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Housing: Long-Term Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government) 4:33 pm, 9th February 2016

Once again, I thank an Opposition party—a different one this time—for choosing housing as the subject of its debate. We are a one nation Government, and our goal is to have a Britain where everyone who works hard can have a home of their own. That ambition is possible only because of our tough action to drive down the deficit, and it is conceivable only because of the progress we made during the last Parliament. I therefore want to start with a word of thanks not for Tim Farron, who refused to serve in the coalition Government, but for his party, which did, and for his colleagues who played their role in helping to turn around the broken housing market we all inherited in 2010.

I just hope that this is a debate that the hon. Gentleman will remember. I say that because at his party conference in September, he declared:

“Housing is the biggest single issue that politicians don’t talk about.”

That is news to me and, no doubt, to many Members across the House, because this is the eighth debate about housing in recent months, and that is not including the debates on the Housing and Planning Bill. On none of those occasions did we hear a contribution from a Liberal Democrat. On 10 June 2015, we had a debate on housing; on 24 June, we had a debate about leaseholders and housing association ballots; on 14 July, we had a debate about shared ownership housing; on 15 July, we had a debate on housing supply in London; on 9 September, we had a debate about affordable housing in London; on 4 November, we debated prefabricated housing; on 15 December, we debated housing again; and on 27 January 2016, we debated housing benefit and supported housing. Not a single Liberal Democrat took part in any of those debates. Even during the passage of the Housing and Planning Bill, the hon. Gentleman was the only Liberal Democrat who bothered to speak on Second Reading and on Report, and they did not take a seat on the Committee—not once. If the hon. Gentleman believes that politicians should start talking about housing, I suggest gently that he should give his lectures closer to home.