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[1st Day]

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 6:11 pm on 21st June 2017.

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Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Labour/Co-operative, Hackney South and Shoreditch 6:11 pm, 21st June 2017

I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman. My borough stands to lose 700 council homes through forced sale. The homes sold in Hackney will be so expensive that they will be hard to buy, but housing association homes sold in other parts of the country must also be replaced. Hackney alone has spent £35 million in the past year to house homeless families in temporary accommodation. Nationally, 120,000 children live in temporary accommodation. That is a national shame. That is not a good start in life, and it is happening at the same time as we are spending £21 billion per annum on housing benefit. We have got it wrong and we need far more action.

I will not go into detail about the NHS, suffice it to say that the Public Accounts Committee under my chairmanship produced more than 20 reports on that in the last Parliament. The details of our cross-party concerns are on record. It is time that the House and the Government started looking at longer-term solutions to NHS funding. It is no good throwing money at a problem when it arises; we need a longer-term solution.

This Queen’s Speech heralds no hope for my constituents. This Government and the preceding one knocked out the rungs of the ladder of opportunity for so many of my constituents. The reach to the first rung is very high. For instance, it is very difficult to get into further education without a loan, or into nursing without the nursing bursary, and we lost the education maintenance allowance six or seven years ago.

Some things will not happen because of the election result—there will be no grammar schools, no badly worked-up proposals on social care, and no scrapping of free school meals for infants—but, after the next election, we need a Government who will look at those who are aspirant and give them the opportunity to succeed. This Government and this Queen’s Speech do not do that.