Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to speak in this crucial debate.
While this country faces the biggest housing crisis in a generation, the Government are using the Budget to help their millionaire friends buy second homes. Once again, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has left hard-working people who are on lower wages struggling and hurting. Building new homes is central to this country’s economic recovery and to getting hard-working families on the housing ladder, yet in Budget after Budget the Government have come up far short of the mark. In this Budget, the Chancellor introduced “help to buy”. Last year, he introduced NewBuy. It is clear that the policies that have been introduced to help people get on the property ladder have failed and that they are not the solutions that the country urgently needs to end the housing crisis.
In my constituency of Ealing, Southall, families are desperately struggling to find suitable and affordable homes. Just last week I heard from a family who have been waiting more than a year to find a bigger and more suitable home for them and their three children. Sarah has been sharing a two-bedroom flat with her husband, her two sons—one of whom suffers from a severe form of Asperger’s—and her two-year-old daughter. They have been told that they will have to make do with their two-bedroom flat for the foreseeable future because no new housing is coming up.
More needs to be invested into building affordable homes to meet demand; that is a sound, logical and reasonable investment for the future of our housing market and economy. Building more housing is not only a solution to end this housing crisis, but an effective way of boosting growth. For every £1 invested by the public sector, 56p returns to the Treasury. Removing the cap on housing revenue account borrowing in London could add 0.5% to GDP—growth that is much needed. By investing in the capital’s housing infrastructure, more than 19,000 jobs would be created. Why will the Chancellor not invest in housing and growth?
Throughout the Budget the Government have repeated that they are committed to helping those who aspire to work hard and get on, to caring for families and helping them with the cost of living, and to creating more growth. Why, therefore, do they not commit to build more affordable homes, thereby creating more jobs and growth and allowing hard-working families to live in better conditions, rather than helping millionaires buy second homes through their slapdash flagship policy?
The Government had the opportunity to invest in housing, create more jobs and provide a decent living to all those working hard to achieve, and to allow children living in overcrowded accommodation to have a better education. If children have extra space in their house, they will get more education and an improved place in which to live; their health will be improved and they will be able to contribute more to society.