Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:55 pm on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 1:55 pm, 31st October 2018

I will tell the right hon. Gentleman why I will not give way: because he was part of the Government who invented the system that created this crisis in the first place.

We need to do more on housing, which is an issue of utmost importance. Home ownership levels are plummeting, and many young people believe that they will never have a home to call their own. As a party of aspiration, we must do better. Help to Buy is failing: it is not increasing the supply of housing; rather, it is increasing the cost of new homes by 15% and inflating developers’ bonuses. It should be scrapped immediately. We need to increase the supply of new homes dramatically and to make those homes attractive and affordable. Perhaps the best idea that is being mooted—forgive me if I go off piste for a second, Mr Speaker—is that of garden towns, garden cities and garden villages. Garden villages of between 1,500 and 5,000 houses will be big enough to justify schools, shopping centres, buses and so on.

The landowners where such developments are created make spectacular windfall gains—in the south of England, they make as much as £1 million an acre—which is where the Treasury comes in. There is no reason why half of such gains should not be funnelled in a way that reduces the final price of the house. That way, when we create affordable housing, it will be proper affordable housing, of a decent size—it will not be a little box, a progressively shrinking option. That is how we will get the affordable houses that we need. However we do it, we in the Conservative party have to grasp this problem and solve it. This party has for more than 50 years been the party of the home owning democracy. We need once more to make home ownership available to a whole new generation.

Since the Gordon Brown crash—I was going to call it the 2008 crash—we have heard a lot about the threats to capitalism, which are of course real in, for example, the personality of the Leader of the Opposition. The simple truth is that free markets, free trade, property ownership and social mobility have delivered improvements to the lives of billions around the world. Capitalism has taken people not just in Britain but around the world out of poverty and given them a future. The best defence of capitalism in this country is to deliver those benefits to a new generation of young people. Britain is an aspirational country and we are an aspirational party; we need to deliver on that.

The first step is the economy’s fantastic jobs performance. The Opposition never like to speak about the fact that we have the lowest unemployment in my adult lifetime and the highest employment ever in this country. That is a remarkable achievement given the mess we were given when we came into office. Mr Jones intervened on the shadow Minister earlier to say that when Labour came into power in ’97, the debt was such and such, and so on. When Labour came into power in ’97, the chief economic adviser to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair said publicly, “This is the best economy any Government have ever inherited”—