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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Antony Higginbotham Antony Higginbotham Conservative, Burnley 3:33 pm, 24th June 2020

Those on the Opposition Benches have a long track record of trying to create issues where none exists, and the rest of the country can see it. Just as last December, they continue to be out of touch with the general public with their faux outrage. The idea that the Secretary of State for Housing does not receive correspondence from housing developers is farcical. If that were the case, nothing would get done—but that seems to be the operating model for Labour Administrations.

My parents bought their first house in their early 20s. That is what people did then, but why could I not do that? Why did I find myself part of generation rent, unable to get on the housing ladder? Because the Labour Government between 1997 and 2010 did not build enough homes. They abandoned people with aspiration. The shadow Chancellor has admitted that herself. In 2018, she said:

“Labour didn’t get a grip on the issue. We didn’t build enough homes”.

They dithered, they delayed and they abdicated responsibility.

In 2010, the Conservative-led Government did get a grip on the issue. We have delivered more than 465,000 affordable homes. Schemes such as Help to Buy have allowed young families to buy their first home, which they would have been unable to do otherwise. Let me translate that locally.

Between 2001 and 2010 in Burnley, the number of homes increased by 300. Between 2010 and 2019, that number was 1,000.

Dealing with that Labour failure, then and now, means calling applications in, finding the schemes that will deliver the homes of the future and getting them going. This scheme, which Tower Hamlets council sat on for month after month after month, was one such scheme.

Let us not forget that the area of London we are talking about has been transformed, thanks to people on this side of the House. In 1982, it was a Conservative Government who created the urban enterprise zone on the Isle of Dogs, pulling in private investment and turning it into the international financial centre that it is today. We on these Benches will not shy away, as Labour does, from the need to build more homes and we will continue to hold Labour administrations to account where we need to—calling in applications that they sit on, because sitting on them is depriving our young working families of homes. As with most things from Labour, this debate is all about smoke-screens and diversion, because it consistently fails on policy.