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This is the Secretary of State’s first housing debate, but it is a bit like “Groundhog Day.” He is the fourth Secretary of State, with the seventh Housing Minister, now in the ninth year of a Conservative Government, and it is clear from this debate that the Conservative party still has no plan to fix the housing crisis.
The Secretary of State may be new to the job, but he has been in government since the start in 2010. Surely he cannot look at the Government’s eight-year housing record and conclude that more of the same is what is needed. After eight years of failure on all fronts, how is the answer more of the same when, since 2010, we have seen 1 million fewer under-45s owning their own home and the lowest level of home ownership for 30 years? How can the answer be more of the same on homelessness when it has risen every year since 2010, and we now have 120,000 children growing up with no home? And how can the answer be more of the same when private renters face rents that are soaring way ahead of incomes? The average rent is now £1,800 a year more than before.
Finally, house building rates are still lower than they were at their peak under Labour, and fewer new social rented homes were started last year than at any time since records began.