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Housing: Long-Term Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:09 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Conservative, Solihull 6:09 pm, 9th February 2016

My hon. Friend is absolutely correct. Help to Buy is very similar to the car scrappage scheme, which helped to rescue a major industry in 2008-09. The measure was introduced to allow house builders to get rid of dormant stock. As an economy, we are held captive by the lack of supply. Responsible Governments look at the supply side—that is what we did in the 1980s—for solutions, and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to get more homes built: the Government aspire to 200,000 a year, or 1 million in total. It is good to have stretching goals, but if we could just produce enough for the new families being formed, that would be satisfactory. In my constituency, we are stepping up to the plate. We have a local plan in place, unlike many areas represented by Opposition parties. We have met the challenge and are looking to build more homes, be it through direct build, right to buy or getting housing associations to build more homes—they have not been building enough. I believe that devolution, through the combined authorities, can also help.

Finally, I turn to our opponents. Teresa Pearce said she did not want to trade statistics, so I will not delve into them, but I will say one thing: the real shame of the 1997-2010 Labour Government was that their flagship policy was home information packs. That was basically it on housing. All those people waiting on the housing list, looking for a home to follow their dreams, had to wait, because the homes were not being built for the households being formed.

Labour has commissioned a report into housing, as it did in 2004, and I presume that this time the findings will again be ignored. I will be interested to read the report—I do welcome it—but instead of commissioning a report, the Government are getting on with building houses. They can truly say, “We are the builders”.