier action while welcoming additional funding for that housing announced in the Spending Review 2002 and recent measures to tackle homelessness;
and believes that urgent action is needed better to link local and regional planning and housing policies, to bring back into use empty properties, to increase the density of housing developments, to encourage local authorities to implement fully PPG3 and to reform the right to buy to prevent abuses of the system, while resisting the Conservative Opposition's proposals for its extension.

Judging by the amendments to our motion, there appears to be a great deal of agreement about the existence of a crisis in affordable housing, and a recognition that in recent years, inadequate attention has been paid to it. Of course, we could get bogged down in a debate on the definition of Xaffordable housing", and I am well aware that some make a very strong case for the alternative definition of Xsocial housing". However, I hope that we can avoid definitional arguments and address instead the crisis that undoubtedly exists, and which has been brewing for many years.

Party manifestos of the past 50 years have promised action. It is interesting to note that the 1950 Labour party manifesto stated:

XThe demand for new homes is pressing. We must move forward until every family has its own separate home, and until every slum is gone."

In 1966, the Conservative manifesto called for the following:

XIncrease council house building for slum clearance. Expand the work of housing associations, so as to provide more good homes, at reasonable prices."