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Part of Housing and Planning Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 3rd May 2016.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government) 8:15 pm, 3rd May 2016

With the leave of the House, I shall respond to the debate. I thank all Members who have spoken about such a wide variety of subjects.

I want to make a short speech to outline some important issues. Conservative Members feel strongly that we want to return the Bill to the other place with the clear message that we want more homes to be built, not fewer; more homeowners, not fewer; and progress on increasing our housing supply. Let me put this in context by quoting from our manifesto, which resulted in our being given a mandate at the general election. It stated:

“The chance to own your own home should be available to everyone who works hard…We will…build more homes that people can afford, including 200,000 new Starter Homes…for first-time buyers under the age of 40…We will give more people the chance to own their own home by extending the Right to Buy to tenants of Housing Associations…We will fund the replacement of properties sold under the extended Right to Buy by requiring local authorities to manage their housing assets more efficiently, with the most expensive properties sold off and replaced as they fall vacant.”

That is a direct quote from our election manifesto, and it is a promise to the people of Great Britain that we intend to keep. We also feel strongly that the Houses of Parliament should respect our mandate.

Let us also consider this in the context of the work we have been doing, which the Bill will take further—[Interruption.] The number of new homes delivered in the past year was not as low as it was under the shadow Minister, John Healey—he did not find this debate important enough to speak in, other than from a sedentary position—when it was just 88,000. The number of new homes delivered last year was up by 25% on the previous year, thanks to the work that we have done, and 181,000 new homes were built. Housing construction orders have doubled since 2009 and registrations are at their highest level since 2007. In fact, new housing registrations have increased in England more than three times as much as in Labour-run Wales. That gives us a clue about what Labour is doing for housing, and we as a Government are determined to go further.

When the House was asked to give the Bill a Second Reading, it delivered one of the largest majorities in this Session. That is why we believe it is important that we see more progress on delivering on the contract that we now have with the British people, who want more homes that they can afford to buy, as well as an overall increase in supply. The House once again has an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to helping those who work hard to achieve their dream of home ownership. We are a Government of aspiration and opportunity, and we are getting Britain building again.

We are also a Government who will get our social housing working as efficiently and effectively as possible, not only so that more people can own their own home, but to increase the affordable housing supply overall. We will ensure that one new home is built for every high-value property sold outside London and, thanks to my hon. Friend Zac Goldsmith, two will be built for every such home sold in London. That represents real delivery from someone who wants to represent London, with a plan to deliver more homes for London, but we have not seen that from Opposition Members. There is now a guarantee that one affordable home will replace every one sold outside London, and two in London.

We are delivering on our promises and we will continue to deliver on our contract with every person in this country that results from the mandate that they gave us. They gave us a mandate to deliver fair social rents through our first Conservative Budget in 19 years. They also gave us a mandate to deliver the ground-breaking Bill that we are discussing today. I am proud to be here today to enable us to go further with a Bill that will deliver more homes for our country.

Three hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, this day.)

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83F), That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 1.

Question agreed to.

Lords amendment 1 accordingly disagreed to.

The Deputy Speaker then put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83F).

Government amendments (a) to (c) made in lieu of Lords amendment 1.

Government amendment (a) made to Lords amendment 184.

Lords amendment 184, as amended, agreed to, with Commons financial privilege waived.

Clause 4