My hon. Friend is right: a virtuous circle is created by investment, and especially investment in construction. It is one of the most efficient ways of putting money into the economy, and there is clear evidence that in periods of recession and downturn the role of the public sector should be to put money into the economy until such time as the private sector is strong enough to take up the slack and create jobs and continue to grow the economy. I fear that stage of the economic cycle has not yet been reached, which is why we need measures such as a bankers’ bonus tax to enable money to come into the economy.
Those 25,000 affordable homes would only be a start, but it would be a very important start. We have a housing crisis in this country, and it will be made worse by the benefits cap the Government are introducing, as revealed by the evidence from the private secretary of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that the cap could result in 40,000 families losing their homes. We certainly need activities such as that mentioned by my hon. Friend to make up for Government problems being caused by activities elsewhere.
I hope the Government will read carefully the two Labour amendments, and acknowledge that, as they merely call for a review and are very reasoned, they are worthy of support. I therefore hope that we will hear later that they accept both amendments.