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Housing: Long-Term Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Leader of the Liberal Democrats 4:06 pm, 9th February 2016

I would be very interested to look at the detail of that. I am also keen to recognise that we have to take the community with us, which takes bravery at every level. It sometimes seems that we have to tackle this issue, as Harold Macmillan bravely did in the 1950s, by not looking at it from an ideological point of view and by not scoring points. I would be pretty surprised if anybody on the Labour or Liberal Benches did that back in the 1950s. There are more people on the Liberal Democrat Benches today than there were on the Liberal Benches in the 1950s, which is progress. [Interruption.] There may have been three Members, depending on whether or not Megan Lloyd George had left by then.

The point is simply that if we are brave and do not look at this issue through an ideological prism—such as by saying that we can move forward only by having all social rented housing or by flogging off social rented housing—we can take people with us and minimise the number who will oppose us in the planning process. However, if we have a Government, as sadly we do, who look at this issue purely through an ideological prism, rather than by asking how we can solve the crisis, we will always land ourselves with opponents.