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Housing: Long-Term Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:25 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Conservative, Eastleigh 6:25 pm, 9th February 2016

I think that everyone has been delighted to contribute to the debate, and I am pleased to see that a quarter of the parliamentary Liberal Democrat party is present to appreciate it. [Hon. Members: “One less now!”] I spoke too soon.

Like those of others who have spoken today, my inbox is full of e-mails from people who are worried about housing issues, including the need for housing to be built. Such issues unite Members across the Chamber. It is true that families need homes, but it is also true that development must be balanced with the way in which our communities exist. Reconciling those two great and important demands is a challenge to which the Conservatives are rising. I must add that I was disappointed by the release of the draft options plan for Eastleigh on 23 December, just before Christmas. That was both disingenuous and against the spirit of the Localism Act 2011.

Home ownership is fundamental to our society, and it is very important to our party. I am proud to be a member of a party that gave 5 million council tenants the right to buy their homes. At the time of the election, and afterwards, I heard from many housing association tenants who were delighted to have the opportunity to make their space into a home of their own. Of course, our party’s policies will require the necessary amount of housing stock to be maintained. The number of new affordable and social rented homes has increased by more than two thirds in the last 12 months, but the picture has become slightly distorted in some parts of the country. Some residents feel locked out when it comes to housing in their communities.