Regions, Transport and DEFRA

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:19 pm on 19th November 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon 8:19 pm, 19th November 2002

The hon. Gentleman gives Spain as an example. Is that the country on which we should model our constitution? Is that what the Government are offering the people of the United Kingdom? I wish they would make that clear in their statements.

The Queen's Speech was a lost opportunity in relation to housing. I know that the Government's heart is in the right place, and that they care about standards in housing and the provision of sufficient affordable housing for those who require it. However, the point that they continue to miss is that the current housing crisis is not just a continuation of the need to provide good quality social housing. A new crisis has broken out in recent years. There is a lack of affordable housing to buy in many areas. People face that problem not only in London and the south-east but in many other parts of the country. It affects key workers, such as nurses, firefighters, local government officers and the police, who do not want to live in rented accommodation all their lives. The Government continually fail to understand that. Key workers want affordable housing to buy, and at the moment they cannot access it. They are part of the 85 per cent. of the population who want to own their own home.

In rural parts of the country, such as my area, local people living in towns and villages cannot afford to stay, to buy and to live locally, because they have been priced out of the housing market. Some of those villages have existed since the 15th century and are now under threat of falling apart, because the old balance of rich and poor has changed. People from all backgrounds used to live cheek by jowl in the successful model for living called village life. That is under threat because local people cannot afford to buy.

I had hoped that the Government would try to tackle that problem in the Queen's Speech, but they have not done so.