Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 25th March 2013.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 4:22 pm, 25th March 2013

Of course they do, and it is a matter of regret that the number of affordable houses fell by 420,000-odd during Labour’s period in office, and we see a way in which we can achieve a number of affordable houses. As I said, we are well on track to deliver 170,000 and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be pleased about that. I wish to make this contrast for him, because we have the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition’s remarks on Labour’s housing plans. He says:

“We didn’t do enough... I don’t have a solution for this, but in the end government has to invest in housing, and...it’s a massive challenge”.

I think we can all agree with that—we can all unite behind those principles—so where the last Administration wrung their hands, this Government are stepping in. In the past couple of years, we have made sure that first-time buyers and those looking to buy a brand-new property have been given a helping hand. We also reinvigorated the right to buy, building mixed communities, more affordable homes and giving social tenants a chance to move up the housing ladder. This Government believe in extending opportunity to everyone who works hard and wants to do so.

The Home Builders Federation has said:

“If people can’t buy, builders can’t build”.

It has also said that “people’s inability to buy” has been the biggest “constraint” on house building. That is why in the Budget we announced our help to buy scheme. It is here to help in two ways: it is offering an equitable loan and a mortgage guarantee.